Aging Sunrooms: Should you replace or repair them?

Are you considering replacing or repairing your sunroom? This article will help you decide.

A sunroom is a popular home addition for many reasons: it’s an excellent way to increase living space, they provide natural light and fresh air, they can be used year-round, and they’re green because the roof provides insulation.

But there are also some disadvantages of having a sunroom. For example, if not properly maintained the roof may leak in heavy rains or snowstorms; windows must be replaced when broken; caulking around windows can crack and need replacement over time; paint on walls often fades with exposure to sunlight. These are just some examples of problems that arise when owning a sunroom. So what should you do? Do you repair the sunroom or fully replace it?

Should you repair or replace your sunroom after water damage?

If you have minor water damage, it’s something that can be repaired when caught early. Over the years, we’ve had several parts of the home damaged by water from overflowing toilets, breaks in washer lines and other small issues.

The key is to catch the issue early so that you can fully dry the area before any mold or mildew develops. This is an excellent way to ensure you spend less money on repairs.

On the other large water leaks may be a good sign to replace the entire room. When I still lived in an apartment, my upstairs neighbor did a load of laundry and left for work. There was an issue with his washing mashine that led to a flood in his entire apartment.

Because he was gone to work, the water just kept flowing until it flooded his apartment. The issue was finally discovered when the water absorbed through the floor and started leaking through my ceiling.

First there were large wet spots tht I didn’t notice. Next there were some drops that came that I wasn’t really paying attention to as I was using my computer with headphones, and then the water started streaming through the various wet spots in the ceiling.

I immediately freaked out and called the emergency maintenance line for the apartment. They sent someone over to investigate my apartment first, and when they saw the issue ran upstairs to discover that my neighbors appartment was totally flooded with standing water.

Their carpet was ruined. They had to fix the cabinets and, they also did work on the walls. For my apartment, I had been collecting most of the water in trashcans and boxes that I had lined with trash bags because that was all I had.

This level of water damage is borderline between a repair and replace in my opinion. Done correcrtly, repairing all the damage will be less expensive than replacing; however, if it is not fully dried the damp wood could be sealed inside the walls leading to a mold outbreak that would be far, far more expensive in the longrun.

One of our friends had a sunroom that had water damage. They didn’t notice because the it was behind a large couch; however, when they moved it they horrified to find a big patch of mold that was black in color. They never tested to see if it was the dangerous black mold or mold that just appeared that color.

After discussing it, they decided the best course of action was to demolish the entire sunroom. The left their back patio an open concrete slab for several years before deciding to add a sunroom back, and they chose to go with a sunroom kit.

One of the advantages of replacing is that you don’t need to take on all the cost at once. You can demolish now and replace it at a later date.

Should you repair or replace your sunroom after fire damage?

Repairing an area with fire damage is a great DIY project if you are handy. My father would often buy fire damaged homes, fix the areas, and then either sell them or use them as rentals.

Small areas damaged by fire aren’t too difficult to repair, and the repairs will be between $3000 and $5000 (Source)

You will want to make sure you address the underlying cause of the fire. Check the wiring, and replace the areas of the room that show signs of the fire.

Also, smoke is something that you’ll want to consider. It can be washed from walls and carpets, but it’s just one item that must be resolved after a fire.

When you are choosing between repair or replacement, keep in mind that if the fire damage is extensive enough it might be cheaper to replace the room.

In many cases, fires will be covered by your home insurance policy so we recommend taking many pictures before you making any changes. The insurance company may prefer the sunroom to be replaced rather than simply repaired if there is concern of longlasting damage to either the roof or the structural floor below.

This is really going to be upto your insurance company and what they’ll cover. While on this topic, it’s a great reminder that any addition to your home needs to be properly permitted.

We’ve heard reports that insurance companies may deny claims for unauthorized additions to homes. This is just something that every homeowner needs to be aware of, and it’s best to learn this before a fire occurs.

Should you repair or replace your sunroom with sturctural damage?

Structural damage isn’t something to take lightly. It may not even be safe to be in the room to evaluate the overall situation. Whether the structural damage was caused by water, fire wind, earthquakes or erosion, it often requires the services of a structural engineer to determine whether the sunroom is safe for use.

If you are unable to have an engineer look at it without being in danger, then you’ll may need to replace the entire room. These issues are large enough that you’ll want to engage your insurance company for a claim, and they should be able to provide guidance.

Our main suggestion is just to take a lot of pictures to document the state of the sunroom. Rooms that are not structurally sound may change over time. Just because you go to bed with the walls and roof in a certain state, doesn’t mean you’ll wake up with them in the same place.

While taking pictures or videso, make sure you do so from a safe location. These pictures may need to be done from outisde or with the help of an extender pole for your camera. Remember a selfie stick can be used with the camera facing the other way to take pictures from a safe distance.

Should you repair or replace your sunroom with a warped frame?

The underlying frame of the walls is important for the shape of the wall. Because there are so many windows in a sunroom, a warp in the wall can lead to the windows and doors not sealing fully and correctly.

In most cases, warping in the walls of a sunroom will fall under the repair category. That being said though, this isn’t something we believe to be an easy DIY repair. If your wall shows signs of warping, we’d recommend contacting a general contractor or a licensed construction professional for advice on your specific sunroom.

Are replacement parts available for your sunroom from a kit?

We really like sunroom kits for many homeowners. They are normally less expensive to add. They are manufacturered in factories so there’s an implicit level of quality that won’t be guaranteed when doing a scratch build sunroom.

One of the major drawbacks though is that the manufacturer may not offer replacements parts for ever. If your model is discontinued, you may be unable to repair elements in the room.

In some cases, you can get the parts from a secondary market. Alternatively, you may also be able to find a suitable part that will serve as a close replacement. Thsi is not always the case though, and sometimes rebuilding will be the best option.

My aunt owned a mobile home, and the bedroom floor rotted out. She contacted the manufacturer and multiple contractors, and in the end she decided the best course of action was to totally rebuild the floor of the trailer on that side from scratch.

The mobile home would no longer be mobile, but it simply wasn’t an option to repair the floor in a room that could be gauranteed structurally sound. Furthermore, moving the trailer at all would likely cause it to collapse because there simply wasn’t anything providing support on the back end of trailer.

When the trailer was setup, it was underpinned and that spread the load out over the entire mobile home. If the underpinning were removed, multiple professionals told her they were afraid the back end of the mobile home would simply snap due to the weight.

She also spoke with a moving company that confirmed that her mobile home wouldn’t meet the criteria of one the’d consider moving.

This is a case that part of the mobile home was replaced rather than repaired, and I think a similar conversation could be held for a sunroom from a kit.

Wrapping up

When it comes to making the decision whether or not to repair, replace, or remodel your sunroom, there are a lot of factors that play into this big-ticket purchase.

One thing you should consider is how homeowners decide between these choices in order to make an informed decision. If you’re struggling with deciding what’s best for your home and need help weighing out all the options before committing any money (or time), we recommend reading our full guide on Sunrooms. You’ll find everything from cost estimations to tips on preserving historic features when upgrading!

Last Updated:December 02, 2023