The Benefits of Having a Sunroom in Winter

There are plenty of benefits to having a sunroom all year round. The natural light has terrific health effects and helps to make your home more energy efficient. The versatility of sunrooms allows the homeowner to use them for whatever they’d like, from a coffee nook to a playroom to an indoor garden space. However, when we think of sunrooms, we usually think of them in spring and summer, the warmer months of the year. The truth is one of the best times of year to have a sunroom is winter. In winter, homeowners are likely to spend more time indoors and out of the cold. With a sunroom, they can still enjoy all the benefits of sunlight without the uncomfortable temperatures of winter.

Four Season Gardening

There are a limited number of plants that can withstand the extreme temperatures of winter, so it’s not the most convenient time of year for avid gardeners. However, with an indoor garden, you can control the temperature, no matter what time of year it might be. All your plants will need from the outdoors is plenty of sunlight, and your sunroom will certainly provide that. With a sunroom, you can enjoy your favorite plants even in January or February. An indoor garden will also help to give you a cheerful, warmer view to contrast the cold outside.

Natural Light Health Benefits

You’ve probably heard people talk about “seasonal depression” or “seasonal affective disorder.” As many as 25% of people experience at least mild SAD. It occurs because of the significantly decreased exposure to naturally light. SAD may show itself as a lethargy and unwillingness to go out, even for things you would normally enjoy. You may be more prone to sadness or apathy in the winter months. Often, SAD is tied into bad sleeping habits, whether oversleeping or sleep deprivation.

Exposure to natural light has a significant impact on mental health. It helps us to have more energy during the day and to sleep better at night. It’s been shown to make people overall more cheerful and optimistic. Having a sunroom ensures that no matter what the temperature might be outside, you won’t lose out on all of those health benefits of natural light.

Extra Space

With the winter comes the holidays and the new year…and often throngs of friends and extended family. A sunroom provides your home with extra space. It can be a guest room for an in-law that plans to stay for a few nights. It can be a playroom for the family’s kids to enjoy. It can also be a studio or reading nook, a place to get away when you need a little time to yourself. You could even move a table into the sunroom and have the big holiday dinner there. The possibilities are endless.

Any time of year is a good time of year to have a sunroom, but winter might be the best time to enjoy it. To have your own sunroom installed, contact Sunspace Texas today. We can guarantee that the installation team will arrive on time, finish the job efficiently and within budget, so you can get as much enjoyment out of your sunroom as possible this winter.

Sunrooms vs. Enclosed Porch: What’s the Difference?

Here at Sunspace Texas, we can help add natural light and space to your home through the addition of an all seasons sunroom or a porch enclosure. But what’s the difference? Both use full screens to let in as much natural light as possible. Both sunrooms and porch enclosures provide the gorgeous views of the outdoors while staying inside and protected from any extreme temperatures. So does it matter, then, which one you choose? There are some differences, however. Here, we’ll contrast sunrooms and enclosed porches so you can decide what works best for your home.

 

Temperature

Sunspace Texas uses the WeatherMaster® Porch Enclosure System with plenty of ventilation and energy efficient vinyl glazing to keep our porch enclosures cool during the summer months. This glazing protects against harmful UV rays of the sun. There are also options for tempered glass with Argon thermals for cooler months. Our porch enclosures have the temperature control of a three-season sunroom. On the other hand, sunrooms are particularly designed with windows that allow the sun to heat the room during cooler months. If you plan to use your sunspace more in the summer, a porch enclosure is perfect. If you want something that will last you through the cooler months and even up to the first snowfall of the year, a sunroom may be your best bet.

Outdoor Elements

If you don’t feel like going out into the heat but you still want to enjoy the outdoors a porch enclosure will get you as close as possible to that indoor/outdoor feeling. The sunroom model 200, however, is the best protection against some of the unwanted outdoor elements, like bugs, extreme temperatures, and chilly winds. Our sunrooms are built with two inch foam panels and extrusions to keep out any unwanted pests so you can enjoy the sun with all the comforts of the indoors.  All of our porch enclosures are installed with care and security. The sunroom model 200 just takes that protection from the outdoor elements one step further.

Installation

Generally speaking, porch enclosures make for an easier, more efficient installation. Because of this, it also tends to be the less expensive option of the two. If you decide that it’s not for you, porch enclosures are relatively easy to uninstall. Sunrooms take a bit more work and are less easy to install, so they typically cost more than porch enclosures. At Sunspace Texas, we can guarantee reasonable prices for any of our installations and efficient work that’s as low stress for you as possible. We even have financing options so you can have your sunspace sooner than you expected, whether it’s an enclosed porch you want or an all season sunroom.

 

Whatever choice is right for you, we’d love to help create your own sunspace for your home. Check out our “before & after” gallery to see some of our work with sunrooms and porch enclosures. Once you know what you want, call Sunspace Texas at 888-271-5810 for a free quote.

Preparing Your Sunroom for the Holidays

If you don’t have enough time or decorations to deck all the halls in your home, your sunroom is a perfect place to start. It’s already the best place in the house to sit with a cup of cocoa and watch the snow fall, and it’s versatile enough for a creative theme or a low maintenance touch of the holidays. Here are some of our favorite ideas for festive sunrooms:

A String of Lights

Stringing Christmas lights through the sunroom is a simple, but festive way to decorate the room. Even if Christmas lights are all you use to decorate your sunroom this year, it will still have retain its holiday cheer. With a bit of electrical tape, you can use the corners of the wall as your guide, or wrap lights around a strand of tinsel and let that hang from the doors of the sunroom. Candles are another way to add cozy warmth to the room.

Use the Windows

The best thing about the sunroom is the view, and it can be your best resource when decorating for the holidays. Central Texas may not be known for snow in the winter, but you can help add a holiday touch to your view by hanging wreaths, tinsel, or find a snowy decal to stick onto the windows during the holiday season. Create your own winter wonderland views, and let the real view of your outdoor area add a more authentic backdrop.

