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We’ve collated key information to help you fully understand the conservatory-buying process and to make sure that you get a truly inspired addition to your home.
Whatever the look of your new conservatory, there are plenty of design options for you to consider. The first choice you’ll make before embarking on your home improvements project is whether you opt for a conservatory / glazed extension, orangery or solid roof extension.
Let’s see how they compare.
Conservatories and glazed extensions are constructed primarily from glass. Where they differ from an orangery is that a typical conservatory has glass walls and a polycarbonate or glass roof. However, modern conservatories are much smarter than that. They incorporate all sorts of impressive technology, such as specialist glazing and insulated frames; meaning that they can be comfortable even in the heat of summer and in the chill of winter, creating a splendid space that can be enjoyed all year round.
Distinctive, with a fine pedigree, orangeries have their roots set in 15th and 16th Century Italy, when they were originally used to grow citrus fruit all year round, where the orangery’s large walls and a barrier of hardy plants were able to effectively protect the fragile trees. Later innovations added glass to trap heat, which is when they started to be used as social spaces. Orangeries usually feature solid brick pillars, large glazed windows and an enlightening lantern roof. Well insulated with a distinctive appearance, an orangery will add grandeur to any property.
For a more traditional look, a solid roof extension can integrate harmoniously with your existing property, depending upon the brickwork and roofing material used. A solid roof option is extremely thermally efficient, because it features integral insulation built in to the roofing system. It’s also an excellent option if you’re looking to revitalise an older conservatory.
When building a conservatory, naturally the construction begins from the ground up. Starting with the foundations and base, there is then a choice of uPVC, timber or aluminium for the walls, windows and doors. The structure is then finished with a polycarbonate, glass or solid roof. Component materials have developed a lot over the last decade, with enhanced glazing options and frame technology that benefit from improved energy efficiency, security and overall performance; when compared to models built in the last 20 to 30 years. Each material has its own individual features that should be considered when choosing which is most suitable for you.
The base is the first part of the build process when constructing a conservatory. In essence, it takes the weight of the finished structure to ensure that there is no future subsidence. It also creates a watertight barrier between the ground and the inside of the new structure to guarantee there will be no problems with damp or water ingress. The depth of the footings will depend upon a number of factors, including the size of the finished conservatory and its proximity to trees.
First, the area where the new structure is to be located will be levelled, then footings will be dug and filled with concrete. Next, a waterproof membrane will be laid across the whole base area, with a block of insulation material on top of that. Then concrete will be poured and tamped, to create a smooth, strong and completely watertight base on which to construct the new conservatory.
uPVC is probably the most common choice of conservatory material, and the most cost effective. uPVC conservatories are durable, low-maintenance and hold strong for many years. uPVC frames have developed even more so over the last decade, with enhancing performance on factors to do with temperature control and with more efficient insulation, as well as slowing down heat transfer to keep the conservatory cooler in the summer. There’s a wider choice when it comes to colour schemes, allowing us to offer an elegant design that will be consistent with the look of your property.
Aluminium conservatories have also come a long way in recent years. Aluminium frames offer strong structural design and require very little maintenance. The intrinsic strength of aluminium gives the frame greater durability over long periods of time. In coastal conditions, it’s a good option to withstand the elements. If you’re conscious of the environmental impact, aluminium is once again a fantastic choice. It’s widely accessible and can be recycled over and over again.
A well-constructed timber conservatory not only looks fantastic, but also offers great efficiency and durability over long periods of time. Upkeep requires slightly more maintenance than the other options, but nothing to be overly concerned by. The timber needs to be re-treated every couple of years to ensure the wood sustains its colour. Timber frames generally cost more, but are competitive on performance and give a superb, traditional appearance. For those with environmental considerations, timber solutions are eco-friendly as the wood comes from sustainable forests and can easily be adapted to fit any property. In short, they look great and offer brilliant possibilities.
Important for conservatories and orangeries alike, your glazing options are wide to make sure each model and build has the best security and energy efficiency.
Glazing technology has come on considerably in the last few years, with a new generation of glass offering a whole suite of properties to suit your specific needs. Even polycarbonate, that was once seen as a lesser option, boasts a range of benefits that make it a great affordable choice.
