Choosing the right conservatory can be tricky. With so many styles to choose from, how do you know what’s right for you and your home?
If you’re actively looking to add a conservatory to your home, this article will help you find your way through the seemingly endless list of flooring, roofing and wall options, as well as pick the best design for your property.
In this article, we’ll be covering:
- How much a conservatory or lean-to costs
- What affects the price of a conservatory
- How to save money on a conservatory installation
- What’s involved in building a conservatory
- How to find and hire a contractor to build a conservatory
If you want to give your home a revamp without causing too much disruption, keep reading to find out if a conservatory or lean-to might be the answer you’re looking for.
How Much Does a Conservatory or Lean-to Cost?
First of all, let’s take a look at the associated costs when it comes to different types of conservatories.
|CONSERVATORY STYLE||CONSERVATORY SIZE||ROOF MATERIAL||ESTIMATED COST|
|Victorian||3500mm x 3500mm||Glass||£7,250 to £8,750|
|Victorian||3500mm x 4000mm||Glass||£7,500 to £9,000|
|Victorian||4000mm x 4000mm||Glass||£8,250 to £9,750|
|Victorian||3500mm x 3500mm||Polycarbonate||£6,250 to £7,750|
|Victorian||3500mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£6,750 to £8,250|
|Victorian||4000mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£7,250 to £8,750|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 3500mm||Glass||£7,500 to £8,500|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 4000mm||Glass||£8,000 to £9,000|
|Edwardian||4000mm x 4000mm||Glass||£8,500 to £9,500|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 3500mm||Polycarbonate||£6,500 to £7,500|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£7,000 to £8,000|
|Edwardian||4000mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£7,500 to £8,500|
|Gable||3500mm x 3500mm||Glass||£7,500 to £8,500|
|Gable||3500mm x 4000mm||Glass||£8,000 to £9,000|
|Gable||4000mm x 4000mm||Glass||£8,500 to £9,500|
|Gable||3500mm x 3500mm||Polycarbonate||£6,500 to £7,500|
|Gable||3500mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£7,000 to £8,000|
|Gable||4000mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£7,500 to £8,500|
|P-shaped||3500mm x 3500mm||Glass||£8,250 to £9,250|
|P-shaped||3500mm x 4000mm||Glass||£8,250 to £9,250|
|P-shaped||4000mm x 4000mm||Glass||£9,500 to £10,500|
|P-shaped||3500mm x 3500mm||Polycarbonate||£7,750 to £8,750|
|P-shaped||3500mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£8,250 to £9,250|
|P-shaped||4000mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£8,750 to £9,750|
Dating back over 150 years, the Victorian style of conservatory, with its emphasis on a panoramic view of outside areas through a bay window, has never gone out of fashion.
Victorian conservatories start at between £6,250 to £7,750 for a 3,500 by 3,500 millimetres polycarbonate structure, with glass options beginning at £7,250 to £8,750 for the same size.
Arguably the type of conservatory that feels the biggest on the inside thanks to its rectangular design, Edwardian conservatories, sometimes called reverse drop or hipped-back conservatories, are Britain’s second favourite conservatory style.
A glass Edwardian style conservatory of 3,500 by 3,500 millimetres will cost around £7,500 to £8,500, with a polycarbonate version costing £6,500 to £7,500.
For gable conservatories, think Grand Designs in the late 19th century. The roofs on gable conservatories are enormous and the light it lets in makes them feel just as much part of your outdoor space as your indoor living space.
A gable style of 3,500 by 3,500 millimetres comes in at £7,500 to £8,500 for glass, and polycarbonate is £6,500 to £7,500 for the same size.
P-shaped conservatories take the very best bits from both the Victorian and lean-to styles but they do so on a much grander scale. It’s like having a conservatory with an extension and a separate room of its own.
This tends to come at a higher price, so a 3500 by 3500 millimetre sized glass P-shaped conservatory will set you back by £8,250 to £9,250, and a polycarbonate option will be £7,750 to £8,750.
As you can see, the style you choose affects the price you’ll expect to pay greatly. For more ornate styles, like the P-shaped variant, you can look to pay around £1,000 more as a base price than you would for a gable option.