O Christmas Tree

If you’re having trouble deciding where to put the Christmas tree this year, your sunroom could be the perfect place for it. It offers the space and light to showcase the tree and the perfect function for gathering the whole family in the room. You can all pile into the sunroom to decorate the tree after Thanksgiving and then, on Christmas morning, sit around the sunroom and pass out presents.

Movie Marathon

Or your sunroom can house another time-honored holiday tradition. After Thanksgiving, many families go on a binge of their favorite holiday movies and that binge keeps going sometimes until the end of the year. If your sunroom has the outlet to support a TV, consider moving a TV and your favorite Christmas movies into the sunroom. This is a great idea if you tend to host parties during the holidays. Every holiday party needs a room where the best movies are playing. This can be yours.

For the Kids

Having extended family over for the holidays can be wonderful if a bit chaotic. This is especially true if your extended family brings their children. Kids are a joy, but sometimes the adults want to have a chance to talk to each other. If your sunroom isn’t a playroom already, you can easily convert it into a playroom where the kids can hang out while the adults gather in the living room. That way the grown-ups can keep an eye on them while still enjoying their own space.

 

As friends and family start to gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas, you may find yourself in need of more space. A sunroom or enclosed porch has the potential to be the perfect space for all of your holiday traditions. The question is–have you had yours installed yet? If you’re in central Texas, call Sunspace Texas at 888-271-5810 or fill out their free estimate form for an affordable quality sunroom installation.

4 Steps to Cleaning Your Enclosed Porch

3 Affordable Ways To Light Your Sunroom In StyleYour enclosed porch can be a tranquil space to soak in the light and beauty from outside while staying warm and dry inside as the weather starts to drop. Because it’s a barrier between the outdoors and the rest of the house, it can also help your family get out of the habit of tracking dirt inside. However, that often means that the dirt is collects in the enclosed porch instead. Especially now in the midst of fall, the enclosed porch can slowly start to build up with outdoor leaves, dirt, and pesky insects seeking shelter from the chilly weather. It’s important to stay on top of your cleaning so that it doesn’t overwhelm you.

Vacuum the Outside of the Porch

If you have a dry day before a few days of rain, that’s the perfect time to start. Vacuum the outside of your porch to clear it of any clinging dust or pollen, as well as leaf particles or anything else that might have stuck to it this season. Make sure you get all the little crevices, and once you’re finished, wipe down your screens. Fortunately, vinyl windows are fairly low maintenance and shouldn’t be a problem to difficult to wipe down.

Clean Any Upholstery or Carpet

Fall is the season of ragweed pollen, and it loves to stick to anything clothy in your screened in porch. So don’t let any cushion or rug go uncleaned. This is as important as cleaning the porch itself, and possibly even more important if you’re prone to seasonal allergies. Before you clear out your enclosed porch of all furniture (as you will need to do), vacuum the rug and the seating area. If you have cushions, give them a good wash and thoroughly dry them before you return everything to the room.

Hose it Down

Once the porch is empty, it’s time to hose it down. You can use a pressure washer, but a garden hose with a jet spray nozzle will work just as well. Start with the screens, where most of the pollen will have collected. If there’s a particularly dirty spot, you can wipe it off with a rag and some soap and then rinse it off with the hose. At this point, don’t hose down the floor. Even if your porch is treated wood or a surface that won’t be damaged by water, it will be better served by mopping it down or giving it a hard sweep.

Wipe Off the Tough Spots

There will always be tight spots, corners and frames that are difficult to sweep, mop, or hose. Fortunately, that’s why wet wipes were invented. Find those tight spaces and do some intensive wiping down. The line where the porch surface meets the screen and any corners are usually the biggest offenders. For this part, especially, you may want to make sure you’re wearing gloves or a pair of jeans that you don’t mind getting dirty.

 

Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the convenience of an enclosed porch. If you’re interested in having your own installed, contact Sunspace Texas today for a free estimate. Sunspace Texas specializes in high-quality sunspaces and screened in porches, particularly using energy efficient, durable vinyl screens. The enclosed porches are all custom-designed so you can have your perfect, easy to maintain porch enclosure.

Choosing a Professional for Your Screened Porch Installation

screened porches college station general contractorUnless you yourself are a construction professional, a screened porch installation is not an ideal DIY project. It’s extensive, messy, often involving electrical work, and it’s more complicated than the finished project might appear. Whether you have construction experience or not, hiring a professional will save you plenty of time and stress. The question is how to find the right professional for the job. Once you know all the companies in your area who handle porch enclosure installations, how do you choose? There are a few things to consider here, and it could mean the difference between a quality sunspace and a money pit. Here’s how to spot quality service at a reasonable rate from the competition.



Read the Reviews

It goes without saying that before you hire a construction company, you should do thorough research on their experience and reputation. Start with their website. If they have any reviews or testimonials, great. But remember their website will be biased in their favor. No one’s going to post a negative testimonial to their own site, so it’s best to do a google search and see what customers are saying away from their website. One great resource for finding unbiased reviews on home improvement professionals is Houzz.  Houzz not only shows you what previous customers thought of the work, it tells you the date the project was completed and the cost that the customers paid for the work. Seeing a price range will help prepare you for the next step.



Get an Estimate

If a company tries to charge for an estimate, that’s a red flag because so few do. Most home improvement professionals will be more than happy to offer you a free, no-obligation estimate for the work you need. After all, they don’t want to go into business with someone who isn’t prepared to pay their rates, and they understand that you probably don’t have unlimited funds at your disposal. Before you call, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want so that you can get an estimate that’s as close to reality as possible. Compare prices to the quality of service that you found when searching for reviews. Sometimes it might be worth it to go with someone that charges a little more, but provides better service. Definitely ask if they offer financing. If so, you might be able to expand your budget.



