For decades, savvy homeowners have turned to patio enclosures as a way of enjoying the outdoors without the unnecessary hassle of wind, rain, and bugs to ruin the day’s mild temperatures. These home “add-ons” first began to catch the eye of the American public in the early 1960s, and demand for these spacious and well-engineered products quickly began to skyrocket. Today, patio enclosures are often seen as windowed rooms called “sunrooms” and “solariums,” and there are a number of advantages to each type of structure.
Sunrooms vs. Solariums
While both of these structures are designed so that homeowners can enjoy the sunlight that streams through the large, open windows, the most notable difference between a sunroom and a solarium is the fact that the latter is completely enclosed by glass – the roof included – while sunrooms typically have only one or more walls made of glass. Due to the increased light, solariums are more frequently used as greenhouses, while sunrooms are more often constructed as an additional room for a home.
Pros and Cons of Sunrooms
Homeowners who add sunrooms to their houses enjoy many benefits. These rooms are easily attached to the structure of the existing home, as it is relatively simple for most contractors to build glass around an existing covered patio. Because of a sunroom’s solid roof, these structures are typically well insulated, meaning that they are much more energy efficient than solariums. In addition, these patio enclosures are relatively maintenance-free, as the glass is as easy to clean as the other windows of the house. However, the main disadvantage of a sunroom is that the view from the windows includes only the surrounding landscape and backyard, not the full view of the sky, as offered by solariums.
Pros and Cons of Solariums
In contrast, a solarium offers an unobstructed view of the surrounding area and the sky through its complete glass enclosure, and the plentiful sunlight makes these structures ideal for gardening. The beautiful view is considered a huge benefit to most homeowners, who believe that this feature is worth the structure’s considerable drawbacks. Because these structures are roofed in glass, they are very energy inefficient compared to the solid roofs of a sunroom. Their windowed roof also demands a greater installation cost, and it can be nearly impossible to keep clean: leaves, water streaks, snow, twigs, and more detritus can easily accumulate on the top of a solarium. While many companies will offer warranties to cover potential repair costs for the exposed roof, these warranties typically only last between ten and 15 years, and they are often non-transferrable.
When it comes to patio enclosures, the decision is ultimately up to the homeowner. For some, the spectacular views offered by solariums are well worth their many disadvantages, and for others, a cozy sunroom will suit their purposes nicely. No matter your choice, there is no better way to bring light to your home than to construct a beautiful, windowed patio enclosure.