A Guide to Choosing the Right Conservatory

Would you like to create more space in your home, but an extension is out of the question? Choosing the right Conservatory for your home and style

Well, hundreds of homeowners each year decide that a conservatory does the job just as well providing somewhere to relax, dine, or socialise. However, the addition of a conservatory to your home is not a decision to be made lightly. 

There a few things you should think about carefully before jumping in to pick one out. The first thing we suggest you consider, which may sound like an obvious point to make but you’ll be surprised at how many people get confused, is whether what you are looking for is in fact a conservatory and not a sun room. Ultimately this will affect not only the cost but whether or not you need planning permission and what building regulations will apply.

According to Fensa the correct definition of a conservatory is as follows:

  • No less than 65% of the roof area is made from translucent material
  • No less than 50% of the wall area is made from translucent material
  • It is either unheated or heated by a system with its own and separate heating controls
  • It must be separated from the main residence by ‘external’ doors

A sun room on the other hand is generally categorised as a single-story extension. If you decide that, yes it is a conservatory that you want and have agreed upon your budget it is time to begin thinking about the following questions:

How Will You Use Your Conservatory?

The design you choose is largely dependent on how you intend to use your new conservatory. So the first thing you should ask yourself is why do you want more space, what will you use it for? For example a Lean To conservatory would ideally suit a smaller extension to make the most of your available space. Orangeries on the other hand are the perfect solution if you are looking to extend your kitchen and accommodate a large dining table for your friends and family.

What Style Conservatory Do You Want?

On the whole there are generally two conservatory designs you can choose from: traditional and contemporary. Traditional designs such as Victorian conservatories are ideally suited for period properties to blend in with their current aesthetics. Contemporary conservatories on the other hand are on the whole bespoke, modern designs suited to newer homes. Of course, you are not limited to this and the decision is yours regardless of what type of property you own.

What Shape Conservatory Should You Choose?

Again, this decision relies largely on how you intend to use your new conservatory space. A gable conservatory offers a steep pitched roof with lots of light and additional height whilst a lantern conservatory is designed with 2 tiers with additional ceiling height in the shape of a large lantern.

Many people assume that you can get your hands on a rectangular or square conservatory. However, there are a number of alternative options such as P & T shape conservatories which offer extra space and a unique looking design, whilst Lean To conservatories are an excellent solution when making the most of your outside space.

What Type of Roof Do You Want?

There are only 2 choices to consider for your conservatory roof: plastic and glass. Plastic roofs are most commonly made from polycarbonate available with up to 5 layers. Between each layer of plastic an air gap provides added insulation to ensure your conservatory is correctly insulated all year round. However, it is important to note that the more layers you have reduces the amount of available light.

Both lighter and cheaper than a glass roof, plastic is a fine option for many. However, translucent plastic will never be as clear as glass and for this reason many turn away from it. However, you should consider the area where you live, as plastic can be especially attractive to those who live in built up or exposed areas wishing for some degree of privacy.

Glass however is both heavier and more expensive than plastic but with double glazing and multiple finishes available it is a considerably better insulator. Due to the extra weight of this material glass can be more difficult to fit and will require a stronger conservatory frame.

Many homeowners are attracted by the addition of glass roofing as it is generally more impervious to stains and dirt from outside conditions. Whether you decide on glass or plastic you should ensure that there is a 25-degree slope on the rood as this will ensure a cleaner conservatory compared to a shallower pitched roof. At the end of the day, the type of roof you have depends entirely on your own preferences and your conservatory budget.

Insulating Your Conservatory

It is essential to ensure you get good quality windows to guarantee you can make the most of your conservatory all year round whilst saving on both heating and cooling costs. Unlike single glazed panels, double glazing creates an effective barrier against both heat and noise. Other than insulating your home from outside weather conditions you should ensure that the glass is laminated not only to reduce the strength of the sun’s rays but for added security measures. You may also wish to consider blinds to keep the room cooler during warm days and radiators throughout the winter (note: as mentioned before this must be as system with its own set of controls).

For Help and Advice

We understand that a conservatory is a big investment whatever your budget. That is why the team at Crystal Clear are on hand to assist you on what you need. To discuss design concepts and for expert advice on what will suit your specific requirements and needs give us a call on 0117 9717 880