I’ve seen a number of questions on different web sites requesting information about patio room or sun room pricing. (We have one posted on this blog that we found online.) It’s hard to answer those questions, because there are so many variables in determining the price. That’s one reason why it is very difficult for a contractor to offer a “ballpark price” or a square footage price off the top of his head, for a Patio Room or Sun room.
Let’s take a look at some of the things that affect the price:
Is there an existing concrete pad or patio upon which the room can be built?
If the answer is “yes”, that can save a lot of money. However, in most cases a concrete patio has no “footer” around the perimeter. Today most permit issuing government agencies require footers. This will add a substantial amount to the cost.
Is there an existing deck upon which the room can be built?
What will be required to make it usable with the new room?
New flooring additional posts additional joists, replacing of existing construction members, or replacement of the entire deck?
Lots of room for additional costs here
If there is no concrete patio and no deck to build on, which is needed which will work best.
Which is the most affordable?
Which will look best with the existing house?
Usually, a deck is substantially less costly than a concrete foundation, but will need to be insulated.
Is a deck acceptable to your neighborhood association?
Oh yes, can a contractor get equipment to dig footers into that area of the yard?
Underground utility lines or pipes
Then there are the questions about the room itself.
What about the style of the roof?
Sloped slightly in one direction Or Cathedral/Gable?
Peaked in the middle sloped on two sides Certainly, the latter is substantially more expensive than the former.
What about the walls?
Single layer glass 3 season room
Insulated glass (4 season room)? Generally, the more glass you have, the more expensive the room. One of the purposes of having a patio room or sun room is to have a lot of glass, a great view, and lots of light. Glass, floor to ceiling, and glass in the gable (if there is one) add a lot of expense.
You could have sliding doors with transoms above, or sliding windows with upper and lower transoms, but using fill panels for a knee wall under and over the sliding windows will reduce the price of your room dramatically and can still be very attractive.
Is the room going to be a three season or four season room? If you want to use it comfortably all year round, it will need to be a four season room. With a three season room, you might not be able to use the room comfortably during the hottest or the coldest weeks of the year.
Will there be heat and air in the room? Can you add duct work to your existing heat/air system and if so, does your existing system have the capacity for the added space? Or, will you put in a combination unit through the room wall such as a GE Zone line unit (like you see in hotel/motel rooms)?
Often times, the sales rep will recommend a single pane glass system with a GE Zone line Heating/Cooling unit trying to keep the price down and make the sale. They may even tell you it can use as a year-round room that way.
But they seldom explain that you will probably get condensation inside the room from the glass being hotter in summer than the air inside the room or colder in the winter than the air inside the room. This may or may not be an important consideration. Building a room on an existing concrete pad may also cause condensation issues.
Will the room require an electrical package…lights and outlets? Your contractor may want you to get your own electrician.
How much will that cost?
Do you want a ceiling fan?
Who supplies the hardware?
Who installs it?
Can the room be rewired?
(This looks a lot better than conduit on the inside or outside of the room.) Do existing outlets or plumbing fixtures need to be moved? Who is responsible for that? What will it cost? Are there overhead power lines or electric or gas meters that need to be moved?
What kind of flooring will be installed?
Is the contractor responsible?
Will it be installed by the room installers, or people who specialize in flooring?
Is a building permit required?
The answer is almost always YES! Do not sign an agreement without specifying that the contractor is responsible for the permit and the costs related to the permit.
These items and others make it difficult to give a “ball park” estimate on a patio room or sun room. Try to have an idea what type and what size room you would like and how you would use the room. Then get referrals from friends or neighbors who have purchased rooms. (Always ask them about any warranty issues and how the company performed.) Call for an appointment for an estimate.
Then, you and your spouse (if there is one) should both be there. Information passed from one party to another to another is often incorrect. Call or go online to the Better Business Bureau. Get the reports before the companies get there. Don’t make a decision until you have talked to at least three qualified companies and have called a few references.
Most companies will offer a “first call” discount if you can make a decision while the sales rep is there. I always tell consumers that this first call discount price is the price they want you to pay, but it is not the lowest price they will accept.