WHAT TO WATCH FOR – AND WATCH OUT FOR WHEN CHOOSING A SUNROOM
See the product… Quality Counts -
Not all sunrooms are the same. There are many different products on the market with varying levels of quality. Look for a fully engineered system that is sturdy and well manufactured.
Ask if the sunroom construction contractor has a showroom where you can see full size models or ask to see their finished work on someone’s home.
Let the homeowner tell you about their experience working with the company and their employees.
Compare cost and value -
After you visit a show room, make sure to ask if they offer a free, no obligation consultation and measure at your home to provide you with an exact cost for your project. Some sunroom con-tractors offer estimates over the phone. This can hide the true cost of the project.
Scheduling an appointment would be the only true way to be sure you can compare the cost and value of each product before selecting a sunroom company.
Ask about insurance -
Workers’ Compensation insurance is a big expense that many contractors don’t want to absorb, so they cut corners by hiring sub-contractors to do the installation work. If an uninsured worker is injured on your property, you could bear the liability.
Ask about UL® Approval -
Would you live in a home where the electric system was not UL approved? Be sure the sunroom has UL approved wiring systems.
What about ENERGY STAR? -
ENERGY STAR® is a national program that rates the energy efficiency of many consumer products. Sunrooms that are designed for year round heating and cooling are eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR. If you are considering a year round room, be sure the windows and doors are ENERGY STAR qualified in all 50 states.
Check the roller wheels on windows and doors.
It’s the rollers that keep operation smooth for the long term. Look for window rollers that are the same size and quality as those used on the doors, for effortless operation every time. Steel rollers on stainless steel tracks are the best system for heavy windows and doors. The rollers should be adjustable and covered under the warranty.
Watch out for skimpy frames! Some patio and sunroom doors and windows have roll formed aluminum frames, which are not as strong as extruded frames. Frames should be sturdy to take all of the use given to doors and windows in a sunroom.
Check out the handles -
Your sunroom will get lots of use, so the door and window handles should be strong and easy to use.
Color matched handles with mortise locks look better – and last longer! Screen handles should be full size and well fastened.
Try them out on the demonstration model the design consultant brings to your home, visit the showroom or ask to see a sunroom on a display home in your area.
Look at the Screens -
Most screen material is fiberglass or nylon. These fabrics can stretch and make a belly in the screen. They also tear easily and can be burned with a cigarette or a spark from the grill.
Screens should be glare free. Flat black aluminum screens minimize the obstruction of your outdoor view, and are stronger than fiberglass or nylon screens.
Aluminum screens will not stretch or tear, and will not burn. That gives the screen a better look in the frame, and will not need frequent replacement or service.
Ask if sub-contractors will be used on the construction -
If so, find out how and what part of the work will they do. If subcontract-ors are used for specialty work on your installation, be sure they are fully insured and that your sunroom company will stand behind their work.
Be sure you get the right permits and necessary inspections -
Identify what permits will be required to build your new sunroom and how they will be processed. Find out who will schedule the inspections required by your local building department.
Sunroom Water Control System -
The Floor Channel is an important part of your water control system. In most sunrooms channels are attached to the deck or foundation. Water can collect in a flat channel. Look for a floor channel that has a slope to the outside of the room. If water gets in, it will go to the front of the room and will not sit in the channel or backup into the room. Floor channels should be sealed to keep water from seeping under the channel so the sunroom stays warm and dry on the inside. The same type of channel should be used under the window main frames to move water away from the room.
Weepholes are another important part of the water control system. Weepholes are elongated holes that are pre-punched at the factory to prevent clogging and allow water to flow freely. Factory drilled weepholes are better than drainage holes that are drilled on site. Drilling can be controlled at the factory, but not on site. Drilling through aluminum can cause burrs which will trap dirt and clog the holes. Weepholes are located at the lowest point in the floor channel, so water doesn’t sit in the channel causing mold or mildew.
Ask what type of house gutters are used -
Look for an extruded aluminum gutter that integrates into the finished roof. An extruded gutter is stronger and more durable than a standard house gutter. The gutter should match the sunroom roof in color and design.
Ask what type of warranty is included. How long is the labor guarantee, and what does it include? Ask about Manufacturer’s Warranty, and who stands behind it.