Let’s consider the dwarf wall conservatories next. If you choose to have a dwarf wall installed with your conservatory, you’ll be ramping up the overall price considerably when compared to conservatories with no base.
|CONSERVATORY STYLE||CONSERVATORY SIZE||ROOF MATERIAL||ESTIMATED COST|
|Victorian||3500mm x 3500mm||Glass||£12,000 to £13,500|
|Victorian||3500mm x 4000mm||Glass||£13,000 to £14,500|
|Victorian||4000mm x 4000mm||Glass||£13,750 to £15,000|
|Victorian||3500mm x 3500mm||Polycarbonate||£11,000 to £12,500|
|Victorian||3500mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£12,000 to £13,500|
|Victorian||4000mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£13,000 to £14,500|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 3500mm||Glass||£9,500 to £11,000|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 4000mm||Glass||£12,000 to £13,500|
|Edwardian||4000mm x 4000mm||Glass||£14,500 to £16,000|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 3500mm||Polycarbonate||£10,000 to £11,500|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£11,250 to £12,500|
|Edwardian||4000mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£13,500 to £15,000|
|Gable||3500mm x 3500mm||Glass||£12,500 to £14,000|
|Gable||3500mm x 4000mm||Glass||£13,500 to £15,000|
|Gable||4000mm x 4000mm||Glass||£14,500 to £16,000|
|Gable||3500mm x 3500mm||Polycarbonate||£11,500 to £13,000|
|Gable||3500mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£12,750 to £14,500|
|Gable||4000mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£13,750 to £15,500|
|P-shaped||3500mm x 3500mm||Glass||£13,250 to £15,000|
|P-shaped||3500mm x 4000mm||Glass||£14,000 to £16,000|
|P-shaped||4000mm x 4000mm||Glass||£15,250 to £17,000|
|P-shaped||3500mm x 3500mm||Polycarbonate||£12,500 to £14,000|
|P-shaped||3500mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£13,500 to £15,000|
|P-shaped||4000mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£14,250 to £16,000|
A dwarf wall is essentially a low wall of less than one metre in height that acts as a base around the perimeter of construction work. They act as a strong base for heavy windows and help to support the entire structure, which is important for the longevity and durability of your conservatory.
Victorian conservatories start at between £12,000 to £13,500 for a 3,500 by 3,500 millimetres glass structure, with polycarbonate options beginning at £11,000 to £12,500 for the same size.
Adding a dwarf wall is an additional cost, but it does add structural integrity to your conservatory. It’ll ensure longevity over a long period, so can be a worthwhile investment if you want to avoid costly repairs over time.
Next up are fully glazed conservatories.
|CONSERVATORY STYLE||CONSERVATORY SIZE||ROOF MATERIAL||ESTIMATED COST|
|Victorian||3500mm x 3500mm||Glass||£9,250 to £10,750|
|Victorian||3500mm x 4000mm||Glass||£11,000 to £12,500|
|Victorian||4000mm x 4000mm||Glass||£12,000 to £13,500|
|Victorian||3500mm x 3500mm||Polycarbonate||£9,500 to £11,000|
|Victorian||3500mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£10,250 to £11,750|
|Victorian||4000mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£11,000 to £12,500|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 3500mm||Glass||£8,250 to £9,750|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 4000mm||Glass||£10,250 to £11,750|
|Edwardian||4000mm x 4000mm||Glass||£12,500 to £14,000|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 3500mm||Polycarbonate||£8,000 to £9,500|
|Edwardian||3500mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£9,500 to £11,000|
|Edwardian||4000mm x 4000mm||Polycarbonate||£11,500 to £13,000|
These generally sit somewhere between the cost of no base and dwarf walled conservatories, with an Edwardian 3,500 by 3,500-millimetre size costing between £8,250 and £9,750 for a glass option.