Ask Questions

If you’re hiring a company that has years of experience in the area and their reviews are overwhelmingly positive, you can probably assume that they are, in fact, a professional. However, it still helps to ask questions–both for your own information and to make sure that the professional knows what they’re doing. During the consultation, the first question on your mind besides cost will probably be time, so go ahead and ask how long the work will take. You should make sure that they’re licensed before hiring them, and if they offer a guarantee. You should always ask if their team has an electrician on staff, since often installing outlets or working with electricity comes with the job of an enclosed porch. It might also be a good idea to ask about the materials they use, and their energy efficient resources. If they offer financing, ask for details about financing.




Sunspace Texas is committed to serving Texas with quality sunspaces at affordable prices. Contact them today for a free estimate and learn how they could be the right team for your screened porch installation.







3 Unique Ideas for Your Porch Enclosure

3 Affordable Ways To Light Your Sunroom In StyleInstalling a porch enclosure is a great solution for those who want to relax on the porch and enjoy the outdoors but don’t want to be inconvenienced by the heat or storms. With vertical, floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the space, you can recline on your porch and watch the sunset or listen to the rain from the comfort and conveniences of the indoors. It’s also a good investment for anyone who wants to add space to their home. We’ve talked about using your sunspace for dining or for an indoor garden, but it’s not the only thing you can do with the space. Here are some of our favorite uses for a porch enclosure.



A Home Office

Studies show that exposure to natural sunlight helps people to be more energized during the day and sleep better at night. If your workspace feels stale and dim, consider moving it to your sunny porch enclosure. You can work against the beautiful outdoor views and enjoy the sunlight that fills the room. Add a few plants by the windows for extra color and pleasant smells. If you need a change of venue, you can even step outside for a bit and work in the fresh air. A porch enclosure provides a unique, refreshing workspace so that you can stay motivated to be productive throughout the day, and even enjoy your work.



A Guest Room

Expecting company? If you need space for guests in your home, you can always wow them with your sunspace. Whether you set it up as a bedroom with a dresser and closet included or you create a seating area with a futon and a pull-out couch, your porch enclosure can easily be converted into a guest room. Your guest can enjoy the best views in the house, and if they need privacy, just install some shades or blinds. There’s no need to worry about an overheated room, either. Sunspace Texas creates porch enclosures fit for ventilation and uses energy efficient vinyl windows, so the room will stay cool, even when the weather outside is hot.



A Pet Room

If you have a beloved furry friend, treat them to a relaxing sunspace. Your cat or dog will love lying by the window and soaking up the sun. Bring their food and water, toys, scratch posts, and beds into the sunroom and they may never want to leave. This is a particularly nice treat for indoor pets. If you don’t have an enclosed fence around your yard for your pets to play, they can still enjoy the warmth and light of the outdoors from their sunroom. They’ll probably enjoy watching the squirrels and birds pass by from the windows, as well.




Need some more ideas? What about a game room? Or an exercise room? A relaxing home spa? If you can think of a space that your home lacks, your porch enclosure can almost certainly accomodate you. Contact Sunspace Texas–your local experts in porch enclosure installation–for a free estimate.



 

 

Is Your Sunroom Ready for All Four Seasons?

A Valuable Addition to Your HomeThere are a number of reasons why a sunroom could make an excellent addition to your home. It gives the kids a space to play and enjoy the outdoor scenery even in harsh weather. It gives you a space to entertain when your friends come over. It helps your home to become more energy efficient. You can even create an indoor garden in your sunspace. A sunspace is a great way to beat the heat of Texas summers, but with summer drawing to a close, is your sunroom ready for fall, or even winter? Seasons may change, but your sunroom will be a part of your house for years. It’s important that the room stays comfortable, no matter how high or low the temperature may be outside.



Insulation is Key

In the summer, it helps to invest in a fan or energy efficient windows to keep the sunroom from overheating. In winter, however, you want the opposite effect: you want to keep the heat in. Make sure that your sunroom is properly insulated by searching for and sealing any cracks. If you’ve had issues with the insulation in your walls before now, this might be the time to check and update that. And if your home already has an HVAC system, see if you can extend that into your sunroom so that the heating that protects the rest of your house can also protect your sunroom.



Invest in Heavy Curtains

I know, this sounds a little counterproductive for a sunroom, but it will help to keep the room warm. You can always draw the curtains during the day so that natural light still floods the room and cover the windows at night so the room isn’t too cold in the morning, or you can partially cover the windows. If you’re set against curtains, consider buying a comfortable rug to lay out on the floor for the colder months. When the warm weather returns, you can tuck the rug away in storage until it’s needed again.



Install Vinyl Windows

What are your windows made of? Are they energy efficient? Do they block the sun’s most harmful UV rays? Sunspace Texas actually recommends vinyl windows for an energy efficient sunroom that will serve you well through all four seasons. Vinyl windows are as low maintenance as they come, and they’re extremely durable so even the most extreme weather won’t cause them to shatter. Just watch these videos to see how strong and flexible vinyl windows can be. Vinyl windows are the best sunspace windows out there when it comes to sealing out pests, harmful UV rays, heat, and cold.




If you find you have some updating to do with your sunroom, call a skilled professional for a free estimate. Sunspace Texas is committed to quality and dependability in your sunroom or porch enclosure. They will make sure that your sunroom can continue to be a room for your family to enjoy no matter what the colder months bring.







Add Value to Your Home with a Sunroom

Save Energy with the Natural Light of a SunroomMost houses aren’t meant to be your forever-and-ever home, and that’s okay. Your housing needs change as your life change and as your family changes. Just because you know you’ll only live in a house for a few years is no reason not to make improvements on it–in fact, it should be added incentive. Adding value to your home means that you’ll increase the rate at which you can sell it. You may even be able to make a profit when the time comes to move.

