Ideas for Flooring in Sunrooms

Sunroom with tile floorWith a three season sunroom, it can be awkward trying to figure out what kind of flooring works best – you need to consider what the room is going to be used for, whether the room is heated or not, and whether there will be traffic through the room from the outdoors. There are a variety of options available for flooring in sunrooms, so it is a decision that should be made carefully and with due consideration.

What Kinds of Flooring Can Be Used?

Ultimately, there are no limits to the variety of flooring options for a sunroom. Anything from ceramic tile to carpeting can be done, it’s really just a question of whether it should be done, considering the room’s use.

The most popular flooring for sunrooms tends to be ceramic tile and hardwood, and often these are supplemented by area rugs to help with keeping the floors slightly warm. Other options might be laminate, permastone, carpeting, concrete, and vinyl.

Installing Ceramic Tile & Radiant Heating

When installing ceramic tile in your sunroom, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have two layers of T&G plywood underneath – this will support the flooring and prevent your tiles from cracking over time and under pressure. For that matter, ceramic tile may not be the first flooring option of choice when it comes to unheated sunrooms.

Without a foundation to prevent heat from escaping, the ceramic will be subject to severe temperature changes in the weather – so you will probably want to consider supplementary floor heating.

Radiant heating in sunrooms is certainly an option, and often this is considered when the sunroom is simply built on top of a concrete slab. Homeowners want to lay the radiant heat source overtop the concrete and then lay down tile – however, you are going to need to raise the radiant heat source off the concrete first! Otherwise, the energy will be mostly directed into heating the concrete, which is definitely not what you want.

Instead, first lay down a layer of high-quality reflective insulation onto the concrete, then install the radiant source – or even something like a cork mat should do the trick. Either way, you simply don’t want to create a space that becomes an energy sink instead of an energy saver, like most sunrooms tend to be.

Installing Sunroom Flooring Near a Hot Tub

If your sunroom either contains your hot tub or is near the hot tub, you’ll want to choose a type of flooring that can withstand repeated encounters with moisture. Often, laminate is chosen to do this job, but permastone is a better option. As opposed to laminate which might begin to wear after getting wet often, permastone has the same look and texture as laminate, but is simply glued right onto the ground or your base floor.

Other Flooring Considerations

First, if your sunroom is accessible through the outdoors, there is one rule: don’t use carpet. It will get muddy and stained easily, and you’ll probably find that you have to replace parts of the carpet in a few years – not something most people enjoy when they thought their sunroom renovations were complete. Instead, if you want something warmer and softer, cork flooring provides a nice, soft texture with less potential for destruction.

If you’re considering cork, there is one test you should do first: choose the color and brand you want, and place it somewhere in direct sunlight for a week or so. Block the light to about half the tile. When the week is up, look at the tile and check for fading – if you can see a difference between the side that got sunlight and the side that didn’t, it’s time to look for another brand.

photo by sean mason / CreativeCommons