Lean-to conservatories are the most popular types of conservatory for homeowners on a budget. They’re called lean-to conservatories because the roof leans down from the wall to cover the three sides of the conservatory adjacent to your home.
|CONSERVATORY DESIGN||CONSERVATORY SIZE||ROOF MATERIAL||ESTIMATED COST|
|No base||3500mm x 2000mm||Glass||£4,500 to £5,500|
|No base||3500mm x 2500mm||Glass||£5,250 to £6,250|
|No base||4000mm x 2000mm||Glass||£4,750 to £6,000|
|No base||4000mm x 2500mm||Glass||£5,500 to £6,500|
|No base||3500mm x 2000mm||Polycarbonate||£4,250 to £5,250|
|No base||3500mm x 2500mm||Polycarbonate||£4,750 to £5,750|
|No base||4000mm x 2000mm||Polycarbonate||£4,500 to £5,500|
|No base||4000mm x 2500mm||Polycarbonate||£4,750 to £6,000|
|Dwarf wall||3500mm x 2000mm||Glass||£7,250 to £8,750|
|Dwarf wall||3500mm x 2500mm||Glass||£8,750 to £10,250|
|Dwarf wall||4000mm x 2000mm||Glass||£7,750 to £9,750|
|Dwarf wall||4000mm x 2500mm||Glass||£9,250 to £10,750|
|Dwarf wall||3500mm x 2000mm||Polycarbonate||£6,750 to £8,250|
|Dwarf wall||3500mm x 2500mm||Polycarbonate||£8,000 to £9,500|
|Dwarf wall||4000mm x 2000mm||Polycarbonate||£7,500 to £9,000|
|Dwarf wall||4000mm x 2500mm||Polycarbonate||£8,750 to £10,250|
|Fully glazed||3500mm x 2000mm||Glass||£6,250 to £7,750|
|Fully glazed||3500mm x 2500mm||Glass||£7,250 to £8,750|
|Fully glazed||4000mm x 2000mm||Glass||£6,750 to £8,250|
|Fully glazed||4000mm x 2500mm||Glass||£7,750 to £9,250|
|Fully glazed||3500mm x 2000mm||Polycarbonate||£5,750 to £7,250|
|Fully glazed||3500mm x 2500mm||Polycarbonate||£6,750 to £8,250|
|Fully glazed||4000mm x 2000mm||Polycarbonate||£6,250 to £7,750|
|Fully glazed||4000mm x 2500mm||Polycarbonate||£7,250 to £8,750|
These are generally the most cost-effective option as they rely on the existing structure of your home to be built upon. For a 3,500 by 3,500-millimetre size, you can expect to pay between £4,500 and £5,500 for a glass variant.
Lean-tos are a great way of adding a little extra space to your home without costing through the roof and can be replaced after a few years for something more substantial if desired.
Are you ready to upgrade your home with a conservatory? HouseholdQuotes can help you find the right builder.
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What Affects the Cost of a Conservatory?
There are plenty of features that’ll affect the cost of your conservatory, from the size and style to the type of roof you choose and the material the frame is made from.
Let’s go through them one by one so you can see what brings prices up and what can help to lower them if your budget is tight.
Style or Shape
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to conservatories: the choices span from Victorian, Edwardian, Gable, P/T/L shapes to orangeries and lean-tos.
As their names would suggest, Victorian and Edwardian styles are the most traditional, but installing a lean-to conservatory can be a great way to reduce overall costs as well as the time it takes to install the structure itself.
Conservatory Wall and Base
There are two types of wall you can choose for your conservatory – either a dwarf wall with the framing placed on top or you can choose to have your conservatory walls entirely made of double-glazing panes.
Having a dwarf wall adds to the cost of your conservatory but, for a variety of different reasons, it’s the most popular choice for homeowners.
A dwarf wall provides really strong support for the frame of your conservatory – that’s important if you choose a heavier glass or standard-tiled roof. Generally, dwarf walls extend to about a metre in height from the ground.
Glazed Wall (top to bottom)
Fully-glazed conservatory walls which reach from the base right to the roof are certainly more in fashion at the moment. Open many home improvement magazines and you can see some beautiful and elegant glass wall conservatories.
They’re cheaper than dwarf walls but there are extra considerations you’ll have to take into account, including:
- Security – will the all-glazed walls be strong enough to resist intruders? If that’s a concern, make sure you ask your installer about toughened glass and whether or not they offer stronger security frames to resist someone trying to prize the panes apart
- Strength – you may be constrained on your desired choice of roof with a glazed wall because the frame will have to be strong enough to support the roof
- Insulation – the dwarf wall on a conservatory will insulate it more than a glazed wall. Ask your installer to give you an educated assessment for your particular situation on whether having a fully glazed wall will require a more expensive type of glass to keep the cold out and the warmth in.
