According to Remodeling’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Resale Report, the average sunroom costs just over $72,000 and returned approximately $33,500 when putting the home up for sale — which means that 46.5 percentage of the cost is recouped. If you’ve been hoping to transform your porch into an elegant four-season sunroom, the numbers just may convince you to take the plunge. Use these five steps to plan your porch to sunroom transformation from start to finish.
Converting a sunroom into a porch isn’t a weekend DIY renovation. Spend time reading magazines, blogs and websites to get inspiration for your perfect sunroom. If you plan to hire someone, come up with a budget, taking into account the contractor’s average median hourly wage of $39.80 per hour. Next, interview contractors about their costs, style, work and project time frame. Select a contractor who can help you meet your vision. For example, if you want a sleek, modern sunroom, a green contractor with a rustic style wouldn’t be the most ideal to bring your vision to life.
Windows are a very important element to any sunroom, and it pays off down the line to purchase the highest quality windows that you can afford, notes Better Homes & Gardens. HouseLogic offers a window-shopping and price guide that can help you select windows from your local home improvement store with confidence. Quality windows will boost the insulation and comfort of your sunroom, making it a four-season space. If you are concerned about energy efficiency, consider an ultraviolet tinted window, or a double- or even triple-paned glass. Purchase the windows before you frame the walls, so the windows fit just right.
The crucial step to take when converting your screen porch to a sunroom is framing the walls and installing exterior plywood sheeting that will improve the rigidity of your new room. If you’re completing this yourself, use porch-to-sunroom tips from an expert builder like Ron Hazelton, who offers tips on his website and YouTube channel. Hazelton recommends making use of the porch’s existing posts when framing the walls by nailing vertical boards to these posts. Next, connect the vertical boards with a long horizontal board at just the right height to support the windows. To install the exterior sheeting, just slide it into place and nail it. A wall framing calculator can help you determine accurate cost based on cost of studs and length of your walls.
With the rudimentary sunroom laid out, focus on the interior design to make the space a complete room. Consider wiring the space with electricity, if it isn’t already, and adding a ceiling fan for summertime cooling. Paint the walls, refinish the floor with a fresh coat of varnish and purchase furniture, like Adirondack chairs ($20-$300+), sofas, tables and floor rugs. To block out the glare of the sun as it sets, increase your privacy and extend the usefulness of your new sunroom, pick up custom shades or blinds (which start at $64) from a blinds store like TheShadeStore.com.
With all of the basic elements now in place, you’re probably itching to use that sunroom. For the finishing touches, add all of the creature comforts of home. If you tend to use the area to read, you may want a magazine or a bookshelf. If you love throwing game nights, outfit the sunroom with a storage trunk full of games. If you enjoy bird watching, install a bird feeder just outside the sunroom windows. Lastly, add blankets and pillows, candles and lanterns and other homey touches. With everything in place, invite your friends and family over for an intimate party to break in your new sunroom.