However, we use SMARTGLASS in our products because it offers a completely tailored solution, whatever your colour preference, location and design. In order to understand the different products, it is necessary to gain an overview about how their performance is measured.
U-Value measures heat loss through the glazed unit in winter months. The lower the U-Value, the warmer the room will be in winter.
G-Value shows the percentage of the sun’s heat able to pass through the unit. A G-Value of 40% means that 60% of the sun’s heat is reflected or absorbed by the glass, reducing heat build-up in the summer months.
Light Transmittance is the percentage of visible light able to pass through the unit. The lower the light transmittance, the lower the glare within the room.
True Self Clean does exactly that; it cleans itself. Using a specially coated glass, a chemical reaction physically breaks down and washes away dirt.
Warm Edge Technology – Using a spacer bar that’s up to 950 times less conductive than aluminium, this increases internal temperatures around the edges and vastly reduces condensation.
Which glass is best for me?
This depends entirely upon a number of factors, including your property’s orientation to the sun, the size of the structure and personal requirements. Our SMARTGLASS range offers a number of products with different G and Light Transmittance values to suit your specific needs.
The glass we use in the walls of our conservatories blocks out over 50% of the summer sun’s radiant heat, whilst being 20% better at retaining warmth in winter than ‘A-rated’ glazing. Available in a three-tier structure, it has other key features such as increased security, better acoustics and almost totally blocking out damaging UV light.
To see our SMARTGLASS brochure with full technical specification, please download our brochure here.
For the roof, you typically have three choices – the first is polycarbonate, which is light and easy to install. In addition, these days the material has excellent thermal efficiency properties; keeping the warmth in during the winter and the heat out during the summer, whilst being the most cost effective option.
The second is a glass roof and while this has an additional cost other plastic, state of the art glazing technology means that you can optimise the type of glass used in the roof, in relation to your conservatory’s orientation to the sun. This means the amount light and heat energy from the sun can be controlled, to give you the most comfortable environment inside as described in the section above. What’s more, you’ll be able to see the sky during the day and the stars at night.
The final choice is a solid roof with these systems, offering exceptional insulation and they can be finished with tiles that are sympathetic to your existing property.
Sometimes also known as an Georgian. A ﬂat-fronted style that offers excellent use of ﬂoor space, due to a square or rectangular internal shape.Find Out More
A high roof slope and the same ﬂoor space as a Georgian conservatory. The front panel of the roof remains upright, rather than sloping back to the centre as the Georgian conservatory does.Find Out More
Its distinguishing architectural feature, a bay front, with either an angled (3 bay) or slightly curved (5 bay) front, combined with a steeply pitched roof and ornate ridge.Find Out More
Ideal for properties with limited space under the eaves or an awkward area in which to ﬁt a conservatory. A lean-to offers a variable pitch to suit your home.Find Out More
T-Shaped conservatories take their name from the plan view of its design. Ideal for larger conservatories, a T-shape can combine lean-to and Edwardian style conservatories. This style is better suited to larger properties.Find Out More
P-Shaped also take their name from the plan view of its design. Ideal for larger conservatories, a P-shape can combine Edwardian and Victorian style conservatories. These styles are better suited to larger properties.Find Out More
Conservatories are typically considered to be Permitted Development, meaning they don’t require planning permission. Planning legislation has actually been relaxed in recent years, making it a far more straightforward process for you to add extra space to your home. However, it is still required under certain circumstances and these are summarised here for you.
Tell me more about planning permission
Our Designers are highly trained professionals who will listen to your requirements and offer you a solution that ultimately meets your needs.
All of our materials throughout our product range are put into production in the UK and fitted by our expert team of installers.
Our products are bespoke items designed to specifically suit you and your home. Book your FREE one hour Design Consultation today.
Once you send over a quote with your requests, we will send over one of our designers to go through a free consultation.
Our designers are highly trained professionals, who will listen to your requirements and offer a solution that ultimately meets your needs.
With the design process complete and the price agreed, your details will be passed onto your technical surveyor who will get in touch within an advised period of time to book your survey.
During the technical survey, every aspect of your installation is covered, including taking precise measurements, recording technical requirements and documenting all the fine details.
With your survey completed, details finalised and signed off, we then setup the following:
1. All materials are put into production in the UK.
2. We will schedule the delivery and installation of each stage of your build.
3. We will confirm when your installation will commence.