The modern conservatory and orangery

Written by   |  Published September 19, 2014  |  Posted in: Advice  |  Tags: , ,

If you want to add more space to your home quickly and easily, then your best bet is to consider a conservatory.

Orangeries are also popular although they tend to be a little more expensive.

There are so many designs and styles out there for you to think about that it’s easy to get the perfect style for your home.

With the latest technology and uPVC frames, conservatories won’t cost you the Earth and can be pretty simple to maintain. You won’t have to worry about energy bills going through the roof either.

The problems with a standard conservatory

Although your wallet will certainly feel slightly better if you go for a cheaper option, the biggest problem is you probably won’t have a unique appeal. On top of this, the conservatory isn’t likely to match up well with the rest of your home.

Many cheaper conservatories tend to be of the lean-to design, rather than some of the popular Victorian, Edwardian and bespoke styles. So if you live in a period property you could have a problem finding something to complement your home.

For those homeowners, sometimes spending more money and creating a bespoke design is certainly worthwhile.

Bespoke conservatories pros and cons

If you don’t want a cheap conservatory and instead want to create your own unique appeal, then there’s only one thing for it; invest in a bespoke conservatory. With a bespoke conservatory you can ensure everything meets your own needs, including the style, materials, shape, size and budget.

With this you’ll be able to perfectly complement your home and ensure the conservatory suits both you and your property. This has huge benefits to you in both the short and long term. Of course, you’ll have a brilliant extension which can be enjoyed throughout the year, whilst in the future your home will be more attractive to potential buyers.

Of course, the major drawback to a bespoke conservatory is the amount it’ll cost. It’s considerably more expensive to invest in a bespoke design, but with the advantages that come with it, it’s no surprise homeowners are ignoring the price tag.

How about orangeries?

With more and more bespoke designs being created by homeowners, particularly in the case of period properties, it’s no surprise that orangeries have seen resurgence. Many people believe an orangery to just be a fancy name, but there are actually significant differences between an orangery and a conservatory.

Conservatories must have 75% of their structure glazed, which is typically the roof and most of the walls. The base of the walls will tend to be bricked (a dwarf wall).

Orangeries though are predominantly bricked, whilst they’ll still have large glass panes and a transparent rooftop. You may think this similar to a normal house extension, but actually it’s separated from the main building.

What’s cheaper: An extension or conservatory?

Written by   |  Published September 19, 2014  |  Posted in: Advice  |  Tags: , ,

If you’ve been looking around your home and decided it could benefit from some more space, you’re not alone.

Thousands of homeowners decide their properties aren’t big enough ever year and subsequently move to a larger house or extend.

If you’re garage isn’t suitable for a conversion and your loft is a little on the small side, what other options do you have? Well, popularly, you can extend outwards.

By this, we mean investing in a house extension or conservatory.

Both enable you to enjoy more space around the home and each has its own advantages. Take a look at the pros and cons to extending your home.

Extending your home: The pros and cons

By extending your home it’s pretty easy to see the major benefit and that’s you have more space to use in any way you wish. On top of this, you’ll also be adding value to your home at the same time.

House extensions are seen more as a solid structure, often being of a similar design to your home. Whilst they do have their benefits, many experts believe them to be a lot more hassle than a straightforward conservatory.

House extensions tend to take a longer time to complete and there are often more complications when it comes to planning permission and Building Regulations too. As the extension is typically a part of the home, it’ll add to your heating bills as well.

The cost effective conservatory

If you don’t opt for a house extension, then a conservatory will be your port of call. The great thing with conservatories is they can give you the same special advantages without anywhere near the same level of expenditure.

Modern conservatories are a lot more pleasing to the eye as well, and with the latest architectural styles you can ensure having a conservatory that looks fantastic.

Conservatories are a lot easier and quicker to install and you could be going in just weeks, especially as planning permission is often not a worry. As conservatories are built of predominantly glass, it’s little wonder they take less time to construct.

Your ongoing costs won’t be as heavily effected with a conservatory either, as the conservatory is typically separated from the main home. Therefore, you won’t be adding on any unwanted expenses to your heating.

There’s plenty to think about with a conservatory and a number of stunning designs to ensure you get the very best for your home, whilst choosing something to suit your taste. From period classics such as Victorian and Edwardian styles to the modern lean-to and bespoke, you can get everything you need and more.

Underfloor heating for your conservatory

Written by   |  Published September 18, 2014  |  Posted in: Advice  |  Tags: ,

The primary reason for investing in a conservatory is the benefit of having more space which can be used for whatever you need. An extra room can be a luxury for many and certainly helps to avoid the expense of moving home.