Add Value to your Home

One way to add value to your home, even while you still live there, is by adding a sunroom. A sunroom with energy efficient vinyl windows, floods the room with natural sunlight while lowering the cost of your energy bill. It provides a room for your kids to play or a room for you to entertain or even use as a home office that saves energy costs and helps you to enjoy the outdoors even in extreme heat. Imagine a living space that didn’t need any electrical lighting source for most of the day. How much money could you save with something like that?

 

Sunrooms also add value to your home when you finally decide to move. The beautiful, open space, energy efficiency, and versatility of sunrooms adds to the appeal of the home, and many home buyers are willing to pay more for a sunroom.  A well-insulated sunroom could retain about 51% of its value when selling your home.

 

Ultimately, it comes down to the insulation and function of your sunroom. Make sure when you install a sunroom that the room is properly insulated with energy efficient windows, so that it isn’t drafty in cold months or stuffy in hotter months. The function and potential functions of the room can also add appeal to future buyers. Many people use sunrooms as home gardens, play areas, or living spaces. You could also use a sunroom for a fitness room or a place to do yoga. Another idea for a sunroom is to add it onto the master suite of the home. Not only will this add to the square footage of your master suite (and a large master suite is always popular), but it offers a relaxing view for anyone who might buy the home in the future.

 

You may not stay in your house forever, but your sunroom could be there for generations to come. It’s a peaceful area that you can enjoy either with your family, your friends, your work, or just your morning coffee. When you move, others will appreciate the appeal to do the same thing or the opportunity to make their own memories there. Because a sunroom can be so instrumental in increasing the value of your home, when it comes time to have yours installed, you want to hire a professional you know you can trust. Sunspace Texas provides beautiful, comfortable sunrooms at affordable prices. With their sunrooms, you can increase the value of your home and know that you’ve left a mark on it that may last as long as the house does.

Cultivating an Indoor Garden with Your Sunroom

Cultivating an Indoor Garden with Your Sunroom

An indoor garden could be just the thing to brighten up the interior of your home. Imagine sipping your coffee on the couch of your sunroom, surrounded by fragrant, vibrant plant life. Imagine taking cuts of your own fresh herbs or vegetables for your cooking. You can even bring friends over to enjoy your garden. A sunroom garden provides your plants with all the light they need to thrive without the scorching, suffocating Texas heat. Here’s what you need to know about starting your own indoor garden:

Know what kind of plants you need

The great thing about an indoor garden is that plants that might not typically do well in your regional climate can still thrive because they’re protected from the harshness of the weather. Sunroom gardens require much less maintenance than outdoor gardens, and plants can continue to grow, even in winter. However, some plants will require more care than others. Do your research before deciding what plants to bring into your sunroom. Here’s a list of plants that typically flourish in sunrooms. All-season herbs, like mint and rosemary, are also recommended for sunroom gardens.

Find the Right Kind of Containers

The container you use to hold your plants can be absolutely vital when it comes to the survival of your plants. Without drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, the plants won’t receive the air they need and may be susceptible to root rot. It’s important to find pots for your containers that have drainage holes to allow the water to work through the roots naturally and fresh air to reach the plant. If you plant vegetables, a container with a water tray is preferable. You can even find self-watering containers with a built-in store of water.

Keep an Eye Out for Pests

Just because your garden isn’t outside doesn’t mean that pests can’t get inside. With an indoor garden, you’re able to control the environment and protect your plants more than you could outside, but small, harmful pests like aphids and spider mites can still find their way into the room. Watch your plants closely. Check the leaves–are there little holes? Is there downy or powdery mildew? Is the plant starting to wilt? Check this list of indoor garden pests and common diseases that can affect indoor garden plants. Make sure you always have clean clothes when you tend to your plants, and if you have pets, try to keep them out of the sunroom garden.

An indoor garden can add a sense of tranquility to your home and help your sunroom to give off an outdoor feel even when the weather is too hot or too cold to enjoy the outdoors. When having a sunroom installed in your home, make sure to tell a skilled professional your plans to use the space for a garden. They can help you create the perfect set-up and environment to start your new indoor garden. Take a look at our before-and-after gallery to see what Sunspace Texas can do for your sunroom.

Save Energy with the Natural Light of a Sunroom

Save Energy with the Natural Light of a Sunroom

Everyone is trying to find ways to save energy: energy saving lightbulbs, hybrid cars, biking or taking public transportation instead of driving. It’s important to be conscientious of the impact each of us make on the planet, not to mention on our energy bill. And the most replenishable form of energy that’s completely free is natural sunlight. Here are tips for a sunroom that can help you conserve energy while enjoying those bright natural light of summer days in comfort.

Energy Efficient Glass Windows

By their very nature, sunrooms are mostly glass windows. It’s important to note, however, that not all windows retain the same amount of heat. Familiarize yourself with the U-factor of the glass (solar heat loss coefficient). The lower the U-factor, the more energy efficient the window will be. Single-paned windows have too high of a U-factor to be efficient glass windows and will cause the room to be too hot and stuffy.  Find windows that reduce heat while protecting you from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. This way, you’ll save energy and your sunroom will be comfortable in summer and winter alike.

A Ceiling Fan 

Sunrooms provide a lovely view, but even with energy efficient windows, on the hottest days of summer, a sunroom can be uncomfortably hot. To keep the room cool and livable, consider installing a ceiling fan. This will help you save on your utilities and create a breeze that will keep you cool on those hot, hot Texas days. In winter, try reversing the direction of the fan’s blades to draw warm air up through the room.

Insulation

More important to keeping your sunroom comfortable both in the extreme Texas heat and in the chill of winter is proper insulation. Make sure any cracks and leaks in the room are thoroughly sealed and weatherstrip around all the frames in the room. You’ll be grateful you did when the extreme temperatures come.

