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Sunroom Ideas on a Budget

Expert Overview

  1. Making a list of ways you intend to use your sunroom can help you formulate a plan for building a sunroom on a budget.
  2. Low interest credit cards, bank loans, home equity line of credit (HELOC), and contractor financing offer different solutions for paying for your sunroom.
  3. If you’re able to build some of the sunroom yourself, you may be able to save money—but only if you can build it up to code.

For most homeowners, budget is the deciding factor for a great many decisions, from whether to get a three-season or an all-season sunroom to what type of windows to specify. Opting for less expensive materials can keep you within budget, but it may not yield the results you want.

For example, if you have visions of celebrating the winter holidays in your sunroom and opening presents as snow falls lightly outside, you’re going to wind up disappointed if you opt for less expensive sunroom windows with poor insulation. On the other hand, if you overspend and exceed what you can afford, you may not be able to enjoy your sunroom because you’ll be too busy working to pay your bills!

So how do you find the middle ground?

Sunroom budgeting 101: Make a list

You can start by making a list of ways you intend to use the space and discussing plans for the room with other members of the household. Ask yourself: What do I want to do with this room? How does my family intend to use this room? What elements are non-negotiable?

Then, you can start to reconcile your needs with the amount of money you want to spend. If you only want to spend $5,000-$10,000, most likely, the best you can do is enclose an existing porch. If you are budgeting closer to $35,000, you have a lot more flexibility—but you still may come up short if you want the maximum amount of insulation or the highest energy-efficient sunroom windows.

You simply have to weigh the uses of the room versus the intended budget. If you’re still having a hard time making decisions, talk to your contractor about various options, like how to control the budget and how to get the most use out of a three-season sunroom.

You can also start by going to a lender first, to see how much money you’re approved to borrow. Then, gather quotes from contractors to find out how much each type of sunroom would cost. Homeowners who decide to go through a contractor for financing must get quotes first, and then secure financing second.

What are typical sunroom financing options?

Paying cash for your addition is always the ideal, but unfortunately, this is not always an option. Financing packages for homeowners who want to build onto their home can vary.

Here are some of the most common options:

  • Low interest credit cards: For a homeowner hoping to make their own home improvement, a low interest credit card might be a good solution—although this type of credit card is only available to homeowners with excellent credit. Plus, low interest credit cards usually have a low limit, which means they’re not a realistic choice for a homeowner who chooses to build through a contractor.
  • Bank loan: Many banks offer loans at competitive rates. Typically, homeowners find it easiest to secure a loan through their own bank. However, shopping around can be financially rewarding.
  • Home improvement loans or home equity line of credit (HELOC): If you’re seeking a HELOC (a type of loan that uses your equity in the home as collateral), shop around for the most competitive rates.
  • Contractor financing: Large contractors often have financing packages available for homeowners. In-house loans may be easier to secure and manage because the financing comes through the contractor who is building the addition. At Champion, we offer low monthly payment plans and low-financing options. Our in-home consultant can discuss these and other financing options that best suit your budget and financial needs.

Can I save money by building in stages?

Sunrooms are essentially covered patios with windows and screens. Homeowners who want to build their sunroom in stages can do so by starting with the patio construction. After the patio foundation has been laid, the space can be covered. After covering the patio, the last step is to finish the enclosure.

Homeowners who build this way usually do so because they don't want to borrow large sums of money, or because they want to build part or all of the sunroom themselves.

There is no cost benefit to hiring a contractor to work in stages. In fact, it can be more expensive. However, a homeowner who chooses to lay their own patio foundation and build their own patio cover may save money by hiring the contractor to do the enclosure. This is only cost efficient if you do the work to code and the contractor does not need to redo it in order to finish the enclosure.

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