Author Topic: What would you do with a leaky, poorly insulated sunroom?  (Read 1439 times)

jpeizie

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What would you do with a leaky, poorly insulated sunroom?
« on: September 27, 2017, 06:09:37 AM »
We bought our house about a year ago with a nice sunroom off the back. For about 3 seasons a year, it is great. But it turns out this room was installed with barely any insulation at all. Last winter, we put those clear plastic window insulator kits over the windows, but the double-wide doorway between the sun room and the rest of the house was still just a cool breeze constantly blowing into our house, making it chilly in the main part of the house and causing our heat to run all the time. When they added this room to the house, they also removed the doors from that double-wide doorway that had formerly been the back door to the house. We ended up stringing a thick blanket over that double wide doorway at night to prevent the worst of the cold air from coming in, but during the day we like to use that room, so all the cold air comes in anyway. Not to mention stringing a blanket across your doorway is kind of janky.

On top of all that, the seal between the sun room's roof and the rest of the house is not great, meaning we get water leaking into the sunroom during rainstorms if the wind is blowing from a particular direction. We've had a couple roofing companies come out to look at it, and they all say things like they "think" they can do something that will "probably" help fix the problem, but seal issues on old brick are "difficult," so I'm not filled with confidence. They want to charge about $1000-$1500 to try to fix the leaks.

Now, we really like this room. It is a great family room, and a great place for the kids to play. So ideally, we want this room to be comfortable year round, and not leaky. And we would like to stop throwing money at our heating bill in winter.

What would you mustachians do?

Linea_Norway

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Re: What would you do with a leaky, poorly insulated sunroom?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2017, 06:48:30 AM »
These sun rooms are meant to be used as a buffer between your house and the outside, to give your house better insulation. It is nice to you in the sunny season when it is still too cold to sit outside. But you are not supposed to warm it up and use it as a room of your house in the winter. Many people use it in the winter and heat it and pay a lot for the heat in the badly insulated sun room.

But if I understand correctly, your main problem is cold air being blown in into your house through the closed doors towards the sun room? That door must be repaired to be closed, as doors should not leak air. I have no technical knowledge of how to do that, but there are strips of foam that one can put between a door and it's frame.

Goldielocks

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Re: What would you do with a leaky, poorly insulated sunroom?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2017, 09:47:02 AM »
I would just install french (or sliding) doors between the sun room and the home.  Maybe the original owner just never finished the project?

As you described, you would need to tear off the sun room and rebuild it as a 4 season space.   The floor is also likely not insulated, BTW, and it may be sloped away from the home like a deck.   Instead, put in a set of doors, and then a small personal space heater (radiant) directed at you when you use it for your 1 hour per day....  radiant heater won't heat the air (or the space) but will heat you.

Use a flashing over the seam where it connects the sun room roof to the home.  The challenge is that you may not want or be able to get the upper edge of the flashing under your home's siding, which is what is actually needed...

jpeizie

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Re: What would you do with a leaky, poorly insulated sunroom?
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2017, 01:28:17 PM »

As you described, you would need to tear off the sun room and rebuild it as a 4 season space.   

Well, that is kind of what we were thinking/fearing, but we aren't very well versed in all the options out there and thought maaaaybe there's some way to retrofit it to make it more habitable in winter. Has anyone ever attempted something like that, or are we really only limited to the two options: 1) tear down the room and rebuild as a 4 season, or 2) install doors back into the doorway and just close that room off for most of the winter.

If we're limited to those two, then installing the door is the most realistic... does anyone have any particular suggestions for that? We're not super handy so our most likely course of action would be to go to Home Depot and ask the guy there.

Papa bear

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Re: What would you do with a leaky, poorly insulated sunroom?
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2017, 02:26:49 PM »
Install a door between the sun room and house, preferably exterior doors.

To fix the leaks, you need to do the flashing correctly.  Getting it on brick is more than just caulking the flashing up there.  You should chisel out (or saw cut) a channel in the brick and mortar for the flashing to fold into. Then you can caulk that.


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Goldielocks

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Re: What would you do with a leaky, poorly insulated sunroom?
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2017, 03:09:19 PM »

As you described, you would need to tear off the sun room and rebuild it as a 4 season space.   

Well, that is kind of what we were thinking/fearing, but we aren't very well versed in all the options out there and thought maaaaybe there's some way to retrofit it to make it more habitable in winter. Has anyone ever attempted something like that, or are we really only limited to the two options: 1) tear down the room and rebuild as a 4 season, or 2) install doors back into the doorway and just close that room off for most of the winter.

"habitable" -- depends on the use.  As a bedroom, no.  As a room to play video games or watch tv for 6 hours in the evening, no.  As a day room to read the paper, eat lunch and drink coffee?  Gym?  Very likely yes.   

During the day, the room will be warmer, perhaps catch sun, and is ok to be slightly cool for this type of shorter term activity.   Using a radiant heater may be sufficient.  Many, many people do this in their 3-season room.

BigHaus89

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Re: What would you do with a leaky, poorly insulated sunroom?
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 05:21:25 PM »
I would just install french (or sliding) doors between the sun room and the home.  Maybe the original owner just never finished the project?

As you described, you would need to tear off the sun room and rebuild it as a 4 season space.   The floor is also likely not insulated, BTW, and it may be sloped away from the home like a deck.   Instead, put in a set of doors, and then a small personal space heater (radiant) directed at you when you use it for your 1 hour per day....  radiant heater won't heat the air (or the space) but will heat you.

Use a flashing over the seam where it connects the sun room roof to the home.  The challenge is that you may not want or be able to get the upper edge of the flashing under your home's siding, which is what is actually needed...

+1 to this. Also, don't be afraid to arm yourself with a caulking gun and seal up and potential cracks around windows, doors and walls.

jpeizie

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Re: What would you do with a leaky, poorly insulated sunroom?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2017, 09:52:58 AM »
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your responses. Sounds like there's not a very good way to retrofit some insulation into that room, and we should probably look at installing doors.

Any thoughts/tips on plugging the leaks? Is it DIY'able for someone who isn't particularly handy?