Sunroom Makeover: From Institutional to Rustic Retreat

This 1970s-era house with a golf course view is home to Chuck and Margy Bartle, who bought it just a little over four years ago. The sunroom has always been a thorn in Margy’s side, so that’s the project we’re tackling.  

Margy wants a rustic sunroom with more flair, so we’ll install new siding on two walls, beef up the bookshelves, install new flooring and update the lighting and ceiling.

The Projects

Sunroom before stained ceiling was replaced
Margy can’t wait to see these Styrofoam ceiling tiles gone — and we know just how to replace them!

Remove the Sunroom’s Ceiling Tiles    

The sunroom’s Styrofoam ceiling tiles — including some with wet stains — have to go. Chuck and Margy start removing them but notice a lot of glued and stapled tiles, so they work all night to remove them. The best solution, they learned, was to scrape them off with a flathead shovel.

As for all the glue residue? We tried many methods and discovered that a window scraper and a lot of elbow grease did the trick.

Sunroom makeover with reverse board and batten siding
Reverse board and batten is a popular choice for indoor or outdoor siding.

Install RB&B on Two of the Sunroom Walls

For the sunroom’s siding, we’re using reverse board and batten on the unfinished interior walls. 

RB&B has to be cut around windows and outlets just like drywall, but we can tack it in place with a nail gun. Further, the seams overlap, so there’s no need for joint compound.

Before we cover all the walls, our electrician Jeremy wires new lights.

Sunroom bookshelves, painted and resurfaced
These shelves look much better, and with minimal expense!

Enhance the Sunroom Shelves

We’re going to make the shelves look more built-in by adding 1-by-2 strips on the fronts to make them look chunkier. We’ll eliminate the bottom shelves, replace the industrial-looking brackets with something more streamlined and designed, and use vertical boards to frame the TV.        

Finally, we’ll paint the wall black, just like the shelves and shelf supports.

Repairing the floor with a trowel
The subfloor needs to be smooth before you install luxury vinyl tiles, so we’re applying floor patch compound.

Install New Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring

Indoor / outdoor carpet used to be in this sunroom — before Margy became disgusted and ripped it up. Now, there’s just exposed concrete, which we’ll cover with luxury vinyl tiles.  

Luxury vinyl tiles are thin, so any bumps on the subfloor will be noticeable. That means we need to grind down those divets. We picked up a grinder from the rental center that uses three diamond-tipped heads, spinning at high speed,  to shave away the concrete.

We apply the floor patch compound with a smooth trowel. For the floor adhesive, we need a notched trowel. Then we’re ready to install the luxury vinyl tiles!

New ceiling with trim
We replaced those old, stained Styrofoam ceiling tiles with simple lattice strips and painted the existing ceiling.

Trim the Sunroom Ceiling with Lattice Strips

We’re covering up the old ceiling’s seams with lattice strips, giving the ceiling a fresh coat of white paint, and it’ll look much better than those old Styrofoam tiles.

We also:

  • Removed a corner ceiling fan
  • Installed trim around windows

Chelsea Lipford Wolf, Chuck and Margy Bartle and Danny Lipford
Today’s Homeowner hosts Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf, with homeowners Chuck and Margy Bartle.

Post-Production Thoughts

Chuck and Margy’s sunroom was a converted screened porch that was a mixture of unfinished projects and poor design decisions by the previous owners.

The bare floor and dated ceiling tiles did nothing to enhance the view, and the bookcase was functional but a little institutional.

Now, the room has a cohesive look that’s warm and inviting.

Extending the siding around the sunroom sets a rustic tone that is echoed by the lattice paneled ceiling.

The enhanced bookcase now looks more like a built-in entertainment center and the new window trim frames the view beautifully.

Plus, the floor finally makes the room feel like a finished part of the house.

And we did it all for only about $1,500 in materials.

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