Choice of Frame Material
Installers will generally offer you three choices on the frame of your conservatory – the bit between either the ground or the top of the dwarf wall and the roof.
UPVC Conservatory Frames
Still the most popular choice for homeowners, UPVC technology has come on a long way in the last 30 years. It’s not prone to fading anymore, fit quality is a lot better because of more precise measurement tools, and they’re more durable than ever.
Most UPVC installations are in the classic white shade, but your installer will be able to offer you a variety of different colours to suit your style and needs.
Of the three options, UPVC requires the least amount of maintenance and it is the cheapest, which is a point of particular interest to homeowners operating on a tighter budget.
|CONSERVATORY STYLE||FRAME MATERIAL||ESTIMATED COST|
|Lean-to||uPVC||£5,750 to £7,600|
|Victorian||uPVC||£8,000 to £10,500|
|Edwardian||uPVC||£8,000 to £10,000|
|P-shaped||uPVC||£8,500 to £10,500|
|T-shaped||uPVC||£11,000 to £13,000|
|L-shaped||uPVC||£11,000 to £13,000|
|Orangery||uPVC||£14,000 to £50,000|
A 3×3 UPVC frame lean-to costs from £5,750 to £7,600, a 3×3 UPVC frame conservatory ranges in price from £8,000 to £13,000 depending on the shape, and an orangery costs anywhere from £14,000 to £50,000.
Metal Conservatory Frames
Of the three frame options, metal conservatories (usually made of aluminium) are the longest-lasting – you can expect at least 50 years’ resistance to wear and tear if you choose this for your conservatory.
Metal frames undergo extensive weathering and drying treatment before leaving the factory, making them incredibly tough, warp- and distortion-proof – and they won’t rust.
Just like UPVC frames, you can choose from a range of colours to suit your home and your personality. In terms of maintenance, a rub-down every six months or so is all you need to do.
Wooden Conservatory Frames
This is the frame that everyone wants, but because the raw material is so expensive due to treatments the wood undergoes before being sent to your installer, it’s not the most budget-friendly option for homeowners.
Of the three types of frames, they need the most maintenance, and you’ll need to repaint your frames every three or four years to weatherproof them.
Here are some quotes to give you an idea of the price difference between wood and UPVC for a 3.5 square metre conservatory:
|CONSERVATORY STYLE||CONSERVATORY SIZE||FRAME MATERIAL||ROOF MATERIAL||ESTIMATED COST|
|Edwardian||3500 x 3500||Wood||Glass||£13,500 to £15,000|
|Edwardian||3500 x 3500||uPVC||Glass||£9,500 to £11,000|
|Lean-to||3500 x 3500||Wood||Glass||£12,750 to £14,250|
|Lean-to||3500 x 3500||uPVC||Glass||£9,500 to £11,000|
|Victorian||3500 x 3500||Wood||Glass||£16,000 to £17,500|
|Victorian||3500 x 3500||uPVC||Glass||£12,000 to £13,500|
Choice of Roof Material
As we discovered earlier, your frame (and, if you choose one, your dwarf wall) must be strong enough to hold your conservatory roof in place. The roof you choose has a direct effect on both how much light gets into your conservatory and its overall heat- and noise-insulation qualities.
Double-Glazed Conservatory Roof
A glazed roof lets lots of light in, looks fantastic in your back garden, and can insulate against both noise and heat.
However, will it let too much light in during the long, hot summer days? Remember that a conservatory with a double-glazed roof is essentially a sun trap of its own and many homeowners feel that their conservatories are too bright at certain points of the day.
Because of their insulation properties, they can also retain a lot of heat and are sometimes too warm to sit in.
When it rains heavily, depending on the noise insulation properties of your double-glazed roof, the sound of the rain hitting the roof may occasionally be very loud, drowning out any sound you want to hear like music or from your television.
What you choose is a decision for you based on what you like – most homeowners don’t mind these issues but some stay clear of a glazed roof for these reasons.
