The average cost of a sunroom

Image by, courtesy of Lori Greig

It usually costs more to install a sunroom from a factory package versus one that you design yourself. Assembling a prefabricated sunroom is usually faster, and the typical floor-to-ceiling glass makes the room inviting to use on more days of the year.

But designing and building a sunroom from scratch can be a fun project. Designing your own plan offers the opportunity to "go green" and use some recycled materials in a sunroom.

Factory Sunrooms Are Expensive

In 2009, a factory-built sunroom 10 feet by 12 feet typically cost a minimum of £11,700. Labor is included in ths price, but not a slab foundation. Large sunrooms can cost £32,500 or more, according to An existing concrete porch enables you to order a sunroom to fit the porch. It's best to buy from a local company that will install the room. Breakage or mishaps can be covered by that company's insurance. Check out guarantees on glass and framework, and find out about policies on leakage.

Quality of Materials Is Key

Economy sunrooms can't offer durability that will match more superior models. Plenty of sunroom customers complain that their rooms collapsed, leaked or weren't properly insulated. Weather affects the longevity of a sunroom, so consider a smaller one of higher quality versus a larger, economy model. Most economy models are too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. Call the Better Business Bureau to review complaints on a sunroom seller.

Self-Built Sunrooms Save Money

It's pretty easy to build a sunroom using recycled materials. Review local building codes. Breeze blocks, salt-treated 2-by-6 boards of lumber, recycled bricks and recycled windows can be reused from other buildings. Sheets of glass typically rank as the highest expenditure. Safety tempered glass with tinting and heat resistance adds to the price. Unless an expert designs it, don't place a self-designed sunroom near the front of your home. It might devalue the home. If a foundation exists, a sunroom from scratch cost an average of £65 per square foot vs. £97 per square foot for a factory model in 2009, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Put Money Into Quality Materials

Invest in a high R-value for insulation for the walls and roof. Good insulation extends the days of use during the year. Before you buy a factory sunroom, check out an on-site model near you, if possible. Examine the airflow of windows and how airtight the seams are. To afford a better factory room, consider a second mortgage on your home at a good interest rate.

Recycled Materials and Furniture

Some websites offer advice showing how to build a suroom for next to nothing using recycled materials in a do-it-yourself project. When interviewed by phone, most building experts state £5,200 or less as a reasonable figure for the cost of such a project, if you implement lots of recycled materials. Recyled furniture and TVs are great for sunrooms, since sun is hard on wood, leather, fabrics and electronics. It's best to purchase high-quality vinyl leather sofas and chairs versus real leather.