Conservatories are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. A conservatory can be an effective way to bring more warmth and light into your home without having to change the basic structure of the house.
A conservatory creates a wonderful new space to relax and entertain in. It also provides a way for you to enjoy your garden without having to brave bad weather.
A conservatory requires different materials to most extensions.
- If you want to use the conservatory all year round as an extension of your living space, central heating, lighting, and the type of glass you use are important for its comfort.
- Conservatories can get extremely hot, so allow for ventilation and heat-reflective blinds – which will also give privacy after dark. Automatic venting and blinds systems are effective but expensive.
- Before deciding on a glass roof for a conservatory, think about cleaning. A solid roof with skylights might be more practical, especially if you are building under a tree. It would also make the conservatory cheaper to heat in winter.
A framework is usually made of timber, uPVC, or metal.
- Timber requires the most maintenance and uPVC the least.
- Timber is sympathetic to older architectural styles.
- Most conservatories are made up of prefabricated panels, and their dimensions determine the final size of the room.
Windows should be double-glazed, or the room will be too cold in the depths of winter when you most want the sun.
- Full height glazing gives the maximum light and sense of space.
- Sill-height glazing gives some privacy and accommodation for radiators. You can also put plants on the sills. The pleasure of a conservatory comes from being able to sit in it and look out to the garden
The internal height of the sill should be less than 60 cm (2 ft), or it will obstruct your view.
- All glass that you can fall on to or walk through must be toughened. Check with building regulations.
Glass roofing is vulnerable to impact and a major escape route for rising heat.
- Glass must be toughened or laminated which certainly puts the price up.
- Polycarbonate sheeting is a less expensive option. Choose twin- or triple-wall sheets to reduce heat loss. Be prepared for clicks and creaks as the plastic expands and contracts with changing temperatures.
- Fit guards along the gutters to protect the roof from falling tiles and, in harsh winters, compacted snow falling off the roof or trees.
Flooring depends on how you wish to use the room.
- In Victorian times (when conservatories first became fashionable), tiles were used. If you like the look but not the cold underfoot, consider installing underfloor heating before the tiles are laid.
- Warmer alternatives are timber flooring or concrete, covered with cork, vinyl, or even a fitted carpet.