Decked out IN SUN

Vinyl is final -- wood's no good.
This might well be the motto of many homeowners who are in the market for a new deck this season.
Although decks constructed of vinyl cost more than decks made of wood, Gus Marzullo, a manager at Resash Sunrooms, Decks and Spas in Hubbard, said paying top dollar for a vinyl deck may be well worth it.
Looking at costs: "Vinyl decks require no maintenance. If you are having a deck built, you can expect to pay $18 to $20 per square foot for a wooden deck and 30 [percent] to 35 percent more each square foot for a vinyl deck."
"However, it can cost $200 to $350 a year to maintain a wooden deck because the wood will need to be treated with a wood sealer at least once a year. So in the end, the higher price for vinyl may save you money," Marzullo said.
Vinyl may also save a homeowner time and hassle.
Vinyl decks never need to be sealed or painted, they don't splinter, they are nonporous and slip-resistant, cool to bare feet and easily cleaned.
Vinyl is also resistant to damage from pool or hot tub chemicals, a big plus for homeowners who have a deck built around a pool or spa.
Homeowners can also choose vinyl that will match the color of their home.
"We sell a lot of gray, white and tan. Vinyl decks are the decks of the future," Marzullo said.
Decks aren't the only outdoor-oriented living space to have evolved in the last few decades.
Selecting sun rooms: Marzullo said sun rooms have also come a long way since they first hit the scene in the 1970s.
Gone are the boxy-looking additions with ugly storm windows and aluminum awnings that were too cold in winter and too hot in summer.
The sun rooms of the 21st century are both beautiful and energy-efficient.
"People want a sun room for year-round use. They don't want it to be a room just for the warmer months," Marzullo said.
Marzullo said one type of sun room that's popular is constructed of glass and responds to light and heat. Whatever the temperature is outside, the coated glass acts accordingly to help make the room cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
"When it's very hot, the glass reflects heat. When it's cold, it absorbs it. It's the latest in technology," he said.
Besides being a bright, beautiful addition to the home, many sun rooms have practical purposes and double as exercise rooms, home offices, hot tub rooms, greenhouses, playrooms, breakfast rooms, game rooms or pets' rooms.
"The idea of a sun room has changed from a living space that is just for sitting on a summer day to a living space that is bright and airy and enhances the rest of the house all year long," Marzullo said.
Choosing conservatories: Many sun-room shoppers who seek the ultimate in elegance are opting for conservatories, a type of sun room native to merry old England.
Just picture a Victorian- or Edwardian-style sun room with a cathedral ceiling constructed entirely of glass.
"Most people want a room that is mostly glass, and a conservatory definitely fulfills that wish. It also satisfies the desire for a cathedral ceiling, something that is very popular right now," Marzullo said.
Whether homeowners opt for an elegant conservatory or a more traditional sun room, cost is always a factor in the decision-making process.
Marzullo said the cost of a sun room can vary from $9,000 for a basic, simple setup to as much as $50,000 for a larger, fancier version.
Whatever type is chosen, Marzullo recommends choosing a company or contractor that offers a good, longtime warranty.
"When the warranty is limited, chances are something is going to go wrong," he said.

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