Do-It-Yourself Sunroom With Sliding Windows

A sunroom works well with almost any home.

Foundation Depth

Sliding windows help circulate air.Sliding windows help circulate air.
This space can provide room for family activities, dining, watching TV or entertaining guests. Sliding windows will allow the homeowner to regulate the temperature more easily on extremely sunny days. Regardless of how well insulated a sunroom is, it can overheat at certain times of the day. By opening a few windows, you create a breeze to cool off the area.

Any sunroom can keep a more stabilized temperature if its built on a concrete slab at least 24 inches deep. Concrete absorbs heat coming in through windows from sunlight. Heat will transfer to the concrete even if the concrete floor is covered by tile or indoor-outdoor carpeting.

Roof Concerns

A high R-value in roof insulation helps sustain a comfortable temperature in a sunroom. Specially constructed panels are available that keep the roof area of sunrooms very well insulated. If you want to build a sunroom out of wood framing yourself, consider buying these insulation panels from a sunroom dealer for the roof area only.

Window Designs

Install sliding windows around your sunroom that are at least 48 inches high. This will provide lots of natural light and openings large enough to suction a breeze on hot days. Caulk well around window seams and insulate all wall areas above and below the windows. No sunroom can be completely airtight or watertight, for that matter, but do your best to seal and secure the room from the elements to save on energy bills.

Heating the Sunroom

Few people are willing to install ductwork for heating and cooling into a sunroom. Cooling is usually provided by fans and open windows. An oil-filled radiator electric heater works well for heating. The heater is safe to touch and inexpensive to operate. By having this type of heater in your sunroom, you can use it three seasons out of the year. If you have an adjoining room with a fireplace, you can harness some of that warmth to heat the sunroom in winter months as well.

Fans Are Important

Open sliding windows work well to cool a sunroom. But, an overhead electric ceiling fan is a good auxiliary backup system to install. The fan can be reversed in cold weather to push heat back down into the room, too. Free-standing fans on tables or pedestals can help to cool a large sunroom. The only drawback of these fans is that they are usually very noisy. A ceiling fan is not noticeably noisy on medium or low speed.

Windows and Privacy

Sliding windows in a sunroom offer no privacy, especially if they surround all walls. You can install a couple of sections of board fence to enhance privacy, if your sunroom is close to neighbors. Another option is to plant a row of shrubs to provide some screening. In some cases, you may want to install curtain rods on all walls and hang medium-weight curtains for privacy at certain times of day. Sheer curtains provide almost no screening and heavy curtains look out of place in a sunroom.

About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.