But while the conservatory gets a lot of use during the summer, for many it can be completely abandoned in winter.

That means during the colder months there’s a perfectly good room simply going to waste. If you pay up for a new conservatory then this is the last thing you’ll want; only using it six months of the year.

Fortunately there is action you can take to ensure your conservatory is suitable for the winter months too. With underfloor heating you can keep the conservatory warm and cosy in the chilly times and it’s the perfect solution to ensure it’s never unused.

What is underfloor heating?

It’s not exactly difficult to work out what underfloor heating is, just from the name itself. Essentially, pipes, sheets or wires are installed directly beneath your floor and provide comfortable, gentle warmth into the room.

Heat naturally rises which ensures you get a good spread of heat and won’t have to worry about cold spots either. With underfloor heating it can be installed with any type of flooring too, so you don’t have to compromise on your conservatory to benefit.

The other option is radiators, but these only heat the air directly around them. Underfloor heating is not only a lot more effective, but more efficient too.

Underfloor heating systems costs

If you’re considering underfloor heating, there are two different systems to consider: wet and dry. With a wet underfloor heating system you have pipes connecting to the boiler which helps to provide the heat. They can be quite costly to implement, especially if just for one room.

If you’re keen to have underfloor heating in just your conservatory though, a dry system is probably your best bet. Rather than pipes, electric cables or sheets are positioned below the floor and cost around £75 per square metre.

The dry system is less hassle to install but you’ll need a qualified electrician to take care of the job. You can install this system with any flooring too, so it’s ideal for your conservatory.

Can I get a conservatory for my listed building?

Written by   |  Published September 18, 2014  |  Posted in: Advice  |  Tags: , ,

There are listed buildings all around the UK and many stipulations as to what can and can’t be done to the property. If your home is listed as a Grade I or Grade II building then it’s considered to be of architectural significance or merit.

If this is the case, it’s probably because the property is over 100 years old and as the owner, you’re now the custodian. This means you have a responsibility to look after the building and any changes you wish to implement will need planning permission. This concerns the whole building, including the interior and exterior.

So when it comes to a conservatory, although it’s permitted development for normal homes, it’s a different case with listed buildings. Instead you’ll need consent, known as Listed Building Consent. Without this consent you’ll be breaking the law and will be subsequently prosecuted.

How to get Listed Building Consent for a conservatory

In the same way you’d seek permission with a non-listed property, you’ll need to go to the local council. All councils are different so depending on where you live there could be varying procedures in place. Typically it’ll take eight weeks for a decision to be made on a Grade II listed building, with 21 days for neighbours to make any complaints.

Grade I buildings tend to take longer, with up to 13 weeks expected for a decision to be made. The council may even ask for advice from English Heritage.

If your conservatory proposals are accepted then you’ll be free to build the extension. Of course there may be certain criteria for you to meet as part of the acceptance. If you’re proposal is declined then you have an opportunity to appeal.

Choosing the right conservatory

Much of the criteria for conservatories with listed buildings involve the conservatory suitably matching the home. For this reason it’s important to get your proposal right and many homeowners get the help of an architect with experience in listed buildings.

Essentially, the conservatory will need to be designed with a similar look to the building. This includes the design functions such as the shape and size, as well as the materials you plan to use. Typically, homeowners in listed buildings will look towards hardwood conservatories with Victorian designs.

When assessing your proposal, planners will want to ensure the conservatory isn’t going to dominate the original building or create an unbalance in the grounds. The colour will also be a major factor in whether your plans are approved or declined. Keep the colours similar to the building and you have every chance of success in your application.

How to choose the right conservatory

Written by   |  Published July 24, 2014  |  Posted in: Advice  |  Tags:

Are you looking to get extra space for your home? Don’t want to waste money on solicitor fees and estate agent payments involved in relocating? Then build a conservatory and get space, light and a beautiful place to relax all year round.

With the right design you’ll get a room you love and a fantastic appeal that’ll suit your home. With so many styles and designs out there, it’s easy to find a well-designed conservatory that’ll be of huge benefit to your home.

Follow the rules

With a conservatory you have an opportunity to get more living space quickly. This is mainly because conservatories fall under permitted development and as such, you won’t need to get planning permission for one.

Make sure you don’t get caught out though, as the rules differ for properties in a Conservation Area or listed buildings. In these instances you will need to seek official approval.

Building Regulations also won’t apply if the conservatory is less than 30 square metres and has quality walls or doors between it and the rest of the house, with its own heating system too.

Remember though, glazing and electrical regulations will apply, so it’s always best to use a Part P registered electrician and ensure you know the rules.