Polycarbonate Conservatory Roof
Polycarbonate shares many of the same qualities as a double-glazed roof, but it’s by far the most affordable option available. Polycarbonate also has the advantage of being much lighter than double-glazing.
This means that, in most cases, you won’t need to ask your installer to reinforce the frame to hold it up.
Many installers find polycarbonate roofing much easier and quicker to instal on conservatories. So, as well as cost-saving on the materials, installation costs are typically lower too.
You can save even more by choosing a thinner type of polycarbonate for your conservatory roof. However, bear in mind that thinner polycarbonate doesn’t insulate as well, so your conservatory could be hotter in the summer and chillier in the winter.
Looks-wise, most people can’t tell the difference between a polycarbonate conservatory roof and a double-glazed conservatory roof.
Classic Tiled Conservatory Roof
More and more homeowners are investing in new tiled roofs to put on top of their existing conservatory, so why not choose a classic tiled roof from the start?
Tiled conservatory roofs have several unique advantages, including:
- Superior insulation to double-glazed and polycarbonate roofs
- It’s easier to get the temperature inside your conservatory just as you want it
- You can add as many rooflights as possible to let in as much daylight as you like
- Much better at insulating noise from the outside
- Condensation is rarely a problem
- Lots of other personalisation options are available
However, it’s good to remember that the length of time it takes to instal your conservatory increases greatly with a classic tiled roof, and your installer may have to subcontract to a trained roofer on more complex installations, further adding to the cost.
System Tiled Conservatory Roof
Guardian conservatory roofs and Supalite conservatory roofs are pre-assembled before being shipped out for delivery to your installer at your home. Your installer sends in the dimensions of your conservatory and, although it’s not quite as simple as this, they essentially drop the roof onto the top of your new conservatory and fasten it on tightly.
System tiled conservatory roofs offer virtually identical benefits to the classic tiled roofs, but for many homeowners who are either getting a new conservatory installed or their existing roof replaced, there are a few important advantages:
- Installation is much faster than for classic tiled roofs
- System tiled conservatory roofs tend to be much lighter than classic tiled roofs
- You can specify in great detail how you want both the inside and the outside of your roof to look – particularly important when it comes to matching against brick and house roof colours, styles, and hues.
Choice of Glazing
Although you may choose a polycarbonate or a tiled roof for your conservatory, the walls of your conservatory are always constructed from double glazed or triple glazed frames. The type of glazing you choose will have a direct impact on the price you pay.
Your installer will be able to give you seven different options to choose from for your conservatory. Those choices are:
Standard Conservatory Glass
This is the most common type of glass used in conservatories and double glazing installations. Standard glass (sometimes known as annealed glass) is cheap and incredibly tough.
Between the two (or three) panes of glass, the manufacturer inserts argon gas which, when combined with the solid glass, absorbs shocks well which means it’s a great sound insulator.
Appearance-wise, the glass looks just like all the other types of glazing you can choose except for the decorative glass.
Self-Cleaning Conservatory Glass
If the level of maintenance your conservatory needs is a major consideration, you might want to consider self-cleaning conservatory glass.
In addition to cleaning itself, this type of glazing is widely recognised by both installers and homeowners for its superior heat and noise installation.
Self-cleaning conservatory glass works both when it’s rainy and when it’s dry. It does this by using a really thin layer of a type of metal called titanium dioxide.
It lets slightly less light into your conservatory than standard conservatory glass, but most homeowners genuinely struggle to tell the difference.
The UV rays from the sun cause the glass to grab any water molecules in the general atmosphere. When it does this, the water and the titanium dioxide react and that reaction breaks down all the organic materials that have built up on your window.
When it rains, it’s all cleared away.
However, you don’t need rain to keep your windows clean. Moisture is taken from the air, and the reaction with the titanium dioxide breaks down anything organic that’s stuck to your window.
After a while, the water on the window turns into a film that is pushed down by gravity, taking the dirt with it. Self-cleaning glass is often up to 20% more expensive than standard glass.
Low E Conservatory Glass
Low E conservatory glass is a type of glass specially manufactured to keep homes and conservatories cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
It does this by using a transparent coating made of metal, which lets heat in from the outside but bounces any heat trying to escape from indoors back inside.
This type of glass could be up to 25% more expensive than standard glass.
