Sunrooms across the US are categorized into 5 categories. AAMA published these in their AAMA/NPEA/NSA 2100-12 publication which made its way into the Florida & International Building Codes. FBC (17, 20) lists this in Chapter 20 section 2002.6 directly siting the AAMA/NPEA/NSA 2100 spec. IBC 2015/2018 References AAMA 2100 in IRC Chapter 44
Please refer to the above links for the full text which is summarized below.
Category I: Open or Screened sunroom/patio or 29 mil max plastic film. It is NON-Habitable and not air conditioned or heated. Must meet wind, desd, snow, live, seismic, and load combinations, L/60 deflection (L/120 for sandwich panels) (AAMA 2100 chapter 6).
Category II: Sunroom with enclosed walls, plastic or glass. (difference between I and II is use of glass or thicker plastic. All other criteria is the same, also NON-Habitable and not air conditioned or heated. Follows AAMA 2100 chapter 5 and 6).
Category III: Same as II but fenestration shall comply with air infiltration and water resistance. (Opinion: difference being it is better isolated from the elements for protection of items in the sunroom but not to protect the main residence).
Category IV: This category can be heated or cooled by a separate temperature control system and shall be isolated from the main structure. Also NON-habitable. (Similar to III but it IS heated or cooled).
THERE ARE NO CONDITIONS THAT PERMIT SUNROOMS FROM BEING HABITABLE STRUCTURES AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL THE OPENINGS TO THE PRIMARY RESIDENCE BE REMOVED.
In this case, the sunroom is considered Category V: A sunroom with enclosed walls. The sunroom is designed to be heated or cooled and is open to the main structure. The sunroom fenestration complies with additional requirements for water penetration resistance, air infiltration resistance and thermal performance. The space is habitable and conditioned.
IF OPENINGS ARE REMOVED THEN IT IS NOT A SUNROOM BUT AN ADDITION TO THE MAIN RESIDENCE AND ALL CONDITIONS THEREOF SHALL BE MET WHICH TYPICALLY DO NOT COMPRISE SUNROOM MATERIAL FOR THE SAFETY OF RESIDENTS.
In large missile windborne debris regions, FBC 2017 & 2020 require that the openings to the main residence be fitted with an approved large missile impact protection system or impact glazing: Rule about protecting openings FBC 2020 1609.1.2
Openings in sunrooms, balconies or enclosed porches constructed under existing roofs or decks are not required to be protected provided the spaces are separated from the building interior by a wall and all openings in the separating wall are protected in accordance with Section 1609.1.2 above.
Both the IBC (2015, 2018) and FBC (2017, 2020) define sunrooms as follows:
1. A one-story structure attached to a building with a glazing area in excess of 40 percent of the gross area of the structure’s exterior walls and roof.
2. A one-story structure added to a dwelling with solid roof panels without sloped glazing. The sunroom walls may have any configuration, provided the open areas consisting of operable or fixed glass or windows or side hinged or sliding glass doors of the longer wall and one additional wall is equal to at least 65 percent of the area below 6 foot 8 inches (2032 mm) of each wall, measured from the floor. For the purposes of this code the
term sunroom as used herein shall include conservatories, sunspaces, solariums, and porch or patio covers or enclosures.
Engineering Express provides numerous sunroom designs that comply with AAMA 2100 for use across the US. Click Here to see them in our online plan store and order certified copies for permit.
We can also help manufacturers and contractors with creating site-specific designs for these sunrooms and have numerous online calculators to help in estimating and pre-design. Contact Us to discuss your needs.
Last Update: June 8, 2021