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What’s the Difference Between a Sunroom vs. Room Addition?

White Vinyl Frame Four Season Room with Gable Roof and Side Deck

In this post, you will learn…

  • The differences between a sunroom and room addition
  • Which factors to consider when deciding between these two options
  • How to decide between a three season and four/all season room

Are you outgrowing your house, but don’t want to move? An addition is a great way to increase your living space, but which type is right for you? In this blog post, we will discuss the difference between a sunroom and a traditional room addition.

What are the differences between sunrooms and traditional room additions?

A sunroom is an all-encompassing term that refers to a screen room, three season room, four season room or solarium, simply put, it’s a room with abundant natural light and access to the outdoors If you’re looking for a sunroom addition that you can use spring through fall, a three season room might be the right choice for you. Three season rooms are not insulated for winter weather and are not designed to be heated and cooled, but provide enjoyment most of the year depending on your climate. If you’re looking for year-round use of your new space regardless of climate, a four season room is probably the right choice for you. A four season room is designed to be heated and cooled just like the rest of your home, which gives you a fully functioning room every day of the year. While a solarium is a four season room that is entirely made of glass including glass walls and a glass roof), giving you an unobstructed view of the outdoors.

A three season room is not insulated for winter weather, so in four season climates it may be too cold to use during winter months without some type of temporary heat source like an electric fireplace or space heater. An all season room can be used every day of the year. It is engineered for every season, has a room heating and cooling unit and is a fully functioning room just like any other room in your home.

Four Season Sunroom Addition Picture

Patio Enclosures Four Season Room Addition

  • Suitable for any Room Addition? – Yes
  • Engineered to be heated and cooled on ongoing basis – Yes
  • Manufactured in Climate Controlled Conditions? – Yes
  • Fully customizable design based on needs and existing conditions – Yes
  • All glass tempered for safety – Yes
  • Full aluminum screens come standard with all window and door rolling panels – Yes
  • Installation timeframe – A few days after peripheral items are complete*
  • Average Cost – Higher than a screen room or three season room due to the additional materials needed
  • Manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty – Yes

Three Season Sunroom Picture

Patio Enclosures Three Season Sunrooms

  • Suitable for any Room Addition? – Yes
  • Engineered to be heated or cooled on ongoing basis – No; but can be heated or cooled on temporary basis using portable units
  • Manufactured in Climate Controlled Conditions? – Yes
  • Fully customizable design based on needs and existing conditions – Yes
  • All glass tempered for safety – Yes
  • Full aluminum screens come standard with all window and door rolling panels – Yes
  • Installation timeframe – A few days after peripheral items are complete*
  • Average Cost - Less expensive than a four season room
  • Manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty – Yes

Patio Enclosures Screen Rooms

  • Suitable for any Room Addition? – Yes
  • Engineered to be heated or cooled on ongoing basis – No
  • Fully customizable design based on needs and existing conditions – Yes
  • Full aluminum screen rolling panels come standard – Yes
  • Manufactured in Climate Controlled Conditions – Yes
  • Upgradeable to Three-Season Sunroom at any point – Yes
  • Installation timeframe – a few days after peripheral items are complete*
  • Average Cost - Less expensive than Patio Enclosures three- or four-season sunrooms
  • Manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty - Yes

Stick-built Addition or Traditional Sunroom Picture

Stick-built Addition or Traditional Room Addition

  • Suitable for any Room Addition? – Yes
  • Assembled and/or Built in Climate Controlled Conditions? – No
  • Average Cost – Highest of all room options outlined here

Sunroom & Room Addition Benefits

A traditional room addition is built on site using traditional materials such as wood and drywall. The foundation is poured first. The walls and roof are then framed and covered. Traditional windows and doors are hung. The exterior is typically finished with siding and shingles while the interior is finished with electrical, insulation, drywall, and paint. With most room traditional room additions, HVAC systems need to be connected to existing systems or have separate systems installed.

A Patio Enclosures sunroom is a prefabricated aluminum or vinyl addition to your home. It is manufactured indoors under climate-controlled conditions, so there is no danger of building materials becoming mildewed or warped from weather exposure; then the components are transported to your location and your room is constructed on site.

Sunroom additions have more efficient insulation than traditional room additions since the insulation is installed at the factory, where all areas of the unit can be easily accessed. Insulating can be more difficult to access with a stick-built room addition, since it is built on-site.

Construction for a pre-fabricated sunroom is less costly than a stick-built room addition because there are less building materials needed. Plus, our sunrooms are manufactured for ease of installation. Traditional room additions can take weeks or even months to build out. A Patio Enclosures room is typically installed in a matter of days after the peripheral items such as foundation work is complete. Patio Enclosures® sunroom additions are checked for quality throughout the construction process for consistency.

Traditional room additions can be built using traditional windows and/or patio doors to give you a nice view of the outdoors, however there are some limitations such as size and position. Unlike many window and door manufacturer’s, Stanek® windows makes sliding patio doors up to 8 feet in height, which can give you more glass if a traditional room addition is ultimately what you want. Patio Enclosures sunroom additions are built with up to 98% tempered safety glass for maximum views, our Edge-to-Edge Advantage®.

Consider the Use and Purpose of Your Room Addition

Room Addition Picture

Before you decide on a home addition, it’s important to consider your vision and purpose for the room. Whether you’re looking for a quiet sitting room that can be used year-round, or a large family living space for the summer months, there are endless ways to ensure you choose the perfect space for you. During your in-home estimate, one of our skilled professionals will come to you, listen to your needs, and assess your existing space in order to help you find the perfect fit your home.

Are you interested in learning more about our custom sunroom additions? Schedule your free, in-home estimate online today, or give us a call at 800-230-8301.

Learn More About Our Sunrooms