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What to consider when adding a conservatory

Adding a conservatory to your home can enhance your lifestyle and add value to your home but getting the right one is essential to reap the maximum benefits.

What to consider when adding a conservatory

Published on 24 April 2020

Conservatories are bright, airy, and relaxing spaces where you can enjoy views of your garden, as well as the comforts of your home, making them a pleasure to spend time in. But they’re much more than just a lifestyle-enhancing space. Investing in a conservatory will add to the value of your home too – typically around 5%.

 

And the additional space is super-flexible. You can use a conservatory as a lounge, dining room, TV lounge or playroom, and you can alter its use as your family’s needs change, making it a cost-effective way to extend your home.

 

If built properly, a conservatory should last for decades and be usable all year round. To help you get the most from your conservatory here are some things to consider in the planning phase.

 

Design

You will want to make the most of your investment by creating an extension that is beautiful inside and out. When considering the design, you need to think about:

  • Whether you want to completely transform the way your home looks on the outside, by choosing an ultra-modern design, or whether would you prefer a more traditional style that is in keeping with the rest of the property.
  • How big you want your new space to be, and how much patio and outside space you are willing to sacrifice for more indoor space.
  • The shape of your new conservatory – as they are built bespoke you have a vast array of choices; from classic Edwardian and Victorian, to P-shaped and lean-to.
  • Location, location, location – when deciding where to position your conservatory, you need to consider; how to maximise your views, which way it will be facing in the sun and privacy. Usually if your new conservatory is going to overlook a neighbour, obscure glass is a must and it may even be best to have a brick wall on the overlooked side.
  • If you want it to be open plan with the rest of your home or a separate room – see the Building Regulations section below for more advice on this.
  • The type of roof you want – choose from glass, solid tiled or poly carbon.
  • What colour you would like the frame – available in all the standard uPVC window colours.

 

Planning Permission and Building Regulations

When planning a new conservatory, it’s easy to get caught up in the design of your beautiful new living space. However, some ‘red tape’ issues need to be considered to ensure that your new conservatory complies with relevant laws and legislation.

 

Conservatories are exempt from Building Regulations when:

  • They are built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres in floor area.
  • The walls and roof are substantially glazed with a transparent or translucent material, i.e. roof 75% and walls 50% glazed.
  • The conservatory is separated from the house by external quality walls, doors or windows.
  • Glazing meets the requirements for safety, so in a critical location the glazing needs to either:
    • Break in a way unlikely to cause injury,
    • Resist impact without breaking, or
    • Be shielded or protected from impact.

 

Conservatories often fall under Permitted Development, which means you can build them without Planning Permission. You should check with the building control officer at your local council, but you shouldn’t need permission if your conservatory:

  • Does not exceed four metres in height, and
  • Is no higher than your home’s roof.

 

Energy efficiency and temperature control

To enjoy your conservatory in any weather, it is important to maintain a comfortable temperature all year round, without having to ‘heat the street’. Modern conservatories are built using state of the art technology and thermally efficient materials to achieve this. You should look for:

  • Double-glazed A-rated glass – designed to keep the cold out and heat in.
  • Solar control glass – a hi-tech product developed to allow sunlight to pass through it, while radiating and reflecting away a large percentage of the sun’s heat, keeping your conservatory bright, without overheating.
  • Tinted glass – to always keep glare at an absolute minimum.
  • Window and door openings – it may sound obvious, but to ensure a flow of fresh air in summer and avoid condensation in winter you need to have adequate ventilation. French and bifold doors are popular to really let the outside in.

 

Safety and security

By following these guidelines, you can ensure your loved ones are kept safe and your home secure:

  • Doors and side panels, and where the glass in windows is within 800mm of floor you need to fit either strengthened or laminated safety glass that meets British Standard BSEN12600.
  • Windows should be fitted with modern high security locking systems e.g. shoot locks, which are exceedingly difficult to break. Make sure the locks comply with British Standards 6375 and for added peace of mind, ask for force-resistant hinges.

 

Maintenance

You want to maximise the time you spend relaxing in your conservatory, rather than cleaning and maintaining it. Luckily, today’s modern materials make that possible, if you choose:

  • Flooring that’s easy to clean, won’t fade in the sun and can stand up to heavy wear. Hard materials like stone, ceramic, encaustic and porcelain tiles are all good choices, that can be used both inside and out. Laminated, vinyl and engineered wood are attractive and sometimes more affordable choices and, like stone and tiles, can be used with underfloor heating.
  • Self-cleaning glass that breaks down dirt to stay crystal clear.
  • A uPVC frame that won’t discolour, rot or peel and requires no painting.

 

Adding a conservatory to your home can enhance your lifestyle and add value to your home but getting the right one is essential to reap the maximum benefits. Our team are on hand to help advice you on the best style, colours, shape and finishes, so you can enjoy your addition room for years to come.