Have you thought of adding space to your home? Maybe you’ve considered building an additional room or an extension to the central part of your home., but then realized you’ll probably need a contractor, something that threatens to trim your budget. So now you have to decide is a sunroom cheaper than a full room addition.
Custom-built home additions, like bathrooms and kitchens, can easily cost upwards of $100,000. It can be quite a challenge to get this type of work done for anything south of $50,000. This is why most people look for alternatives. A popular option is a sunroom addition.
A sunroom is a home space that creates a bridge between the outdoors and the home indoors. It is considered a supplemental living area. Why is a sunroom attractive to most people? The cost to build a sunroom is typically half the cost of building a traditional stick-built addition.
Before we get too far, here are some definitions used when discussing add-on living spaces:
A Stick-Built Addition
This is a term used to describe any structure built from scratch. This can include house additions, bump-outs, or room additions, whether they are constructed using concrete, wood, house sheathing, or glass.
Such additions can also include a complete basement underneath, but only in areas where that would be acceptable. To be considered an actual addition, the room must have complete electrical service and HVAC service.
The official square footage of the home includes these types of room additions. Notwithstanding, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) states that your air conditioned living space shouldn’t have anything more than 40 percent of the wall filled with glass windows.
The general definition of a sunroom is a room that is designed to bridge the indoor and the outdoor living spaces. This recreational space usually has a designated part of the wall purposefully dedicated to glass.
This portion can take as much as 80 percent of the wall. In most areas, the sunroom addition doesn’t require electricity or cooling or heating. That doesn’t mean you can’t have them, they are just not required.
That is why most sunrooms do have heating, cooling, and electrical services. Moreover, most sunrooms are added on top of floating concrete slabs that have shallow perimeter foundations. These are similar to the ones used for your garage.
The Components of a Sunroom
The distinction between sunroom additions and stick-built additions is becoming narrower. This is happening because sunroom builders are enhancing their skills. One excellent example is the incorporation of electricity as part of the sunroom addition – this has become a must-have option for many homeowners. Other sunroom packages include:
- HVAC: When considering the cost to build a sunroom, you don’t need to include the heating and cooling costs. Nevertheless, most custom sunrooms have a heating system in fan-driven heaters or electric baseboards. On the other hand, if you are constructing a true room addition, you must have a similar HVAC service to your house.
- Electrical Service: Like HVAC, the sunroom cost does not include electricity. Nevertheless, we’ve already mentioned that most custom-built sunrooms today have electricity. But like HVAC, the stick-home additions must have the same electrical service as the main house. This adds to the additional costs of building stick-built rooms.
- Cost To Build A Sunroom: By and large, the per square foot sunroom cost is much lower than the addition of regular rooms. When built by a contractor or a subcontractor, a sunroom’s cost will be half the cost of a room addition.
- Offers Supplementary Space: You mainly want a sunroom addition for the sake of reading, housing a spa, growing plants, among other things, but in natural light. This is the main difference between the supplementary space a sunroom offers and the needed space a true room addition offers a home. Generally, your true room addition offers you more equity value to your home, while a sunroom merely offers supplementary space.
The Sunroom Misconceptions
There are a lot of misconceptions about sunrooms. Here’s the truth about some of the more common ones:
- You don’t need a building permit for a sunroom addition. Most areas actually require you to have a building permit, even for the tiniest sunroom construction.
- Sometimes, a prefab sunroom is more expensive than a custom-built one. The various add-ons you can include in your prefab kit can increase your sunroom cost to an amount that is very close to the cost of adding a room in your home.
- You need a foundation for a sunroom. In truth, foundation requirements for different sunrooms vary, primarily because of local codes. But you do need a building foundation for your building site. Nevertheless, prefab sunroom kits are commonly assembled on present decks and patio slabs.
The Bottom Line
A sunroom can be a tempting alternative to a true room addition. A sunroom is generally cheaper and requires fewer subcontractors (depending on options chosen) and goes up a lot quicker. For many homeowners, a sunroom can be the most logical choice.