Both patios and sunrooms can serve the same purpose. Photo Credit: Barbara L. Slavin
The short answer is: Not really. That is, it depends on who you're speaking with. Patio rooms, solariums, patio enclosures, even screened-in porches all fall under the more general nomenclature of sunrooms. If anything, a patio room may refer to a shelter built over an existing patio, as opposed to that built over a deck or a completely new structure.
Regardless of any small difference in application, both a patio room and a sunroom fulfill the same purpose: to provide all-weather access to the outdoors. Both may be full glass or partial glass enclosures, as well as three or four season rooms -- a four season room being climate controlled to allow uninterrupted use year round.
A full glass patio room's walls will be virtually all glass, while a partial will have knee walls, extending upward two to three feet at the base of the windows. This is more a point of personal taste as both designs will allow plenty of sunlight into the room. Both sunrooms and patio rooms typically have conventionally framed roofs, although in some cases glass roofs are possible.
Sunrooms may come in kits for avid do-it-yourselfers. These are nearly always three-season rooms because much more time and care must be taken to create a year-round environment. Common materials include wood, aluminum, and vinyl (PVC). For more information on types of sunrooms and sunroom materials, check into our Calfinder Remodeling Library.
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