How to Plan a Sunroom Addition


A sunroom is often positioned on the side or back of a house overlooking a yard. The room is designed to receive more sunlight than a traditional room, and it may have windows and doors on two or three sides as well as skylights in the ceiling. Often a sunroom is attached to a family room or kitchen, and doors and windows in the existing house are removed to create access and flow from the house to the new room. Planning and designing a sunroom should be done well in advance of permits and construction.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 1/4-inch graph paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Straight edge
  • Tracing paper
  • Measure the rooms adjacent to the area where you want to add the sunroom. Transfer your measurements onto 1/4-inch graph paper.

  • Draw in the existing windows, doors, steps, walls, fireplaces, niches, openings or any features that impact the sunroom design. Draw in existing features of the exterior that need to be considered in the design process. These features might include the slope of the yard, existing patio or deck, existing buildings, trees, shrubs, the type of material the house is constructed out of, and the design of the existing roof or second story wall that the roof of the new room will connect to.

  • Tape the floor plan to the table. Tape tracing paper over the floor plan. Sketch in the size and shape of the new sunroom. Draw in the size and position of windows and doors and use a dashed line to indicate the location of skylights. Detail the location of exterior stairs.

  • Draw how the existing adjacent rooms will change when the addition is constructed. This may include the removal of walls, doors, windows and other features. It may also involve new wiring, plumbing and ductwork to tie the new room into the existing building.

  • Determine your preferred budget for the addition. Add 10 percent to your budget figure to allow for unexpected construction problems and costs. The other way to figure your budget is to reduce your top amount by 10 percent and establish the lower amount as the actual budget.

  • Take your preliminary floor plan to your city building department to inquire about city restrictions that might affect your addition. They can also tell you permit costs for the addition.

  • Give photocopies of your preliminary plan to several contractors with good and checked references. Ask them for a detailed bid on the plans. This will give you a concrete idea of the actual cost of the project, and they may have comments about the project that you have not calculated or considered.

  • Invite the top-rated real estate agent for your neighborhood to visit your home and discuss your addition in terms of the value of your home. The agent will have insight into whether the addition is a good investment choice and right for the neighborhood. They may also have suggestions on how to maximize the addition to add value to your home.

Tips & Warnings

  • Review your plans and budget based on your updated information. Hire an architect to create working plans that incorporate what you can afford. An architect will know how to draft the plans so that they meet building requirements. Always get a signed contract with your contractor, and make sure proper building permits are taken before construction begins. Reserve payments to the completion of specific work goals, and save a quarter of the budget for the final walk-through.

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