The right windows are the key to an amazing sunroom. And when you plan a sunroom, you can expect to use quite a few windows, perhaps 20 or more. That means that you need to carefully chose the right style, material, and price point to keep within your budget.

Before you head on down to the showroom and look at the hundreds of options, there are a few big questions you can think about that will make the selection process easier.

How efficient do you want to go?

Most modern windows are double-paned and range from $700-$1000 each. These windows have a low-emissivity coating that helps block heat from entering in the summer and escaping in the winter. But you can even get more efficient windows.

Triple-paned windows are filled with argon gas for more insulation, but they can cost as much as $500 more per window.

How should they open?

One of the great things about a sun room is to enjoy the fresh air on nice days. How your windows operate will determine how easy it will be to let that fresh air flow.

There are the five basic window types:

  • Fixed windows ($250 to $750 each) don’t open, and are typically used in solarium-style sunrooms (where the walls are made entirely of glass) or high up the wall in standard sunrooms, where you can’t reach them anyway.
  • Slider windows ($500 to $750) consist of two sash (framed panes) that move side to side, one in front of the other.
  • Casement windows ($250 to $500) are hinged on one side and open out when you turn a hand crank. That means you’re able to open the entire window, unlike sliders and double-hungs, which can only be half open. Still, when opened, casements can obstruct the yard—and the crank systems on lower-end units tend to break after a few years, says Annapolis, Md., home inspector Jim Rooney.
  • Awning windows ($250 to $500) are like casements turned on their sides, so the hinges are on top—and the window becomes a rain shield when open. They’re typically used high up in the room to allow warm air to escape.

What material do you want?

You’ll also want to consider what your windows will be constructed from—a decision that’ll dictate not only how they look, but how much maintenance they need.

  • Vinyl windows ($300 to $800) never need painting on the inside or out. They’re economical, come in white and a handful of other colors, and look good on a simple home. For an upscale house, though, vinyl can look a bit incongruous.
  • Wood windows ($400 to $1,000) offer a traditional, high-end appearance and can be painted to match the interior and exterior trim of your sunroom.
  • Clad windows ($500 to $1,200) are made from wood but are covered with vinyl or aluminum on the outside. That “cladding” is available in a range of colors and never needs painting, so you get the look of wood on the inside with a low-maintenance of a paint-free exterior.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467‚Äč to talk to an experienced agent today.