How to design a sunroom that stays cool in summer

Sunrooms are a smart extension to your home. They’re the ideal relaxation space, warm and inviting, even in winter as the temperature drops. But good design requires some serious thought. If designed badly, you could find your sunroom becomes a hot box during the summer – unusable until autumn sets in again, writes Chris Godden, owner and Managing Director of Doberman Windows and Doors.

If you want to make the most of your investment, all year round, here are five ways to achieve sunroom comfort in any season.

Orientation is important

The very first step to planning a sunroom is to find the best position for it. You might live in a narrow terrace or townhouse with only one possible position, or you might have multiple possible places for the extension. Whatever the case, look at the orientation of the sun. This will tell you how much sun the room will get during winter and summer. If a sunroom is in a relatively warm climate and gets full sun all day in summer, you’ll need to take extra measures to keep it cool.

Invest in insulated glazing

The next step to regulating your sunroom temperature is insulation. Single glazing, which lets hot and cold air pass through, is a no-go. But double glazing, where there are two panes of glass with air trapped between, slows down the heat flow between inside and out. Due to the sheer amount of glass in a sunroom, you might want to consider thermal glazing. Thermal glazing uses low-e smart glass (high performance glass that provides insulation and solar protection), which has a transparent coating used to reflect the heat off the glass, increasing insulation. When used in a double glazing unit, it can increase insulation by up to 68%.

Insulate your ceiling

Just as you need to properly insulate your windows, the ceiling is equally as important. A glass ceiling will need to be built using toughened glass and double glazing. If your sunroom has a closed or covered ceiling, correctly insulating it will greatly reduce the amount of heat flow in and out of the room, and therefore your home.

Let the air flow

Allowing airflow through your sunroom is an integral part of keeping it cool in summer. Ensure there are at least two opposite opening windows or doors where a breeze can pass through. This will flush out the hot air built up on a long summer’s day. A ceiling fan can also help to get the air moving.

Block it out with blinds

No matter how much you invest in insulating your sunroom, without blocking out the hot sun in the middle of the day the temperature can still rise. You can add simple drop down blinds inside, or invest in retractable outdoor blinds that fix to the exterior. If your sunroom has a glass roof, add a retractable awning to provide protection during summer and full sun during winter.

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