Don't start sunroom addition until windows arrive
Doug Lynch started working construction as a summer job 17 years ago and it seemed only natural to stick with it and open his own business.
Ten years ago, he started Exterior Additions, where his passion for sunrooms shines. “I’ve always enjoyed the concept of a sunroom,” Lynch says. Having 11 employees allows Lynch to focus on running the business, but he says he still likes to get out and drive nails when he can.
What do I need to know about adding a sunroom?
Doug Lynch: "Sunrooms are really an addition you want to consider for your personal use rather than something to add for resale value. They can be expensive — the average price is $28,000 to $45,000 — and there are many factors that determine the price, such as matching the existing structure, window choice and how the room will be heated and cooled.
"The cost to build a sunroom is 15 to 20 percent more than a typical addition because it's all windows, which account for about a third of the cost. They're a critical part of the room, so you really want to make sure you get a quality product. You can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $1,200 per window with an average of 10 to 12 windows.
"When shopping for windows, the most important aspect is the energy efficiency rating. You also want to make sure your product has a long warranty and that there's local support staff from the manufacturer, in case you have any issues with the product.
"The contract should lay out the details of your project. Expect to pay 5 to 10 percent as a down payment, and 50 percent for special or custom ordered products.
"Windows typically take eight to 10 weeks to arrive, and construction really shouldn't start until the contractor has them in hand — you don't want the new structure open to the elements if delivery gets delayed.
"Make sure you check with the state licensing board to verify the contractor you're working with is properly licensed — that's a really big issue. Also ask for referrals and ask if you can look at similar projects or other sunrooms they've built.
"If you're using a contractor who builds all types of additions, ask what percentage of the work they do is sunrooms. If they just dabble in it, you may want to keep shopping around.
"Sunrooms are being used more as a multipurpose room than a 'sun' room. They can be kitchen extensions or pseudo guest rooms — whatever you need it to be. You really want to squeak the most value out of the space and sunrooms are a great place to do that, as well as incorporate more of the outdoors into the indoors."