Building a patio sunroom will provide a four-season living space, if heating and cooling issues are addressed properly. A sunroom takes careful thought and planning, but there's a room design to accommodate almost any budget. Recycled windows and house siding can be incorporated into an enclosed sunroom space. Or, a high-quality pre-made room might be the better choice, if the budget is generous. Every sunroom should complement the overall design of the house, be a natural transition to the outside and can enhance the market price of the house.
Measure the patio space to be enclosed. Keep in mind that patio sunrooms don't have to include four sides of glass. Design a room that encompasses a solid house wall or two, if possible. Insulate those walls extremely well, however, since they will play a role in keeping the room warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Keep in mind that a brick solid wall will absorb heat during the day and infuse it back into the room at night.
Sketch a room with a roof that slopes properly. Create a design that incorporates a roof pitch of at least 30 degrees. Don't design a flat roof, since it will likely leak under the best of circumstances. Draw the shape of the house and the basic shape of the sunroom on graph paper. Figure out the exact square footage the patio space will accommodate, so that material costs for the room can be estimated.
Obtain sunroom design books to review basic framing techniques. Pressure-treated lumber boards should be used throughout the room to withstand heat, cold and moisture. Build the skeleton of the room with high-quality boards or cedar. Install a solid roof by using 1/2-inch plywood and metal or asphalt shingles. Add insulation in the roof with an R-30 value. Nail drywall on the interior side of the roof covering, after electrical wiring for ceiling fan/lights has been installed.
Order or make glass panels to install. Use double-pane glass sections to help insulate the space. Consider energy efficient pre-made windows topped with solid panes of glass in ceiling areas. Buy sunroom panels directly from a manufacturer to install as a do-it-yourself project. Hire one or two local carpenters to help, since glass panels are extremely heavy and awkward to manage.
Secure the entrance area with a tight-fitting glass storm door. Caulk the space thoroughly to help keep temperatures stable year-round. Use an oil-filled radiator-type heater to heat the space. Cool it in summer by venting it naturally.
Don't use real leather furniture in a sunroom. The sun will deteriorate the leather quickly. Instead, use faux leather sofas and chairs made of vinyl material. Build a media cabinet to hold a TV and various media players. Use a power surge protector strip to plug in equipment in case of a surge during a storm.