Acrylic Roof System

There are a number of reasons for covering your enclosed porch with an acrylic roof. It offers shade and blocks damaging UV rays, but the translucent surface also lets the natural light shine through. It’s strong enough to protect against hail and heavy storms and the rigid panels won’t shatter if they do take any damage. It’s easy to install and requires almost no maintenance. An acrylic roof system will keep the sunroom cool, sunny, energy efficient, and it looks pretty good, too.

Making an enclosed sunroom out of your porch is an excellent way to save energy on an office, a reading room, or just a living space. But the renovations can be a disruptive hassle for a homeowner to take on. That’s why it helps to hire a skilled professional. Take a look at our before-and-after gallery of some of our previous work. Once you’re sure, reach out and let us know what energy efficient elements you’d like to be installed in your sunroom. We’ll give you a free estimate.

Make Your Screened Porch Perfect for Texas

Make Your Screened Porch Perfect for Texas

If you’re installing a screened porch or if you have a screened porch that needs an upgrade, there are some products that can make your screened porch or sunroom perfect for Texas weather. Let’s look at some options you have when you’re converting your porch into a real living area.

Sunroom

Adding a sunroom to your home doesn’t have to be complicated. While you may wonder what windows to install and whether there will be enough shade, there are easy answers to both of those questions.

A WeatherMaster Plus stacking door system is a wall that can be opened. It can work with new construction or an existing roof. The important part is that this system isn’t one size fits all. You can get one that fits your home.

Weather Master Windows are also a good option. They’re strong, safe, and flexible. You won’t have to worry if these windows will shatter in a hail storm. They open and close easily to protect you from the summer heat or the cold of winter.

If you need some shade in your existing sunroom or in your new one, there’s something that will work well for you. Sun-Shades are good for blocking the Texas sun when it gets a bit too hot outside.

Screening in Your Porch with Style

When you think of screens for a porch, what do you think of?  Do you think of a rectangle with a screen inside?  Do you imagine it old and damaged?  Not to worry, there is a modern pleated screen system called SlideClear. This system isn’t just a series of framed rectangles that you can slide. These pleated screens can go across an entire entry way on their own without having to hide behind a window. The pleats let them fold up so that they’re practically invisible when they’re opened. Their material is stronger than traditional windows as well.

Acrylic Roof System: If You Just Want a Little Shade

If your porch isn’t already covered, you have a lot of options. One of the most simple options is an acrylic roof system. It can be placed in a pergola or any structure you would like. It blocks the more damaging UV rays and heat while allowing some light through.

The Acrylic Roof System will protect from hail damage and will not shatter.

If you’re not sure what products will work for your home, look at a gallery of before and after pictures.   Then you can get a good idea of what products you might like to try. Then when you have an idea of what you would like, get a free estimate.

Enclosing a porch sound like a time-consuming job. Don’t let the idea of the hassle get the better of you. You can hire experienced professionals to do the work for you. We can custom build the perfect screened porch for you. That’s a lot better than trying to make the products you find at a local hardware store fit in your home. When something is built custom, you know it will fit with your home.

A Space to Enjoy the Sun

A Space to Enjoy the Sun

It’s July now and we’re really starting to feel the heat. Texas has a lot of sunshine in the summer and a lot of heat.  There are ways to maximize your time in the sunshine without any of the harmful effects of the blazing hot summer sun.   While the sunshine is good, it can sometimes be too harsh. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with that.

Benefits of Spending Time in the Sunshine

Studies have shown that spending more time in the sun can elevate your mood and prevent problems like Seasonal Affective Disorder which is strongly correlated with a lack of sunshine. We need some sunshine to be happy.

Sunshine also helps your body produce vitamin D. This is good for children because vitamin D and calcium work together to make strong bones. Of course, strong bones are good for everyone so make sure you get your vitamin D is important no matter how old or young you are. Sunshine helps us all stay healthy and strong.

Enclosed Porches

Screened porches and sunrooms are a lovely way to take advantage of our wonderful weather here in Texas. A screened porch not only keeps you in the shade, it also protects you from insects like mosquito’s that aren’t just annoying, they carry diseases. You can sit back and enjoy the great outdoors in the comfort and safety of your screened porch.

Sunrooms have an added advantage. You can choose whether or not to let the outside air inside. This is particularly advantageous during the winter. During a cool Texas winter, you can take advantage of the warm sunshine without all of the cold air. If you have pets that like to lay in the sun, this is a real bonus.

UV Protection

You can get UV protection from windows or even a roof. With an Acrylic Roof System, you can have filtered sunlight on your patio or porch. The specially designed acrylic allows some sunlight, but not the more dangerous wavelengths. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy the sun without getting overheated or burned.

If the sun is a little too bright for you, you can get sun shades for your sunroom. Sunshades can be pulled down to block a little sunlight or all of the sunlight. You can make your sunroom as bright or dark as you would like.  This makes it easy to customize your outdoor experience.

Have a Wonderful Summer!

The sunshine is good for us. It helps our bodies produce vitamin D which helps our bones. Sunshine is also good for keeping us happy. There are times when the sunshine can get too intense. Thankfully, there’s something we can do about that.

We can take advantage of enclosed porches and sunrooms. Enclosed porches protect you from the sun and from pests like mosquito’s. The also let you have a little time outside without worry about wasps or bees. As great as they are in the environment, they aren’t fun when they buzz around your head. Sunrooms add the added benefit of being able to choose when you want outside air. So, enjoy your summer and remember to get some shade as well.

How to Entertain Dinner Guests – Without a formal dining room

How to Entertain Dinner Guests – Without a formal dining room

Because many houses have eat-in kitchens, a lot of families don’t often need or use a formal dining area. So, we may convert our dining rooms to something more functional or we buy houses with no dining room.

Still, there are times when a dining room would be useful. It’s a lot easier for dinner guests to eat at a table than in a living area. Imagine you want to make your favorite soup or stew recipe for guests. Having them sit on living room furniture carefully holding their bowls while also trying to sip their drinks is a little too precarious.

