The Difference Between Sunrooms vs. Solariums

Dec 3, 2021

Sunrooms vs. Solariums

Depending on where you live in the United States, you may be considering some home outdoor living spaces upgrades right now. If you live on the south, southwest, west coast, or southeast coast, you might be thinking about a sunroom or solarium. When considering a sunroom addition for your home, it’s easy to be confused by swappable verbiage and the endless styles and designs that are available. A common question at Porch Windows Direct that we often receive is, “What is a solarium and how is it different from other sunroom additions?”

In this article, we will explain the differences between these sunroom types and describe some of the custom options available for each.

What is a Multi-Season Porch or Room?

A Porch Windows Direct multi-season room is a type of sunroom addition that has been custom-fitted with vinyl or fixed glass windows that allow you to enjoy your space for 3 1/2 seasons or in the case of fixed glass – year-round. Four season rooms extend the living space in your home and provide additional entertaining space, while bringing the outdoors in, without having to worry about inclement weather.

  • Advantage: Multi-season rooms tend to cost less than solarium additions, while still offering you a beautiful view of the outdoors or your curated backyard space.
  • Disadvantage: A multi-season room does not allow quite as much natural light into your space as a solarium as the roof is not made from glass.

Memory vinyl windows porch conversion project

The above image is a multi-season addition to this Manitoba Canada home. You can read our blog for more information about this Manitoba, Canada Porch Conversion Project.

What is a Solarium?

A solarium is a type of sunroom addition that is made completely out of glass. This includes both the walls and roof. Solariums can be heated and cooled with an individual room heating and cooling unit, giving you year-round use of your new space.

Example of a Solarium

Example of a Solarium. Photo: All West Glass

Solariums have plenty of advantages as well. They are built glass and provide unobstructed views of the outdoor areas and offer great natural light. If you enjoy star-gazing, but don’t want to be bothered by the bugs, a solarium is a perfect solution that allows you to enjoy the beautiful stars from the comfort of your home. Because solariums allow optimal natural light to enter the room, they are often used as greenhouses for flowers or plants that require plenty of sunlight.

There are two major disadvantages. Since the ceiling is made entirely from glass (even though it is insulated), a solarium can get very warm – even too hot to use. However, vent fans can be installed to allow warm air to escape. And due to its thermally-engineered design and the materials used, a solarium tends to be much more expensive than a multi-season room.

Sunrooms vs. Solariums

Construction companies, builders, and architects tend to use the term “sunroom” to refer to any room with large windows that may be an addition to the main living space. Sunrooms have traditional roofs like the homes they’re attached to, and the windows stretch side-by-side across the walls but do not stretch floor to ceiling. These windows are typically a retractable screen with fixed glass installation or a memory vinyl porch enclosure.

As implied in its name, a sunroom’s purpose is to provide a space for people to enjoy the sun while not being outdoors physically. Compared to a traditional sunroom, a solarium’s architecture is more modern. These structures feature a glass roof and glass walls. Solariums can be freestanding, meaning they don’t have to be attached to the rest of your home. Perhaps in the middle of your backyard.

The intent of a solarium is to capture as much sunlight as possible. Some have window openings or tracks that allow you to install shades to help insulate and regulate temperature. Typically, you may like to use your space to grow plants and flowers, or to start your own herb or vegetable garden – even during the winter months. So solarium tends to be a very niche-specific build-out for your home or family.

The popular choice

One of the reasons that, at Porch Windows Direct, we focus on DIY porch enclosure solutions is the popularity of installations based on the information we’ve provided above. You can measure your windows and doors yourself and submit your measurements for a quote. Or you can simply order your porch windows online. If you’re seeking a more cost-effective solution that can be quickly built for you and installed on a Sunday afternoon, then extending your porch living or adding a simple room addition is for you!

Scenix Windows Exterior Shot

Contact Porch Windows Direct

Need help with measuring your space? Have other questions? We’ll always give you a free quote and help as much as we can to help your installation be as successful as possible. Contact Us today.


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