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Patio Enclosure Head-to-Head: How to Choose Between a Pergola and a Sunroom

News   >  Knowledge Base   >  Patio Enclosure Head-to-Head: How to Choose Between a Pergola and a Sunroom
Jason Herring
Chief Executive Officer
August 25, 2023
UPDATED August 30, 2023

Enclosed pergolas are popular throughout South Florida as they offer a great way to expand available living space while providing a seamless transition to the backyard or pool deck. Screened-in patios also protect against pesky mosquitoes, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors comfortably.

However, there are different types of enclosed patios, and in this article we will explore the differences between a traditional screened-in sunroom and the flexibility of a pergola sunroom.

What Are the Hallmarks of a Screened-in Sunroom?

Sunrooms are versatile additions to any home. They are often built with windows stretching up the walls and across the entire ceiling, allowing plenty of sunlight to enter. In South Florida, this abundance of light can be both a gift and a curse. While the natural light is desirable, it can also lead to the room becoming uncomfortably hot on sunny days. To address this, many architects in the region adapt sunrooms with traditional solid fixed roofs made of wood and shingles, along with windows or screens along the walls. This design allows sufficient light while promoting airflow to keep the temperatures bearable.

modern wood sunroom 1

How Does a Pergola Sunroom Differ from a Regular Sunroom?

A pergola sunroom differs from a regular sunroom in its design and features. A basic pergola is a shade structure with a slatted or solid fixed roof supported by columns. It can be attached to the house, creating a seamless extension of the indoor living space, or it can also be erected as standalone structures in a garden, on a pool deck, or on a roof deck. While static wooden pergolas are common, the most luxurious pergolas are fabricated from high-quality aluminum. The material opens the door to advanced functionality and flexible styling options. Pergolas can also be enclosed with motorized retractable screens, creating a screened-in pergola. Some modern pergola enclosures include motorized adjustable louvered roofs that can open and close to control sunlight and provide partial or full shade, and they can also close tightly to seal out the rain.

Limitations of Traditional Sunrooms

If you are thinking of adding a sunroom to your home, you need to consider some of the limitations or pain points with such a space, including:

  • Overheating: Sunrooms enclosed in glass can quickly become hot, which can increase the cost of cooling the entire home.
  • Cleaning: Glass surfaces require regular cleaning to remove accumulated dust and dirt.
  • Cost: Traditional sunrooms, with all the glass and construction costs, can be quite expensive.

Benefits of a Pergola Sunroom

If you would like the sunny disposition of a traditional sunroom, but want more flexibility in your new living space, a pergola sunroom offers some unique advantages, such as:
Cost-effectiveness: Custom pergolas made from high-quality aluminum are often a more affordable option than traditional construction, and they withstand the test of time:

  • Sun/Shade Control: Adjustable louvered roof pergolas allow you to control the amount of sunlight entering the space and protect against passing showers.
  • Seamless Transition: Pergola enclosures are open on the sides, providing a seamless transition to the rest of the yard, making them perfect for large gatherings and pool parties.
  • Flexibility: Motorized retractable screens offer flexibility. Rather than being confined to a glassed-in, or screen-in, room, your pergola allows you to open and close the screened walls as desired.
  • Installation: No foundation or concrete pad is needed to install a pergola. Instead, your pergola is mounted on footings which are buried in the ground, or fastened to a deck, roof or balcony.

Why is a Pergola vs Sunroom Best for South Florida

In South Florida, where heavy winds and tropical storms are frequent, opting for a screened-in pergola can be a wise choice to safeguard your investment. Glassed-in sunrooms are vulnerable to damage in hurricanes, but a hurricane-rated pergola with modern aluminum fabrication and engineering can offer better protection. Pergolas designed for hurricane resistance take into account various factors such as soil conditions, weather patterns, and potential flooding to ensure a robust structure.


Sunrooms are a popular addition to many residential homes in South Florida. If you are looking to add a new sunroom to your home, the unique advantages of a pergola sunroom will help you find more enjoyment on your patio. If you are interested in exploring this kind of home renovation, please reach out to our design team for a consultation.

Jason Herring
Chief Executive Officer
Jason Herring is the owner, CEO, and founder of SYZYGY Global. With a background in finance and software, he is a serial entrepreneur known for his hyper attention to detail. Jason's expertise lies in developing future visions and growth strategies for his company, as well as implementing efficient processes and operational strategies. He excels at building strong relationships and enjoys actively engaging with clients. Jason's leadership has propelled SYZYGY Global to success, making him a respected figure in the business world.
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