Planning, Designing and Installing Your Conservatory
If you’ve decided that a conservatory is for you, then you are going to have to undertake some hard planning and decision making before you rush ahead and get out your cheque book. Whilst having windows or new doors put in is largely a matter of cost, style and energy efficiency, with a conservatory you are essentially adding on an extra room to your home. It needs to fulfil its function as well as looking attractive both inside and out.
- Have a good idea what the room is going to be used for – whether it’s a play room, dining room or just somewhere to relax. You need to keep that in focus whilst you begin sorting out your requirements and looking for suitable suppliers and installers.
- Search online for different designs or take a trip round your local area to see what other people have done with similar, houses. If you have the confidence, then knock on their door and find out who installed their conservatory and whether they still have contact details.
- Decide on your budget and build a plan and search for conservatories that fit around the amount you have to spend rather than immediately exposing yourself to escalating costs because you spot something outside your means.
- Check with the local council about planning permission – you probably won’t need it but each council has their own tweaks to the rules and it’s better to be safe than sorry. There are also variations whether you are in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland.
- Do your research on conservatory designs and pick the one that fits in with the build and aesthetics of your house. That doesn’t mean you have to opt for an old fashioned design for an old house but that it should be something you are happy to live with over a number of years.
- The shape of your conservatory may well depend on the amount of garden space available and the location – don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. Measure the space that you have properly and try to visualise what it would look like as well as the space it will take away.
- Decide whether you want a prefabricated solution or one that is tailored and designed to your requirements. This is, of course, going to have an effect on the final price you pay especially if you need to hire someone like an architect.
- Get quotes from a number of suppliers and installers. As with double glazing, large national companies are not always the best option. Smaller, local businesses often offer better deals and a more personal service.
- Ask for references that you can contact from people who have had conservatories installed. Don’t be shy: call and ask if you can pop round to have a quick look.
- Check warranties and what these actually cover. You don’t want to have problems with your conservatory further down the line and find that there is no cover.
Type of Glass
As with windows and double glazing, there are different types of glass available and with so much of it in your conservatory you will want to ensure that you have the right sort. Different glazing may have different U values, meaning the amount of heat they lose, and there are brands such as specially strengthened laminate glass that are a better solution if you are worried about things falling on your conservatory. Then there are more expensive glass options such as curved, leaded and Georgian bars which are more suited to a bespoke design. You can even choose a ‘self-cleaning’ glass that has a special coating which can dissolve dirt and means you don’t have to spend your day washing those windows.
Frames for Conservatories
There are different materials that can be used for the frame of your conservatory such as uPVC, which doesn’t need to be painted, and wood, which may require a little more care over the years. Each has its own pros and cons and can greatly influence the look and feel of your conservatory. Find out more here.
Another issue you may want to consider is whether you want a conservatory that is entirely made of glass or has something like a dwarf wall incorporated into the design.
Conservatory Shapes and Sizes
Conservatory designs have come a long way in the last thirty or forty years and you can find one to fit any style of home from modern to older constructions. Whether you want a Victorian or Edwardian design or something more exotic, there are plenty of installers and suppliers out there who are willing to help. Discover the different styles of conservatory here.
Yes, you can install a conservatory yourself. Big chains such as B&Q and Homebase now supply prefab models in a variety of styles for as little as £2,000. It pays to have the installation carried out by a qualified builder though and the extra cost could save on a lot of heartache in the long run as well as make sure you are under full warranty.
There’s no doubt that having a conservatory built can add value to your property as well as providing extra space. It does, however, require a good deal of planning and thought before taking that next step. Opting for a DIY solution might seem like the most cost effective way to go but can bring numerous problems especially if your skills don’t quite match the job in hand.
Here are our final top three tips on planning, designing and installing your conservatory:
- Take your time before you commit to any particular solution.
- Take advantage of free evaluations to see what is on offer in your local area.
- When you are considering a particular installer or design, always have a cooling off period before you settle on a course of action.
Explore conservatory installers in your area.