A common question in the flooring industry is: What floors are best for covered porches and sunrooms? Before making recommendations, flooring experts need to know:
- Is the covered porch fully enclosed? If so, is it enclosed with glass, vinyl/clear plastic or screens?
- Is it possible for the porch to get wet (rain, etc.)?
- Is the room climate controlled (heating, ventilation, air conditioning)?
- Is the porch/sunroom built on a cement slab or elevated (constructed from wood: pressure treated lumber, cedar, redwood, etc.)
- How much direct sunlight does it get in the afternoon?
The answers to these questions determine the type of flooring that is best. The more insulated your room is, the more flooring options you have. However, hardwood flooring is not recommended for covered porches or sunrooms. Even gentle exposure to the elements changes the recommended options for your floor.
If a porch or sunroom is not climate controlled and/or can get wet, the choices are limited. In this case, it is considered an exterior space, and you need a floor that can handle the elements. Porcelain or stone tile, outdoor carpet (installed or rugs) or composite decking is recommended. (If your porch is enclosed with panels that you can remove, it should still be treated as an exterior space.)
If your porch is glass-enclosed and climate controlled, LVP/LVT (luxury vinyl plank or tile) and laminates are possibilities. Temperature and humidity extremes, and amount of direct sunlight, will determine if these floors are an option. When in doubt, consult a flooring expert.
Flooring Type Pros and Cons
- Outdoor carpets and rugs are inexpensive, cozy and warm during winter. They are recommended for porches that are not climate controlled or protected from the elements. Their cost is low, but they typically need to be replaced every three to five years.
- Porcelain tile and stone are extremely durable and easy to clean. There are numerous color, size and texture choices. This type of flooring will not expand, contract or warp, and is recommended for porches that are not climate controlled or protected from the elements. Tile and stone feel warmer in the winter underfoot, and cooler in the summer. Professional installation is expensive, but DIY installation costs less. An elevated porch may not be sturdy enough to support the weight of tile and backer board.
- Vinyl products (LVP/LVT) feature numerous wood and tile visuals. They can fade in intense sunlight and melt when exposed to high surface temperatures. However, some styles are warranted for sunroom applications. If your porch is sloped or uneven, glue-down products are recommended. Cost is moderate.
- Laminates boast realistic wood looks, and they will not fade in direct sunlight. However, they do not tolerate humidity and temperature extremes. Cost is moderate.
- Wood and composite decking is made for exterior applications. Composite decking is an amalgam of ground-up wood and plastic formed into planks — it doesn’t ever need to be sealed, stained or painted. Natural wood may need to be re-stained as often as every two years and resealed as frequently as once per year. Cost is high.
Tip: Before purchasing, always read the manufacturer’s installation instructions and warranty for all products you are considering for your covered porch or sunroom.
– Elisabeth Stubbs is one of the owners of Enhance Floors & More, one of Atlanta’s top-rated flooring dealers, located in Marietta.
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