The different types of conservatories & their advantages

Is your home starting to feel a bit cramped? Instead of moving to a bigger property, why not consider installing a conservatory?


Advantages of installing a conservatory

  • A conservatory will increase the size of your home. This is great if you have children, especially if you are expecting another one on the way soon!
  • Whilst having a conservatory installed at your home could be quite expensive, it will still often work out cheaper than moving into a bigger house.
  • The cost of simply moving house alone could cost you around £10,000 when you take into consideration estate agent fees, removals and stamp duty you could purchase a very nice conservatory for less than that.
  • A conservatory not only makes a great addition to your home but should you decide to sell it, a it is a great feature to have and will often up the asking price.
  • One of the great things about a conservatory is all of the glass, it allows in a lot of sunshine which really improves the ambiance. Sunlight is a mood enhancer, so your conservatory will be a great place to retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday living.
  • A conservatory really does bring the outside inside and will provide your home with a great transition between the house and garden. This can be further extended if you were to have a patio installed just off of your conservatory, which would add a further element of extra living space.
  • A conservatory can provide you with lots of options, for example if you’ve always wanted a dining room, hey presto, you’ve got one! Or if you need a room for all of the children’s toys to be hidden from view, you can have just that.

Wooden Conservatories

wooden_conservatories_costWooden conservatories can be obtained just as easily as ordinary glass and uPVC ones, and although they cost a bit extra most wooden conservatories prices are cheaper than you might think. Plus there are several benefits to having a wooden conservatory installed.

Advantages of Wooden Conservatories

  • Wood is more aesthetically pleasing to most home-owners; the natural grain offers a more organic look that blends neatly with a garden environment and doesn’t look cheap and garish like ordinary white uPVC.
  • The greater attention to detail in wood grain means you can style your conservatory to suit your tastes; some prefer more wooden panels and less glass windows, while others like to shape the wood around various circular ‘pocket windows’ in the conservatory exterior.
  • Wood can also be polished and/or varnished for a softer texture and smooth, elegant finish.
  • You can even paint most wooden surfaces too – in any colour, hue and/or pattern you like!
  • Wooden conservatories are still compatible with other conservatory materials, such as bricks for dwarf walls or double or triple glazing; so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing one advantage for another.
  • Wood is also perfectly suited to ordinary conservatory security measures and ease of access – locks and hinges for folding doors, windows and other entry points aren’t a problem. Plus most contractors can easily install additional steel support joints under the wooden roof if that’s what you require.
  • You can also fit a range of extras into a wooden conservatory design; anything from cresting to swept-heads to dentil moulding can be assimilated into your chosen style.
  • If you prefer wood for conservatory models can also be purchased from sustainable forest sources – so you can be sure you’re still doing your bit for the environment.
  • Some woods, such as oak and other softer timbers, are still relatively cheap, so you can still obtain the beauty of wood without the hardwood price tag.
  • Wood is also more durable and long-lasting than you might think; most contractors will offer anything from a 10 to 25 year guarantee – so you can be sure to enjoy your new conservatory for as long as any other model on the market!

uPVC Conservatories

Many homeowners these days brag about the latest styles and materials available for modern and stylish new conservatory designs, but if you’re looking for something cheap and simple but still want that extra space and comfort an ordinary conservatory offers, then there is no reason why standard, white uPVC shouldn’t be able to do the job for you.

Advantages of  uPVC Conservatories

There are several advantages to installing a uPVC conservatory compared to other, more expensive materials, including the following:

  • Ordinary uPVC is popular across the UK, so your new conservatory won’t stand out as particularly ‘cheap’ or noticeable compared to neighbours’ own conservatories.
  • Plus white is a calming, neutral colour that complements almost any home exterior. But if you would prefer something a little less bright, uPVC can also be purchased in cream and gray too – so it’s aesthetically versatile, just like wood or metal!
  • Extra fittings and fixtures, such as automatic ventilation or central or under-floor heating are easily assimilated into a uPVC conservatory design.
  • Similarly, installing double-glazed windows is not a problem with uPVC, and all openings and access areas are safely and securely fitted despite the malleability of the material.
  • Plenty of uPVC conservatories are durable and long-lasting, often coming with anything from a 10 to 15 year guarantee.
  • The material is also extremely weatherproof, and can withstand most rain and thunderstorms, as well as frost and snowfall in those colder winter months.
  • Construction of uPVC conservatories involves minimal drilling and installation work compared to other conservatory designs, so you won’t have to wait long for the whole thing to be over and done with – some contractors can have the thing up and ready to use in a matter of weeks!
  • Most uPVC conservatories prices are also surprisingly low, even when purchased in grander Edwardian or Victorian designs – so you don’t have to spend a fortune for that little bit of extra luxury!

Lean-to Conservatory (sun lounge)

These are simple structures to build, rectangular in shape, they have a sloping roof. You can build them up against up to three external walls, which makes them a cheap and easy option.

P-shaped or L-shaped conservatory

A P-shaped conservatory comprises of a rectangular section coming off the house leading into a square or rectangular part, similar to a Victorian or Edwardian design. It is a great way of maximising space and incorporating the conservatory into the main house. An L-shaped conservatory can wrap around the side of the home, saving space in the garden.

Victorian & Edwardian Conservatories

victorian conservatory galleryVictorian and/or Edwardian conservatories have been growing in popularity in recent years, thanks to their ornate, gothic structures and classical conservatory ‘look’. They can be shaped into regular square or rectangle shapes, or hexagonal or octagonal ‘circles’, depending on the shape of your garden; you can even have it moulded against more than one wall if that’s what you would prefer.

The extra sides allow more light to be reflected in the available space, thus offering a more ‘illuminative’ quality; plus the additional supports at the end of each panel allow for a more decorative, extravagant style that you don’t get with ordinary lean-to models.

DIY Conservatories

Although a new conservatory is a great addition to any home, labour and installation costs might put off any homeowner from having the extension erected on their property. Not only do you have to pay for all the necessary materials (including uPVC and glass panels, bricks and plasterboard, roofing and all the necessary nuts and bolts for secure fitting, plus skip hire and waste removal/disposal etc), but you then also have to fork out for a project manager and all the skilled workforce necessary to getting the job done properly and on a decent time-scale.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the way things work out. Many conservatory installers end up charging well beyond their initial asking price, after they have to order in additional (and unforeseen) materials and the project takes longer they anticipated. This leaves you and your family unable to feel at home, having to cope with a messy garden, frequent draughts and a bunch of strangers walking in and out for most of the day – so why not just cut out the middle-man and install your new conservatory yourself?

It might sound a little daunting at first, but DIY conservatory installation is becoming more and more common amongst ordinary (but capable) homeowners. Materials can be purchased independently at the cheapest prices you can find them, or all together as part of a special flat-pack installation, complete with full instructions and advice line contact details for project emergencies. But how much will you really save by fitting the extension yourself?

Conservatory Essentials

You should choose furniture to match the style of your conservatory and blinds are important to keep the room cool in summer and warm in the winter. Pleated, roller or reflective blinds are popular conservatory blinds and solar blinds are also available.

“People usually use radiators connected to the mains central heating,” says Steve. You need to consider heating, which can be supplied by underfloor electric or water heating, conventional radiators or electric radiators. Installing an air con system in your conservatory will keep it cool in summer but can also be used for heating in winter. Building regulations specify that you need some ventilation in conservatories, usually this is provided by windows, roof vents, and extractor or ceiling fans.