Thankfully, there are options. Here are a few ways to have a dinner party without a formal dining area.

Take it outside

Weather permitting, setting up a table outside can create a relaxed casual eating experience.  If the weather is less than perfect you’ll need some cover. This is where a screened porch or sunroom can come in handy.

If you have a covered porch, sunroom, or screened porch it’s easier to plan an outdoor dinner party without worrying so much about the weather. A sunroom or screened porch can be turned into a dining area in a snap and a covered porch will protect your guests from sprinkles if the weather goes south on you.

Convert your living room

If the weather is too cold for an outdoor dinner, consider making your living room into a dining room for the evening.  If your living room is large enough you can move your living room furniture into a tight conversation friendly formation where guests can sit before dinner.

If you don’t have a large dining table, set up folding tables side by side. Add a lovely table cloth and you have a dining table. If possible, center the table under a light. That will give the room more of a dining room feel. If that’s not possible, hang twinkle lights above the table.

Serve couch-friendly food

If you can’t get all of your guests around a table, you can set up your furniture to make a conversation-friendly environment. Instead of all chair facing the TV, turn them to face each other. Make sure there are plenty of places for guests to place their drinks and serve food that is unlikely to spill. No spaghetti, no soups.

If you want to have a dinner party in a home with no dining room, there is a way. You just have to use creative use of the space you have. If you’re lucky enough to have a screened porch so you can enjoy a warm Texas evening with your friends, take advantage of it.  With fireflies providing a little of their own lighting all around, it’s a great way to spend an evening with friends. If you would like to add a sunroom or screened porch to your home, contact Sunspace Texas. We can help you have a lovely outdoor dining experience.

Having Fun in the Sun – Ideas to keep your kids cool and protected this summer

Having Fun in the Sun – Ideas to keep your kids cool and protected this summer

Kids need to play outside. There’s no doubt about it. Not only for their health but for your sanity. In Texas, we have a lot of sunshine. How can you protect your kids from the sun while they play outside?

Create a shady play area

A lot of new homes have trees, but they aren’t often big enough to provide shade. If that’s the case in your backyard, you can create a shady area. One lovely way to do that is with an arbor. If you don’t have plants that will fill in and cover the arbor anytime soon, an acrylic roof system may be perfect for you. It can be placed on an existing structure and while it lets a little light through, it will protect your child from the harshest rays.

Sunscreen and hats

If your child is going to be playing in direct sunlight for a while, sunscreen should be used to protect their skin. Hats can also be used to shade their faces. Don’t forget their eyes, though. Sunglasses are helpful if your child will be playing near bright or reflective surfaces.

Heat protection

Your child’s favorite shirt may be long sleeved, but during a Texas summer, they’ll have to dress appropriately for the heat or stay inside. Make sure you children stay well hydrated and don’t spend time in the sun without protection. Light clothing that breaths is the way to go. Instead of the usual cotton, lighter sportswear may keep your child cooler.

Another consideration when it comes to heat is footwear. Make sure your child has foot protection when they go to play at the pool. Concrete around pools can get dangerously hot during the summer so slip on shoes are good for use around the pool.

If your child will be playing sports over the summer, get shoes that breathe well. Keeping your child’s feet cool will make them more comfortable and help them perform better when they play.

Insect repellant

Summer is prime time for mosquitos. Keep your kids safe with insect repellant.  There are insect repellant/sunscreen combinations that can work on sunny days when the mosquitos are out in full force.

Chemical-free protection – Screened Porches

If you don’t want to have to layer your child with chemicals every time they want to go out, you can have your porch screened in. Your child will be protected from the sun and the bugs at the same time and without needing any chemicals on their skin.  This is especially good for kids with sensitive skin.

Texas is a wonderful place for families. The heat and sunshine make for a great place to swim and have fun in the sun. Keeping in mind a few sun safety basics will help your kids have a fun and safe summer. When you create a space for your kids to play outside in the shade, you’re protecting them from the harsh sun while still letting them have some creative outdoor play time.

Tips to Reduce Clutter in Your Home

Tips to Reduce Clutter in Your Home

If you’ve been in the same home for a while, you may notice that you’ve started running out of space for all of your things. Your house may be getting cluttered. Here are some tips that can help you get out from under the clutter. We’ll even cover what to do if you want to declutter without getting rid of anything.

Saying goodbye to clutter

If you have things you need to get rid of there are a couple of effective ways to do it without throwing anything away. No one likes being wasteful.

Have a garage sale.

Garage sales can help you get rid of extra things that still have some value. Advertise your sale on a local site like Craigslist to bring people in. Make sure you follow local regulations about signage. In Austin, for example, you’re only allowed to have signs for your sale on your property.

Donate to charity.

Even easier than a garage sale is donating to charity. There are charities, like the Texas Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America, that may pick up items from your doorstep. If you’ve got more clothes than your closet can hold, you might want to consider this option. They’ll often take electronics and kitchenware, too.

Sell some items online.

There are multiple websites that allow you to sell things online. Some of them are nationwide and others are local. Just remember to be safe if you agree to meet someone to sell something. Meeting in a public place is best.

Want to keep your stuff but don’t have room?

Reorganize. 

Have you ever played Tetris?  If you have your items organized correctly, they won’t take up as much space. Rearrange your closet and even your furniture to make more space.

Expand your living space.

If you have extra furniture that you don’t want to part with, you may need more living space. This is also the case if you have workout equipment in your bedroom that always seems to be in the way. To get more space you don’t have to move to another home. You can expand your living space by converting your porch into a sunroom or by having it screened in. If the items you want to put in your expanded living space are sensitive to moisture, you will be better off with a sunroom with WeatherMaster windows.

Not only will you have more space, but you’ll add value to your home. The more square footage of living space you have, the more homebuyers will be interested.

