What is the Best Flooring For an Unheated Sunroom?


what is the best flooring for an unheated sunroom

For the majority of sunrooms, the temperature of the space is determined by, well, the sun. Some builder owners opt for heated sunrooms, while others go with unheated and instead choose a flooring to compliment it.

The best flooring for an unheated sunroom is ceramic. However, laminate, vinyl, carpet, and linoleum are great options for unheated sunrooms. Ceramic tile is perfect for unheated sunrooms because it does not expand or warp in the sun and it simply looks great. It can get cooler to the touch when the sun is not on it, but ceramic tile is a fixture in countless unheated sunrooms and feels great when the sun is shining.

Let’s get into why ceramic is the best flooring for unheated sunrooms, and why some of the alternatives are also great options.

Why Choose Ceramic Flooring For Unheated Sunrooms?

Ceramic flooring is great for unheated sunrooms because the tiles never get too hot or too cold.  In other words, when the sun is shining bright, the tile will be warm without becoming unbearable. When the sun is not out or there is cloud cover, however, the ceramic tiles will feel cool without getting too cold.

Generally, ceramic tiles are incredibly durable as well. To make your ceramic tiles more durable, you can opt to have the tiles glazed. The glaze that is added to ceramic tiles is simply liquid glass that is poured onto them.

Whether you choose glazed ceramic tiles or plain ceramic tiles, they are an excellent choice for unheated sunrooms. It is worth noting, however, that glazed ceramic tiles have extra protection against humidity and spills.

How Do the Costs of Different Sunroom Flooring Compare?

For the most part, your cheapest sunroom flooring option is linoleum and vinyl, with ceramic and carpeting being the more expensive options. Below is a comparison chart that shows what you can expect to pay for different unheated sunroom flooring options.

Material Average Cost Per Sq. Ft.
Linoleum $3.00-$8.00
Carpet $3.00-$11.00
Ceramic $7.00-$20.00
Vinyl $3.00-$8.00
Hardwood $5.00-$25.00
Laminate $3.00-$10.00

Ceramic and hardwood are higher end sunroom flooring options, and it is reflected in their price. In general, sunrooms are between 80 and 240 square feet. If you were to choose the most basic ceramic tile for an 80 sq. ft. sunroom, you would spend $560 in flooring.

The average total cost of having flooring installed in a sunroom is $3,200. That means that no matter which flooring material you choose, the vast majority of the cost consists of the actual labor.

Ceramic Tile Flooring

Ceramic tile flooring is classy, looks great, and is resistant to heat and moisture. It is the choice of many builders when putting in an unheated sunroom. There are several styles of ceramic tile to choose from, such as glazed, unglazed, and porcelain.

Sq. Ft. Average Cost
80 sq. ft. $560-$1,600
100 sq. ft. $700-$2,000
120 sq. ft. $840-$2,400
240 sq. ft. $1,680-$4,800

Whether your sunroom is small at 80 sq. ft., or large and measuring 240 sq. ft., ceramic tile is worth the investment for flooring your sunroom.

Linoleum and Vinyl Flooring

Linoleum

Similar in style to vinyl, linoleum is a common flooring choice for builders. While it may look like vinyl, it is different in that it is made up of wood, cork, and linseed oil. Part of linoleum’s popularity is due to its affordability and easy installation. Linoleum and vinyl are generally the same price, on average.

Vinyl

Vinyl is often compared to linoleum due to its appearance, but it is a great flooring selection in its own right. A major perk of vinyl flooring is that it is highly spill resistant. It also has a lifespan of up to 20 years which is why many builder-owners use it in unheated sunrooms.

Sq. Ft. Average Cost
80 sq. ft. $240-$640
100 sq. ft. $300-$800
120 sq. ft. $360-$960
240 sq. ft. $720-$1,920

Linoleum is a great way to make your unheated sunroom look great without breaking the bank.  Luckily, linoleum is easy to maintain and clean, and unlike some flooring, you can use water to clean it. The same can be said for vinyl which is water resistant and great to look at.

You can find vinyl flooring in many different color variations so that you can match it the overall style of your sunroom.

Carpet Flooring

Carpet is also popular for sunrooms. The great thing about using carpet in unheated sunrooms is that carpet does not get cold. Options such as ceramic or linoleum are great, but they can be cooler when not in the sunlight.

Sq. Ft. Average Cost
80 sq. ft. $240-$880
100 sq. ft. $300-$1,100
120 sq. ft. $360-$1,320
240 sq. ft. $720-$2,640

It is an extra perk that you can simply vacuum a carpeted sunroom floor. There are also endless options for styles of carpet so it is not limiting in the aesthetic that you can bring to your sunroom.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood is used in unheated sunrooms, but it is pricier than the other options. It is gorgeous to look at and can complement any sunroom, but hardwood flooring is riskier than the other options. That is because hardwood carries the risk of scratches and damage.

With that said, hardwood flooring is a great choice and can last between 25 and 100 years if installed and maintained properly.

Sq. Ft. Average Cost
80 sq. ft. $400-$2,000
100 sq. ft. $500-$2,500
120 sq. ft. $600-$3,000
200 sq. ft. $1,000-$5,000

Higher end woods like tigerwood or mahogany will run you closer to the high end average with hardwood flooring. It is a great option for unheated sunrooms because hardwood gets warm in the sun and cools off at night.

Laminate Flooring

Finally, builder-owners have been using laminate in unheated sunrooms for a long time now. The fact is, laminate looks great, possibly even better than vinyl, and it is cost effective. Not to mention, laminate flooring can be purchased in countless designs, so you can really get creative.

Sq. Ft. Average Cost
80 sq. ft. $240-$800
100 sq. ft. $300-$1,000
120 sq. ft. $360-$1,200
200 sq. ft. $600-$2,000

Laminate holds up to the sun well because it does not warp or expand at all. However, if you live in a humid climate, laminate may not be the best option because it doesn’t handle moisture as well as options like ceramic or vinyl.

Does Ceramic Flooring Get Too Hot or Too Cold?

No, it does not get overly hot or overly cold. Ceramic is naturally what is considered to be a cold material. When it sits in the sun, sure, ceramic tiles can get warm eventually.

However, due to the natural of the material, ceramic tile flooring never gets unbearably hot. When the sun is no longer on the flooring in your sunroom for the day, ceramic will ease back into its natural, cool state. That is not to say that ceramic is naturally freezing to the touch, however, like marble or natural stone can be.

Ceramic is sensitive enough to temperature that you’ll feel the warmth or coolness if you are bare-footed.

Which Type of Ceramic Tile is Best?

Of the three options, glazed ceramic tile flooring is the best. The alternatives, unglazed and porcelain, are excellent choices as well. The reason that glazed flooring is the best choice is that it provides extra water protection and adds a nice, glossy look to the tiles.

Porcelain is a type of ceramic material that takes on an almost plastic-like consistency. It is an excellent flooring choice as well, but ultimately glazed ceramic is the best choice.

Summing it Up

The best flooring choice for your unheated sunroom is ceramic tile. More specifically, glazed ceramic tile. Even if you don’t opt for glazed tile, the other two ceramic choices are style great.

For a standard 80 sq. ft. sunroom, it would cost up to $640 to tile the floors with ceramic. If your sunroom is large and measures 240 sq. ft., ceramic tile flooring could cost you as much as $4,800. Due to ceramic’s desirable look, water resistance, and 75 year lifespan, it is the choice of countless builders and homeowners.

If ceramic is not your style or it is too pricey, materials like carpet, laminate, and vinyl are great for unheated sunroom floors. Good luck picking out your new flooring for your unheated sunroom.

Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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