Designing Your Perfect Sunroom

by | Sep 30, 2019 | Other

There’s no denying that having a sunroom makes your home much more beautiful and better to live in. Imagine enjoying the view without any bugs in your beverage, and staying nice and warm on a crisp fall day while still enjoying all the glorious colours of autumn in North Bay, Callendar, Nipissing and all of our surrounding communities. On a more practical note, a sunroom can increase your home’s resale value. We’ll tell you the considerations you need to have before you realize your dream. But don’t sweat the details – that’s what we’re here for.

Building Permits & Codes

It’s almost unfair to paint a rosy picture of enjoying your sunroom and then introduce the topic of building codes and permits, but it’s a necessary step to getting there. First, check your local zoning laws and see if you have the room on your lot to accommodate a sunroom. The usual code is that the main house and outbuildings can only cover 33 per cent of your building lot. If your sunroom will go over that limit, you may have to apply for a minor variance to your local township or town.

In North Bay, there is a requirement to have a “setback”, or at least four feet of space between where your sunroom is going to your lot line. Again, you can apply for a variance, and most homes in North Bay would need to.

Northwood Sunroom 1

Above: Interior view of sunroom Northwood built in Nipissing, Ontario

Most building departments don’t want to take on any liability, and that means approvals are few and far between for installations that don’t fit squarely in building code paramaters unless you have engineered, stamped drawings for your particular application. Luckily, we have excellent relationships with most city and township building departments and can hold your hand through the process and tell you, usually up front, what kind of permits and costs for drawings you are looking at. And we always exceed the building code requirements at Northwood just to make sure your permits go through and you will be able to enjoy your sunroom for many long years to come.

Have a solid foundation – a deck may not be enough

Most homeowners think – and it just makes sense to do so – that you can install a sunroom on a pre existing deck. However, many decks aren’t built to code, or to handle the additional structural loads of a sunroom. In most cases, we would either build a new deck to support the sunroom and/or pour a concrete slab, depending on the installation. If you are attached to the concept of building something extra on your pre existing deck, but don’t have the budget or desire for a sunroom, ask us about doing a screened-in porch. This will still allow you to enjoy shadfly-free nights outside without the cost and considerations of a sunroom.

Northwood Sunroom 2

Above: Exterior view of sunroom built by Northwood Windows and Doors

Turning the lights on

Most homeowners will also probably need the services of an electrician to install outlets to code in the sunroom. We can hire out a licensed electrician for you to take care of it as a part of the quote on your job.

How much time will it take?

This depends on which municipality you are in and how big the job is going to be. The longest wait is usually for permits and minor variances to go through – that process could take months, so if you are dreaming of having it ready for summer, you should start the process as soon as possible in the winter when building departments generally aren’t busy. Our average time from quote to finished sunroom is four months, but we’ve seen longer and shorter jobs.

At Northwood, we love visiting customers to give estimates, and there’s no obligation. Have us out and we can figure all this out for you. Our excellent reputation and relationships with building departments in North Bay and surrounding communities will take the pain out of the process, and we’ll give you an estimate that works with your budget.