Decluttering your home will make it feel more spacious. If you expand your living space, it won’t just feel more spacious. If you feel like you have too much stuff for your house, you don’t have to find a new house, you just have to find a way to take advantage of the space in the house you have. Whether you sell your extra clutter, give it to charity, reorganize it, or expand your living space, you’ll be happy with the results.

A Valuable Addition to Your Home

A Valuable Addition to Your Home

If you’re looking to add square footage to the living space in your home you have a few options.  You could convert your garage, convert your attic, or convert your covered porch into a sunroom. The easiest of these three is the last one: convert your porch into a three-season sunroom. Not only is it affordable, it also adds beauty and value to your home.

A sunroom adds value to your home while also adding functionality and living space. Not only are they affordable, but they add to the value of your home. One benefit of a sunroom over a converted garage is a naturally lit living space. Garages can’t offer as much natural light as a sunroom.

Three-Season Functionality

Sunrooms are functional additions to your living space. For example, you can use a sunroom as a casual dining space lit with twinkle lights in the evening. Enjoy the relaxed setting of your sunroom while enjoying dinner with friends.

A sunroom can also make a nice peaceful office. With natural light and the calm tranquility of the outdoors all around you, you can focus on your work.  Everyone wants an office with a view, right?  Why not make one for yourself?

A sunroom can also be a workout room.  Instead of putting your exercise equipment in your living room or bedroom, you can move it all out to the sunroom.  Then you can have a real workout space. You can enjoy the Texas sunshine while you exercise without having to endure the Texas summer heat.

It’s good for kids to play outside, but mosquitos and high summer temperatures can take the fun out of playing outside. If you make your sunroom into an activity room for your kids, they can play in the sunshine with protection from disease-carrying mosquitos.

Sunrooms can also be a three-season guest room. With the added privacy provided by Sun-Shades, your guests can spend a comfortable night in their own space instead of an uncomfortable night on the living room couch.

If you live in central or south Texas, you might get more than three seasons of use out of your sunroom. With mild winters, you can use your sunroom all year. In fact, winter can have some of the nicest weather with temperatures often getting into the 60’s or low 70’s.

Sunrooms are a worthwhile investment for Texans. Enjoy the Texas sunshine without all of the Texas heat. It doesn’t have to be a DIY sunroom that you throw together with whatever you can find at the local hardware store. Trying to put one together yourself can take a lot of effort. There’s another option, though. You can get a professionally built custom sunroom at a reasonable price.

You can get hardworking professionals to arrive at your home on time and finish the job on schedule. Let’s face it, with DIY projects, sometimes even the person doing the DIY project doesn’t want to show up on time. That’s not a problem when you hire professionals.

Creating a Workspace in Your Screened Porch

Creating a Workspace in Your Screened PorchIf you work from home, occasionally working outdoors may sound like a pleasant change. However, it can be difficult with insects bothering you. If you have a screened porch and a laptop, you can move your work to an outdoor space as often as you like.

One advantage to working on your screened porch is that it gives you a place to work without interruptions from family or the lure of TV entertainment. If you have a porch that is not already screened in, this might be the best reason to consider converting it if you work from home.

Computers and Laptops

It is not hard to get a computer working with full internet access in a screened porch. Even without electrical outlets, a laptop can function without external power, but you will benefit from using a laptop with longer battery life. However, most porches on modern homes have outlets, so you can just plug in a power strip if you need to use more than two devices.

Many laptops have ports that allow you to connect them to larger monitor screens, which are easier on the eyes, and even allow you to add an external keyboard and mouse.

Keep in mind that a laptop or tablet is probably the better solution for a screened porch because you can take it back into your home after each use. That way your devices are easy to move and stay protected from the elements.

To get full internet access going for your screened porch, you will need a wireless router and – if your computer doesn’t already have one – a wireless adapter. Nearly all laptops come with wireless adapters built in, but if yours does not, you can get an adapter that plugs right into it.

Most wireless signals can travel through walls just fine, but if your router is too far away (it could be several rooms away from your porch for example) you have a few options. The simplest solution is to move the router closer to your porch. But if that is not an option you can purchase a wireless booster, repeater or extender, all of which can extend the signal range of your router. Some routers have stronger signals than others, so if you are using an older router, it might be time to try out a newer one.

Desk

Many people prefer to use outdoor furniture in a screened porch because that room will be exposed to the elements. What’s the best option?

You can use comfortable outdoor furniture like a table with chairs. On a screened porch, you can get comfortable outdoor furniture that will last a long time because it won’t be exposed to the harshest of outdoor weather. The furniture also stays cleaner. This is a great solution for people who want to use their screened porches for multiple purposes. You can use the table as a workspace and then as a dining table.

 Sunspace Texas

Sunspace Texas can help you convert your porch into a professionally done screened porch, or even upgrade it into a sunroom.

A Peaceful Place to Study

A Peaceful Place to Study

Do you need a place to unwind and read or do your kids need a quiet place to study? The great thing about using a sunroom as a study is the use of natural lighting.  Natural lighting will brighten up your study and is better for your eyes than artificial lighting. And a sunroom will protect you from the elements so you can use it all year long without wind or rain causing any problems.

Furniture

One advantage of a sunroom over a screened porch is that you have more furniture and decorating options. A bench in the corner of your sunroom can become a perfect reading nook if you add some comfortable pillows.

A dining table is a good option for kids to do their homework. It’s attractive and you don’t have to have multiple desks in the room if you have more than one child working in the room at a time. That’s also a good idea if you want to use your sunroom as more than just a study. It could go from reading room to dining room in a flash.

Smaller children can use a coffee table as a creative workspace. Make sure to provide good seating so your child can focus on their work and not have to constantly shift around to get comfortable. Small children are easily distracted so a quiet comfortable room is a great way to help them focus when they need to do a little drawing or homework.