Noise Control Conservatory Glass
Many homeowners want their conservatory to be an oasis of quiet and calm. If you live in a built-up residential area where there are lots of kids, garden parties every summer, or you’re near a main road, sometimes the noise will travel through the glass.
Noise control glass reduces the amount of sound coming in through your windows by up to three quarters, according to scientific reports.
This variety of glass can be up to 25% more expensive than standard glass.
Decorative Conservatory Glass
If you like the look of stained glass, etched glass, or the colours caused when different glass is melted and sealed together, it is possible to incorporate those features onto your conservatory double glazed windows.
Ultimately, your conservatory is not only an extension of your home but an extension of your personality too. So, if you want to personalise it, there is a wide variety of choices, colours, styles, and flourishes available to you – make sure to ask your installer what’s available.
This will, of course, cost more than standard conservatory glass and the premium you’ll pay will depend on the level of complexity in the choices that you make.
The price of decorative conservatory glass varies depending on the artistic features you choose, but you should expect to pay more for this than standard glass.
Toughened Conservatory Glass
Toughened glass is essentially the same as standard conservatory glass but because of the extra treatment it undergoes during manufacture, it’s four times stronger.
Should anything hard enough hit the glass to cause it to break, it shatters into very small pieces instead of into long and pointy pieces which may cause a danger of injury to any children or pets who share your home with you.
You may sometimes hear toughened conservatory glass referred to as tempered conservatory glass.
Toughened glass is often up to 25% more expensive than standard glass.
Laminated Conservatory Glass
Just like the toughened conservatory glass, this offers homeowners extra safety in case the glass breaks. Your car’s windshield is made out of laminated glass and if you’ve ever seen one break, you’ll notice it forms a type of spider-shaped shatter which is held in place by a plastic interlayer on both sides of the pane of glass.
Laminated conservatory glass, in terms of its strength, is the same as toughened conservatory glass. However, it’s also among the most expensive types of glass; you could pay up to 40% more for it compared to standard glass.
Choice of Flooring
Another important choice to make is the type of flooring you choose for your conservatory. Speak to a potential installer about underfloor heating and get their opinion on the type of flooring that would work best for you.
Easy to clean and available in a wide range of colours, materials, styles, and finishes, floor tiles are the most popular choice – and they’re very competitively priced too.
Bear in mind though that if you don’t install underfloor heating, the tiles may be cold to walk on during winter.
Aesthetically, wooden flooring is the most pleasing to the eye – they have a timeless elegance about them and there’s a high price to pay for that.
Wooden flooring will expand and contract depending on how warm your conservatory is and they’re also more likely to suffer damage in conservatories with lower levels of insulation.
Laminate flooring now looks so good that, until you put your feet on it, you can be tricked into thinking that it’s real wood.
Laminate flooring is considerably cheaper than its wooden alternative, although it is much easier to damage as well as being prone to suffer from warping.
Warm to walk on during the winter, vinyl flooring is an attractive option for homeowners on a budget.
Vinyl flooring is prone to remember where items of furniture have been placed on it so if you do go for a big shift around at a later point or you swap your furniture, there will be little dents in the vinyl reminding you of where the furniture once was.
Carpet flooring is the cheapest option for your conservatory and it’s great for protecting little ones against bumps and falls if you intend for your conservatory to be an extra playroom for the kids.
Carpets are difficult to clean and are also prone to colour fade over time.
How Can I Save Money on a Conservatory for My Home?
Comparing quotes is a great way to potentially reduce the cost of your conservatory. HouseholdQuotes can help you get quotes from multiple builders near you, so that you can find someone that suits your budget.
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It’s easy to see how conservatory costs can quickly pile up high – but there are some ways you can be savvy with your spending to reduce the project fee.
Are you thinking of using the space for a garden room for use in the warmer months, or do you want the conservatory to be an extension of your home that you can use throughout the year?
This decision needs to be made early on as it’ll likely affect the design choices you’ll make, such as dwarf walls versus glazed walls, or the choice of roofing you want. If you’re considering using the room as a bedroom, this will be a big choice as it’ll affect the amount of noise created by rainfall.
Further to this, knowing where you’ll need plug points and sockets to be installed will help you from ripping out areas once the conservatory is already built if you’re not properly considering how the space will be used in the first instance.
