When you’re looking at extending your home to create some extra entertaining space on a budget, installing a screenroom or a sunroom are your two best options. They both come with a significant set of positives that make them worth considering in terms of expanding your home and generating some extra home value:
- Ease of installation – Both can be installed on top of an existing deck as they can be simply screwed into the wood. However, if you don’t have a deck or patio outside, both screen rooms and sunrooms can also be quickly put up on bare earth in a matter of weeks. The quick speed of installation comes from the way that they are designed, with a typical post and beam structure used in most cases. The relative small size of the rooms (four meters squared is a typical footprint), and the fact that one side of the room is already provided in the shape of your external wall, and you can see why screen rooms and sunrooms are so quick to install.
- Protection against the elements – One of the biggest reasons that Calgarians don’t spend all summer outside is the biting and stinging bugs that start to come out once the snow starts to fall. Both screenrooms and sunrooms are designed to give you a halfway house between being inside and being outside by giving you all the benefits of the summer without any of drawbacks. They both provide big windows to allow all that glorious Calgary sunshine in, as well as protection against the bugs and heat of summer. This protection can continue into the winter for both rooms if you have the correct heating option installed, and there’s nothing quite like watching the snow come down hard just a foot from your house while you’re safe and protected on the inside.
- Good space to expense value – Both screenrooms and sunrooms provide a generous amount of extra living and storage space for a relatively little capital investment. Whether you’re looking for a new entertaining space, a quiet haven away from the chaos and noise of the rest of the house or a multi-purpose space that could double as a home office or guest bedroom, an extension over the top of your deck or patio gives you all of these options. The simplicity of the frames, the quick installation time and the free cost of the foundations means that you’ll almost guaranteed to see a significant percentage increase in your initial investment.
With all of these positives, it makes sense to seriously consider these indoor outdoor living opportunities. However, not all indoor outdoor living spaces are created equally, and there are some pretty significant differences between screenrooms and sunrooms which you need to consider when choosing between the two options:
- Seasonal usage – the biggest difference between screenrooms and sunrooms is how frequently you can use it. A screenroom is fantastic during spring, summer and often times into fall, but it can be limited on days when it’s swelteringly hot, raining hard or the wind is howling around. A four season sunroom allows you to use your space year round regardless of the weather outside, especially when you connect to your home’s HVAC system. You can add some sort of heat sources, such as a pellet stove or electric heater, to a screenroom to increase the length of time you can use it, but the wind and cold in the Calgary winters will eventually force you to shutter the room for a couple of months at least.
- Heating and cooling – another factor to consider when choosing between a screenroom and a sunroom is how much control you like to have over the temperature in your room. A screenroom is very much at the mercy of the outdoor temperature, and the permanent open windows means that it’s impossible to use your HVAC system to heat or cool the room. A three season sunroom doesn’t usually make use of the HVAC system either, but relies on the sun and airflow to keep the room at a more steady temperature. A four season sunroom is the best option here as it allows you to connect to your home’s HVAC system giving you complete control over the temperature year round.
- Cost – given the cons of the lack of heat and weather protection, the biggest reason people choose to install screenrooms instead of sunrooms is the cost. A sunroom requires wall construction, complete with window installation and cavity insulation, all of which drive up the cost. The simple mesh coverings of a screenroom are much cheaper to install and replace in case of damage. You also would not need to worry about installing a new floor if you have an existing deck or patio with a screenroom – the wood or stone underfoot will look more authentic.
- Ease of construction – the other major benefit of screenrooms vs sunrooms is how easy they are to construct. Both of them are some of the quickest major home improvement projects available, but a typical screenroom installation can take just a couple of weeks, with a simple three season sunroom requiring a month or more to be fully completed. However, the speed of both projects and the fact that you can install them directly onto an existing deck or patio means that they can be installed year round.
It’s clear that there are pros and cons of both screenrooms and sunrooms, and the final choice you make will depend on your current setup, your budget and what your bigger goals are for the home extension project. As a general guide, a screenroom will be a good choice if you want a summer room extension that you’ll use mainly for entertaining and eating during the warmer months, while a sunroom is better option for people looking for an extra living room or guest bedroom. In either case, you’ll still see a good return on your investment, and the extra space in your home will ease the pressure on your family and create an extra space to spread out into.