Electronics

In today’s world, kids in need of a sunlit space to read or do their homework will often need internet access and a computer device of some kind. Tablets and laptops are probably the best options for a computer device. If you want to keep it simple, a larger tablet or laptop might actually be a plus since they have larger screens and, in the case of laptops, larger keyboards that are easier on the hands.

What about internet access?  If your wireless connection turns out to be unreliable in your sunroom, you can improve its performance with an easy to install wireless extender device.

Reduce distractions

You may find that all this technology is a distraction for your kids since they can use their computer to watch television shows and listen to music. But browser plugins exist that block these services, which will reduce the temptation to be distracted. This is especially helpful to kids that need to finish their homework.

You can also use custom made Sun-Shades if the Texas sunshine is a little too bright.

Your children and do their homework in peace in your sunroom without the distraction of the TV and with lots of natural light.

Sunrooms aren’t just a place to sit and look at the birds. They are versatile spaces that extend your home. You can use a sunroom as a study, office, dining room, living room, home gym, playroom, and more. If you need to extend your living space, consider turning your existing porch into a sunroom.

Make Your Outdoor Space Rise to the Challenge

Make Your Outdoor Space Rise to the Challenge

42 AT HOME MAGAZINE – 2017 ISSUE

{Lawn & Garden}

Make Your Outdoor Space Rise to the Challenge

by Sunspace of Texas

What is your New Year’s resolution? Work out more, read more, kick a bad habit? We all attempt to re-vamp and revitalize ourselves in the New Year. Sometimes changing your environment and ritualistic behavior can help.

Consider your outdoor space. Do you use it? Or, does it remain just a backyard that needs to be mowed and minimally maintained. The reality is, most of us are too busy to be master gardeners, pool maintainers, or porch cleaners. With work, kids, or life changes, time is of the essence and there is not the priority to tend to the outdoor spaces.

While these arguments are valid, let’s consider what a lot of us do when vacationing or relaxing. What is the draw to go to the beach, ski resort, golf course? Being outdoors of course! Playing or relaxing in the great outdoors allows us to unwind, increase endorphins and feel better. Most of us are less stressed and renewed when it’s time to return home after we’ve been revitalized by the outdoors.

I challenge you to bring some of the elements you enjoy when you travel to your own backyard. Whether you create a beautiful landscape, pool, outdoor kitchen or porch renovation, you can gain appreciation of your space and find happiness in your own backyard!

Some of us only go outside during the week when we go to and from work. If you had a great outdoor space, you might be inclined to catch an hour at the end of the day to unwind. Maybe go for a swim, putt balls, or even set up a treadmill on your porch and run on inclement days. Grilling dinner and eating with your family or reading a great book outside can do wonders.

Take into consideration what kind of investment you would like to make. You can go big and revamp your whole space, or start small and add different elements as you go. Sticker shock can be a deterrent. Some believe that spending money on their outdoor space isn’t justified. But, a well-designed, functional out door space can increase value to the home and help sell it. Enclosing your porch increases the functional square footage as well. Plus, you can potentially save some money by enjoying your space over traveling to find something palatable.

One of the great things about our community is there are some excellent landscape architects, pool companies and outdoor construction companies that will help you achieve what you want. Equally as important there are companies that will come and service your space so you don’t have to stress about it. The goal is to create a refuge, not an additional stressor of one more thing to manage.

So let the outdoor challenge begin this year. Transform your outdoor space into something you’ve always dreamed of. Enclose your porch, build a pool, outdoor kitchen, or whatever works for you!

Keeping Yourself and Your Pet Cool This Summer

Keeping Yourself and Your Pet Cool This SummerTexas has amazing weather. However, it can be rough on some pets to stay outdoors all the time. Sometimes, they need to be inside to keep cool on scorching hot days. There are also ways to create spaces where your pet can stay in the shade while they play outside. Here are some ideas that can get you started.

Dog Houses

While having a covered pin or dog house could work, they don’t really allow for you to be outside with your pet with both of you in the shade. What fun is it for your pet to play outside without you?  So, dog houses can provide some shelter, but a shady place for both of you would be better

An Acrylic Roof System

Acrylic patio covers are a great way to create a little relief from the sun for you and your pet in your backyard. They can go one many types of structures.  They also protect from UV light. They keep the heat out but let a little light shine through. They’re a good option if you want your pet to get a chance to be out in the open air without having to worry about too much sunlight. Some pets can get sunburn on sunny summer days here in Texas.

Sunrooms

You could go a step further and have a screened in porch or a sunroom for you can your pet to enjoy. That way there’s still fresh air, but not so much heat or sunlight. One advantage to a screened porch or sunroom is that they also keep out disease-carrying insects that can cause problems for your pet. Also, it’s a space that is indoors but has pleasant outdoor characteristics. If you have company over that is allergic to your pet, you can keep your pet safely in the cool sunroom.

Then you have an area where you and your pet can enjoy the sunshine without all of the UV rays and heat.

Having Sun-Shades installed in your sunroom can also be a big help. They go a step farther in protecting you and your pet from harsh sunlight. You can have them custom made to fit your sunroom. With help from Sun-Shades, your sunroom can stay a little cooler all summer.

By installing an acrylic patio cover, screen porch, or sunroom we can create outdoor spaces that we can enjoy with our pets on even the harshest of days. Sunrooms have the advantage of being sunny and warm even on cold winter days. Your pet can lay in the sun and get warm or get cooled off in the shade. Sunrooms are very versatile and pet-friendly.

They aren’t just for pets

Sunrooms are also people friendly.  You can sit on comfortable furniture protected from the elements and enjoy time with your pet. Sunrooms allow for you to use indoor furniture while screened patios and patios covered by acrylic roofs will also protect outdoor furniture from UV and damaging weather. This allows you to put more comfortable furniture in your outdoor space to make it even more pleasant for you and your pet.