Planning will always be the most cost-effective route, so try to do this as extensively as possible before construction begins.
If you’re wanting to keep things within budget, choosing a simple design over a complex one is a simple switch to make. Especially if the conservatory is only going to be used during parts of the year instead of all year-long, you can afford to cut some corners.
However, if the space is to be used all the time, such as a bedroom or as a kitchen, you can look to save money along the way by buying appliances and fittings in sales. This way, you can get hold of the items over a longer period and won’t be constrained to buying things within a certain time limit which can cause you to buy items at full price without choice.
To cut costs, you can consider opting for a lean-to in place of a conservatory. They are cheaper than regular conservatories, as well as quicker to assemble and offer a range of options for use.
In the summer months, you can double up the space as a greenhouse, or use it as an extension to your main entertaining space to have an area to spill out into your garden.
How Do I Know if a Conservatory Is the Right Choice for My Home?
With something as potentially as expensive as a conservatory, you’ll want to be sure that your choice is the right one for you. Let’s take a look at some key advantages and disadvantages.
|Increases the value of your home||Can become hot in warmer months if direct sunlight is not properly accounted for|
|Gives you a link to the garden without being actually outside||Comparatively, it can also lose heat rapidly in the cooler months which can impact your heating bills|
|Increases your home’s square footage||Some conservatories will require maintenance, especially on the roof|
|Wide variety of styles available to suit different house types||Polycarbonate is cheaper than glass, but can look less premium as a result|
|Cheaper than having a traditional extension|
The main advantages of adding a conservatory to your home is the added square footage it affords you, giving your home a larger feel, while adding value to your home. You will also have a good spot to sit and admire the garden even if it’s cold or raining outside.
Looking at the disadvantages, you can expect maintenance to be an ongoing issue, especially with the roof, which will be something you’ll need to keep on top of. In some instances, it might make more sense to have a traditional extension instead of a conservatory, but that should be determined on a case-by-case basis.
What’s Involved in Building a Conservatory or Lean-To?
Depending on whether you’ve settled for a conservatory or lean-to will impact the steps taken to build the structures.
Your conservatory base will be established first, which will need digging and levelling out to take place to create a stable foundation to build upon. Concrete will be added, along with the damp course.
The walls will then be built, which is where dwarf walls will appear if chosen, along with external sills and frames. Once this is stable, the roof will be added on top, completing the external structure.
Inside will then be fitted with a floor, along with any required electrics and fittings to get the room running as you want it to.
How Do I Find and Hire Someone to Build a Conservatory?
Finding the right builder can be challenging. At HouseholdQuotes, we can connect you to conservatory builders in your area.
Click the button below to tell us more about your project, and we’ll help you find someone quickly and easily:
When choosing an installer for your new conservatory, we recommend your contractor has a membership of one, some, or all of the following:
- Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF)
- The Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA)
- Certification and Self-Assessment (CERTASS)
As we’ve seen, getting a conservatory can be a complicated affair for many homeowners. If you have a strong idea in mind about what you’re looking for, the best thing to do is to get three or four companies out to quote you.
By being able to compare quotes, you’ll get a good idea about whether what an installer is charging you represents a fair price. As a bonus, when installers know they’re in competition with each other for your business, the price comes down and you end up getting more for your money.
If any of your friends, neighbours or family members have had work done recently, ask them if they’d recommend their contractor. This will save you from searching around on your own, and will likely guarantee a good work ethic and finish.
Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
Getting hold of a written quote is an essential part of the process – without this, contractors have free rein to go back on what they might’ve suggested to you verbally, and you haven’t got any proof to say otherwise.
If a contractor ever refuses to give you a written quote or proposal, it’s best to refuse to work with them as this is classic cowboy trader behaviour, and could stand to save you a lot of wasted time and money further down the line.
Finding out the trader’s experience is essential – you want to make sure your wants pair well with their abilities. Especially if you’re wanting your conservatory to double up as your kitchen, you’ll want someone comfortable working to those guidelines and considering add-ons like vents and air conditioning to make sure the space is fit for purpose.
