One of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors, without enduring the elements is with a sunroom. It’s even easier to enjoy the sun and breeze when your sunroom is as comfortable as possible. Now imagine you’ve crawled out of bed, you’re clutching your mug of coffee, and you step into your sunroom. The sun has warmed up the floor, so you’re not hopping around, feet freezing cold. You are comfortable, warm, and at peace. My goal is to help you find the right floor for your space, and make it look good at the same time.
First of all, what is a sunroom? Is it the same as a three-season room? Or an enclosed porch? Let’s figure it out together.
Sunroom: An exterior room built with a lot of windows, and sometimes even skylights, or windows in the ceiling. These rooms are well insulated and sealed from the elements. Most sunrooms also have doors or access to the outside.
3-Season room: An unheated sunroom, that is less insulated but still sealed from the elements. 3-season rooms are usually additions, and therefore do not have the same heating and cooling systems that a sunroom does. You will typically see ceiling fans in 3-season rooms.
Enclosed porch: A porch that is covered on all sides (enclosed). These rooms are meant to be enjoyed spring through fall, where you can catch the sun and the breeze. Enclosed porches will keep the bugs out, but will not protect from cold, heavy snow or heavy rain. They cannot be heated or cooled, so sometimes they feature ceiling fans as well.
A general rule of thumb is; the more insulation in a room, the more flooring options you have
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s find out what flooring is best for you!
Good for: Sunrooms and some 3-season rooms.
Sun fading resistance: Can fade, but many lines have incredible UV top coatings, including RevWood Plus. RevWood even has a fade resistance warranty.
Scratch resistance: Very scratch resistant. Modern laminate has a tough wear layer on top, and many have pet scratch warranties.
Water/moisture resistance: Lots of brands say that their laminate is water resistant and some are even steam mop rated, but no laminate is completely waterproof. You couldn’t let laminate get rained on repeatedly. And because it is am MDF and paper/wood product, you risk swelling with thick humidity.
Watch out for: Humidity and rain. Know your area, if you get sticky summers and very wet autumns, consider a different product for your 3-season room.
Benefits: Laminate has gotten really good at imitating hardwood with its feel and look. Laminate is also much warmer than tile or vinyl plank.
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
Good for: Sunrooms, 3-season rooms, and enclosed porches.
Sun fading resistance: Almost all vinyl plank has a strong UV top coating, but it is always important to check the manufacturers ratings.
Scratch resistance: many have a hard scratch resistant layer, but you need to be careful because it is a plastic product. Always use felt pads of the bottom of furniture to prevent scratches and dents.
Water/moisture resistance: Vinyl plank is completely waterproof. Because it is made of a plastic material, you can leave this out in the rain and it will not absorb it. It does swell and contract slightly with heat and humidity. You could put this on any of the sunroom variations.
Watch out for: Heavy furniture, as vinyl plank may be easier to dent in the sun. Always use felt pads, and change them every six months.
Benefits: This is one of the most popular flooring choices right now, so the style and colour options are endless. Plus vinyl plank can be installed in all three of these spaces.
Good for: Sunrooms and well sealed 3-season rooms.
Sun fading resistance: Hardwood can fade in heavy sunlight, but if you choose a lighter colour, you are less likely to notice a change.
Scratch resistance: Because engineered hardwood does have a layer of solid wood on top, it is susceptible to the same scratches and dents that solid hardwood is. You are able to refinish engineered hardwood, but only a couple of times. Hardwood is still a crowd favourite, because of how it feels and looks.
Water/moisture resistance: Engineered hardwood is not water proof, because of its natural construction. This also means that it expands and contracts with humidity. Next Floor has a wonderful product called Ship Shape, an engineered hardwood with a vinyl core. Ship Shape is a floating floor and can be installed anywhere. This gives you the look and feel of hardwood, witht the durability of vinyl.
Watch out for: Furniture without felt pads, and moisture.
Benefits: Engineered hardwood is warm under foot, and is a timeless addition to any home
Good for: Sunrooms, and 3-season rooms
Sun fading resistance: Carpet tiles are still carpet and can fade, but the fade resistance has certainly come a long way. They may fade in direct sunlight, but lighter colours will be less affected. If you have your sunroom in a shadier area, then these would be perfect.
Scratch resistance: Carpet doesn’t scratch.
Water/moisture resistance: Carpet tiles are not waterproof at all, but with enough ventilation, a bit of rain can dry up.
Watch out for: extreme rain or snow, and vacuum beater bars.
Benefits: Carpet is very soft and warm underfoot, and it is super simple to replace a single carpet tile at a time if you need to.
Ceramic or Stone Tile
Good for: Sunrooms, and 3-season rooms in mellow climates.
Sun fading resistance: Ceramic tile and stone will not fade in the sun.
Scratch resistance: Ceramic and stone tile is extremely durable and resistant to scratches and scuffs.
Water/moisture resistance: Tile is completely waterproof when properly grouted.
Watch out for: Extreme shifts on temperature, as tiles can crack in those situations. Watch out also for the chill of the floor if you do not install heating under your tile.
Benefits: Replacing a single tile is easy if one cracks, muddy footprints don’t stain, and you are very unlikely to scuff it up with furniture.
So weather you have a luxury sunroom with skylights and hardwood floors, or a cozy and rustic enclosed porch, I hope that I’ve given you some insight into what to look at first.
As always, we carry all of these products in store, and we would love to help you out. Visit us instore or shoot us an email!