Solarium, sunroom, veranda, greenhouse: What's the difference?

The Lexicon of Solariums Basco Windows & Doors

Opting to install a solarium or another type of glass extension for your home is an important decision, to say the least. There are many exciting ways  to  set up this type of space, depending on its chosen vocation (to relax, grow plants, or simply to enjoy natural light).    


Each of these terms – greenhouse, veranda, sunroom, and solarium – refers to a specific construction, although the distinctions may seem subtle at first glance. When it comes to home extensions or structures that allow you to take advantage of natural light, these terms lead to confusion and are often misused. Is it a solarium or a veranda? A sunroom or a greenhouse?


At Basco Windows & Doors, we believe that an informed decision starts with a clear understanding. That's why we invite you to explore this detailed guide with us. We demystify these terms by highlighting their differences and similarities, so that you can make an informed decision concerning your development project.


Find out which kind of extension is the best one for you!


What is a solarium?

Before we dive into the history of solariums, it is essential to clear up a common misconception in the use of the word "solarium". When talking about a solarium in France, it is immediately associated to a tanning bed or tanning booth, both designed to allow someone to tan faster due to UV radiation exposure. 


However, in Canada, as well as in many other countries around the world, the solarium takes on different meanings, depending on architectural structure variations


According to  Futura Science, a solarium is defined as follows: "[…] It can be located next to the main house or built a few meters away. Built with wooden or metal frames, the solarium has three fully glazed walls, if it is used as an extension. Its roof can also be made of glass. […]" 


In other words, it is a light-filled room or home extension, designed to allow its residents to enjoy the sunlight while being sheltered from the outside elements.


What is a veranda?


A veranda is an outdoor extension attached to the main building. It is characterized by its masonry or wood partitions. The partitions can be of different heights (quarter, third, half-height) and are designed to solidify the structure with the help of a rigid base. Even though the veranda is equipped with glass doors or windows, it remains easily identifiable by the presence of solid walls.


What is a sunroom?


Contrary to the veranda, a sunroom is mainly surrounded by glass walls, instead of wood or masonry walls. A sunroom is an indoor space primarily enclosed with large windows or glass walls. In another instance, when the dimension of a glass roofing exceeds that of the surrounding windows or side walls, it is also referred to as a sunroom. It could very well be compared to a solarium. 

glass partition

A sunroom is predominantly characterized by its glazed surfaces. While it often evokes an exterior structure, the "indoor" sunroom  or glass partition is gaining in popularity. It gracefully enhances homes by providing a bright and open space.


According to Futura Science, the structure of a sunroom is often made from steel or aluminum extrusions. This type of structure can be ordered in various shades such as white, black or anthracite (a very dark grey). The choice in glass is diverse: from laminated glass (known for its safety value) to tinted glass, and even optimized glass (or thermal windows) recognized for their energy efficiency. Sunrooms can be composed of double or triple-glazed thermal windows, including options such as argon gas. 


In conclusion, the sunroom is a wonderfully customizable architectural element. Its adaptability makes it an ideal option for those who want to add a touch of elegance to their interior, while optimizing its functionality. 


What is a greenhouse?

green house

A greenhouse is a construction mostly made of glass, but in this case isolated from the main building. It is mainly used for the cultivation of plants since it provides a microclimate favourable to their growth.


All considered, the terms used to describe the above-mentioned project types are not always well-used. However, based on the composition and function of each of these different types of structures, we are now better equipped to distinguish between them and recognize their differences.


Your Solarium, Our Expertise: Basco Windows & Doors’ Maintenance Services

Once you've chosen the perfect glass extension for your home, it is essential to ensure its longevity. At Basco Windows & Doors, we are proud to offer you our solarium maintenance services . You can trust Basco, we offer incomparable services to help extend the lifespan of your solarium!