What is a Conservatory? Conservatories originated in the 16th century and are typically a glass walled and roofed greenhouse attached to a home. Also referred to as sunrooms or orangeries, a conservatory brightens up any home with natural light. In colder climates, a conservatory is the ideal place to grow tropical plants. The addition of a conservatory can increase the value of the property.
Reasons to Build a Conservatory: A conservatory is a great way to provide a comfortable space to enjoy the outdoors. Many people in the UK use them as a breakfast nook, a reading room, or even a place to entertain guests. A conservatory can be added to your home as an extension, or it can serve as a stand-alone structure that complements your home's architecture and provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Conservatories come in several unique shapes and sizes, too, which gives you plenty of room for customization.
Styles of Conservatories: There are many different styles of conservatories. Some borrow from history and are constructed after Edwardian or Victorian architecture. More modern designs are also available as are bespoke conservatories, which are custom-designed to suit the aesthetics of your home. Conservatories can be big or small and made from a variety of materials. The only prerequisite for any conservatory is that it must allow in the maximum of amount of light.
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1) Polycarbonate roofing is a popular and versatile choice, as it is light but very strong. Polycarbonates are also available in a variety of colours and finishes. Despite the durability of polycarbonate, the pH of rain and domestic cleaning products can cause damage. Most companies provide regular maintenance packages and discounted repair services for polycarbonate roofs.
2) Glass is possibly the most popular option for conservatories. Glass roofing is available in a variety of tints, opacities and can be solar safe with a self-cleaning option. Glass is easily repaired, but may be more expensive than polycarbonate options. Both polycarbonate and glass roofs may have a coating applied to inhibit the growth of algae and moss.
3) Hardwood conservatories look quaint and traditional and are both aesthetically pleasing and durable. Hardwood conservatory roofs are weather-resistant, but do require regular maintenance to prevent insect infestation, mould growth and rot. Microporous satin and paint finishes can reduce the amount of maintenance required.
Double Glazed Conservatories Many conservatories use double glazing on windows to improve insulation, especially in colder climates. UPVC is one of the most common materials used, as this material is versatile and long lasting, requiring little to no maintenance. UPVC can be damaged during severe weather or by gouges in the material. UPVC is generally inexpensive, maintaining the energy-efficiency of your conservatory. Some UPVC materials can also include UV filters and solar protection, and are recommended for south facing conservatories.
Stand-Alone vs. Add-On Conservatories: When it comes to adding a conservatory to your property, you'll have two different choices available to you. Firstly, and the most popular choice, is to add your conservatory to your existing home, which is often then referred to as a "sunroom". This room is added just outside the front or back entrance, or a new set of sliding doors can be cut, and in its most simple form is much like a liveable porch area encased in glass. The benefits associated with adding a conservatory directly to your existing home are many, but most homeowners find that it's simpler and more cost-effective to run heating, cooling, and electricity to an add-on conservatory. It's also more viable for those who have smaller garden space.
The other option which is gaining popularity throughout the UK is a stand-alone conservatory that is not attached to your existing home. This is a great option for homeowners who do not want to change the structure or aesthetic appeal of their homes, but who still want to add a room that will enable them to enjoy the outdoors without being outside. These structures are popular in garden areas, and they're more useful for those who have larger plots. Conservatories may be attached to other structures, too, including garages and garden sheds.
DIY Dangers: Conservatories are specialised home extensions, requiring professional expertise even when maintaining and repairing the slightest damages. Working with glass can be extremely dangerous, and a fall through a glass panel could result in serious injury or even death. Improper repairs to wood and polycarbonate conservatories could end up costing you more in the long and put you at risk of personal injury.
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Your conservatory questions answered
- Do wood-effect conservatories cost more? Yes. Generally a wood-effect uPVC conservatory will carry a premium of around 10% when compared to a standard white uPVC conservatory build.
- What floor can I put in a conservatory? Almost any floor can be installed, from tile flooring to wood or even carpet. You will likely need a screed floor installed before you fit your floor.
- What are some other uses for conservatories? Conservatories can be used for sun porches, breakfast rooms, and seating areas, among other things.
- Where can conservatories be placed? Some common locations for conservatories are at the rear of your property, courtyard, on as an addition to a home or commercial building. Many people also add them to the front of their property to catch the sun.
- Should my conservatory be insulated? Any part of your home that is exposed to the outdoors should be insulated to help keep down your heating and cooling costs, and this includes a conservatory. It also will allow you to use the conservatory year-round.
- What are the advantages of installing a conservatory on my home? Installing a conservatory has the primary benefit of adding value to your home. It may also make a great playroom or sun room so that you can enjoy the view of your garden even when it is cold, windy, or raining outdoors.
- What features can be included in my conservatory to ensure it matches my home? We can include a tiled roof, boxed gutters, or even multi-colored siding to ensure your conservatory matches your existing structure as closely as possible.
- Are conservatories durable? Many different factors go into determining the durability of your conservatory. This includes the type of foundation built under it, the glass used in the walls, and even the overall quality of the materials and workmanship.
- How large can my conservatory be? In almost all cases, your conservatory can be as small or as large as you'd like, though this may depend on building regulations. Larger conservatories can seat more people comfortably, but smaller conservatories take up less space and are more cost-effective to build.
- Will I need to add a foundation to add a conservatory to my home? This depends on several unique factors, but in most cases the safest option does involve digging and pouring a foundation before attaching a conservatory to your home. Without a foundation, the conservatory could shift or sink over time, and because it is attached directly to your home, it could cause structural damage. A foundation will help prevent this.
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