Size up your space

Making sure your conservatory follows regulations will keep you on the right side of the law, but won’t ensure the perfect finish. This is why it’s important to work out how big your conservatory can feasibly be without swallowing the garden.

Of course, larger properties have more swing here, but the same design for one house could be completely wrong for another. There are different shapes to consider such as a ‘P’ or ‘T’, so think about what you need and what’s possible with the space you have available.

Avoid extremes

If you have a south-facing conservatory with a glass roof and large windows, then surprise surprise, you’ll end up with a space that’ll seriously overheat in the summer. If this will be the case, look for UV filtered glazing to keep the inside cool and ventilation to get a good flow of cool air.

Don’t treat your conservatory as a summer room either, because it’s perfectly suitable in the colder months too. As such, consider how you’ll heat the conservatory in winter, with underfloor heating or radiators both possible.

Choosing the materials

If you’re interested in a conservatory then it’s important to know the different materials at your disposal. There are three mainly; wood, aluminium and uPVC. All three have different qualities to set them apart from the others but a lot will come down to your taste and budget.

uPVC is often the go-to material as it’s by far the cheapest available and is easy to maintain, whilst having all the necessary qualities such as durability and weather resistance. There are also a number of colours on offer to set your home apart from the crowd too.

For something different, hardwood conservatories do look fantastic. They’re typically more expensive than uPVC but the aesthetic appeal in unrivalled. They do require a lot of maintenance over the years though.

Aluminium is the strongest and most durable product on the market. It’s extremely weather resistant too and you won’t have to adopt much maintenance to keep it in tip-top condition.

Designing your perfect conservatory

Written by   |  Published May 27, 2014  |  Posted in: Advice  |  Tags: , ,

When it comes to the conservatory there are quite a few different styles to choose from. For instance, you may opt for the traditional appeal of an Edwardian or Victorian conservatory. On the other hand, a gable fronted conservatory could be your cup of tea. And if space is an issue, a lean-to could be the answer.

Whatever conservatory takes your fancy, a lot will simply boil down to your home, the area you have available and your own tastes and personalities. Of course, you’ll want to add value to your home too.

One of the main purposes of a conservatory is to bring the outside in. This is achieved with large windows which allow in plenty of natural light. Never compromise on this when designing your own conservatory.

The colour itself will be another of those choices which comes down to personal preference. uPVC is the cheapest option for your conservatory and although it typically comes in white, is now available in a range of other colours too.

The flooring is another area to consider. There are a few options too, such as laminate, ceramic, natural stone and bamboo. Of course, your budget will have a significant part to play in this, so take a look at each option and make a firm decision.

So you’ll have decided on a design, with the windows, flooring and roofing all settled. Now it’s time to think about the interior and a great place to start is with the window furnishings. Curtains aren’t popular and realistically you’ll be looking towards conservatory blinds.

Blinds are a great addition to any conservatory, providing privacy and energy saving benefits, whilst reducing the sun’s glare and keeping you in peace and quiet too. They’re fantastic at any time of year, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter.

Conservatory blinds are the perfect insulators and you can save many hundreds of pounds every year. With many styles and designs on offer, you can easily find a design and colour to suit your taste.

Last but not least you’ll need to consider the furniture. This shouldn’t be taken lightly, and it’s important to get furniture which fits into the room nicely without taking up too much space. Wicker furniture is always popular in the conservatory because of its lightweight make-up.


Facts & Figures You’ll Love To Share

  • Experts say a conservatory will add over £9,000 to the value of your home, which is perfect in the current housing market.
  • With a conservatory you can have the extra space your family needs, without spending thousands of pounds on moving home.
  • There are a range of stunning designs and styles available for your dream conservatory, from traditional to contemporary appeals.
  • Ensure the conservatory company is Fensa or Certass accredited, especially when it comes to the glazing of the conservatory.

Will you add value to your home with a conservatory?

Written by   |  Published April 11, 2014  |  Posted in: Advice  |  Tags: , , ,

Conservatories are now one of the key reasons homeowners decide to stay at their current properties. When it comes to making a decision between moving and staying put, a lot now comes down to cost.

That’s because it’s now so expensive to relocate. When you take into account solicitors, estate agents and stamp duty, your expenses could easily rise over £10,000.

On the other hand, by installing a conservatory you can get the extra space you need whilst adding thousands of pounds to your home’s value.

So to help you out, take a look at our guide of how to guarantee adding value with a conservatory.

Match your home

One of the most important parts of investing in a conservatory is ensuring it complements the rest of your property. You don’t want something that’ll stick out like a sore thumb; instead blending in seamlessly. This can be achieved in a few ways. Try and use exterior materials that match your home, such as the brick colours. Also consider using the same flooring to run between your home and the conservatory.

Don’t overbuild

You want plenty of extra space right? Then why not have a huge conservatory at the back of your home? It may seem like a cracking idea at first, but the larger the conservatory, the more of your garden you’re eating up. If you only had a small garden to start, this isn’t ideal. Many people consider their conservatory an extension of the garden, so make sure not to ruin the appeal.

Shop around

We’ve all heard the horror stories of cowboy builders and rogue traders. You’ve probably even switched on the TV to find a programme putting these dodgy companies in the spotlight. Often what happens is the company will take a huge deposit and complete a shoddy job or sometimes never show at all. So how can you avoid this? By shopping around. Never pay a substantial deposit, ask for a portfolio of work and always ask for references. Any tradesman worth his weight in salt will be more than happy to oblige and this is the same for any industry.

Ventilation and heating

Conservatories can turn into saunas in the summer months because of the large glass panes allowing plenty of the sun’s heat inside. Then in the winter, you could find your conservatory too cold. Avoid this altogether by ensuring you invest in quality ventilation and heating to keep a comfortable environment no matter the time of year. For your heating we would consider underfloor heating, which is an efficient way to keep warm.


Facts & Figures You’ll Love To Share

  • Experts say a conservatory will add over £9,000 to the value of your home, which is perfect in the current housing market.
  • With a conservatory you can have the extra space your family needs, without spending thousands of pounds on moving home.
  • There are a range of stunning designs and styles available for your dream conservatory, from traditional to contemporary appeals.
  • Conservatory window blinds will reduce your heating bills by up to 25%, retaining 46% extra warmth in the home.

Sun rooms door choices

Written by   |  Published May 7, 2013  |  Posted in: Advice  |  Tags: , , , , ,

When it comes to your sun rooms, the door is a very important feature. You want to ensure not to slack on security, whilst maintaining the aesthetically pleasing appeal of your new conservatory.

There are three main options to consider when it comes to choosing the right door for your conservatory; bifolding, French and patio.

Bifolding doors

Bifolding doors offer the most when space is limited, or you want to create extra room in the sun rooms. Otherwise known simply as folding doors, they can fold inwards or outwards to open up space in the room.

Because they fold neatly to one side, bifolding doors have the benefit of bringing the outside in, which is fantastic for the summer months. They can be custom styled to match any conservatory with excellent flexibility and are very easy to operate.

By taking bifolding doors that are covered by British Standards, you can enjoy all the perks of good weather resistance, insulation and security.

Whilst bifolding doors tend to have two panels which are split in the middle to open up space, it’s possible to have four doors so two will fold to each side.

With the opportunity to have the bifolding doors partially or fully opened, you have the ultimate choice in how much space and light your conservatory has.

By taking bifolding doors you’ll also have a decision to make in the colour and material used for your style. With a variety of looks you’ll be able to find something unique that compliments your home.

Remember, if you use bifolding doors for your sun rooms, ensure to have the glass toughened or laminated. This will protect you against accidents and injury, as well as ensuring the upmost security.

French doors

If you’re looking for something that’s functional with a fantastic aesthetic appeal, then take French doors into consideration for your conservatory. With French doors installed there are a range of brilliant benefits.

Because they’re primarily made from glass, French doors allow in plenty of natural light and can even be left open all day in the summer months to let clean air circulate the conservatory. Homeowners tend to choose French doors when stepping out onto a tiled or patio area.

With their stylish look, French doors have an unrivalled appeal and will allow light and warmth into your home all year round. Even in the winter you can enjoy the outside and energy efficient panes will keep the cold out too.

And French doors don’t skimp on security either, giving you all the protection your home requires. With reinforced thick frames and the latest locking mechanisms, you can have peace of mind and not worry when you’re out of the house.

With uPVC French doors there’s also the added bonus of built-in impact resistant webbing. This adds to the security and keeps the doors looking great over the years. uPVC is a proven construction material, suitable for windows and doors because of its excellent durability.

Patio doors

With patio doors attached to your sun rooms you have an excellent access straight into the garden and the sliding feature opens up plenty of room. On top of this, the large glass panes allow in a wealth of natural light.

Sliding patio doors have two large panes, with one sliding behind the other to give access to the garden. There are also styles similar to French doors, whereby one of the doors would open outwards.

If you want to have patio doors installed in your property it’s very worthwhile making your decision early on. Because of their size, a large space would have to be cut out of the exterior wall otherwise.

Even replacing your existing patio doors is a task best left to professionals. Their size and weight make them a tricky unit to install.