Always ask for your contractor’s references, regardless of whether they’ve come from a word-of-mouth recommendation or not. This way, you can decide to work with them in an unbiased way and make up your mind based on their previous work and accolades.
Together with this, asking to see their portfolio or any video footage of previous jobs is a good way to wager the quality of their work. It’s easy enough for anyone to write good things on a website, but the proof is in the work itself, which can’t be disputed.
Finally, but most important not to be missed, is to check the trader has insurance to cover themselves and your home if any damages occur throughout the fitting.
When it comes to building a conservatory, preparation is key. Here’s our final checklist to make sure everything is considered before you get started on your project.
- What is the space’s purpose? A general entertaining room, or a bedroom or kitchen? Work this out beforehand as it’ll affect how the conservatory is built
- Do you need a conservatory, or would a lean-to conservatory work for your needs?
- Consider the type of flooring, roofing and walls – would the space benefit from a tiled roof, or dwarf walls?
- Gather a range of contractor’s quotes and make sure they are part of the GGF, FENSA, or CERTASS.
- Get a written quote, and ensure they have insurance in place before settling on any fee.
Use HouseholdQuotes to find local builders and potentially save money on your conservatory project.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between a Conservatory, a Lean-To, and an Orangery?
The main differences come in the shape of the roof. For a conservatory, the roof will typically be sloped or angled, with a lean-to conservatory always being one-sided.
Orangeries, on the other hand, will have a flat roof with a glazed lantern in the centre of the roof.
When Does a Conservatory Need Planning Permission?
You’ll need planning permission for your conservatory if you live in a listed building or conservation area or if your home is Directive 4-affected.
Also, if you’re planning for a conservatory that’s taller than 4 metres high, or extends more than three metres away from your back wall (or four metres for detached property owners), you’ll need to speak to Building Regulations first.
Are Conservatories Warm During the Winter?
A conservatory can be warm in winter, and it can be made even warmer by choosing additional insulation for your conservatory roof.
If you’re not sure if you want to add in insulation, or it’s something you’ve thought of after your conservatory has been built, then you can choose more temporary solutions like installing blinds, shutters and thermal curtains to keep things cosy.
What’s the Best Way to Heat a Conservatory?
A conservatory must have its own heating to qualify as being a conservatory. Jeff Howell of the Telegraph recommends that panel heaters or underfloor heating are best.
Will a Conservatory Add Value to My Home?
Recent research by Towergate Insurance examined the effect that installing a conservatory would have on the value of the average home, concluding that it would add 5% to the value of a property.
This means that an average-priced UK home (£228,384) would rise by £11,419 with the addition of a conservatory.
How Long Should I Expect an Installer to Take Putting up My Conservatory?
A conservatory of the size we’ve provided a range of quotes for in this article should take around three to four weeks to complete your installation including preparing the footings, foundation laying, floor levelling, wall building, settling, plastering, floor laying, general construction, finishing off and clean up.
Should I Ask For an Insurance-Backed Guarantee on My Conservatory?
It’s best to – it means that if your traders cease trading for any reason, another professional installer will repair your conservatory for you if things go wrong.
Can a Conservatory Be Extended?
Yes – so if you’ve moved into a new home and want the existing conservatory to be larger because you have a growing family who needs more room, you can make that happen.
When Does a Conservatory Become an Extension?
A conservatory becomes an extension if it’s more than 30 metres squared in size, it’s not at ground level, the glazing used in critical zones meets Part N of the building regulations, and it does not have its own heating (in other words, there’s thermal separation from the rest of your home).
Can a Conservatory Be Converted to an Orangery?
You can convert a conservatory into an orangery but it’s a complicated thing to achieve – certainly more complicated than extending your conservatory. As we’ve just discussed above, depending on the dimensions of your would-be orangery, you may need to get a hold of planning permission first.
Can a Conservatory Be Used as a Bedroom?
A conservatory can be used as a bedroom – but for a permanent bedroom, there are a few things to think about:
- It’s best to check the current insulation to see if it will stop the build-up of condensation inside the conservatory which could lead to mould
- Will it be warm enough during the winter? You may need to think about getting insulation for your conservatory roof to ensure the bedroom isn’t cold
- Consider noise pollution, particularly when it’s raining hard on your conservatory roof
Can a Conservatory Be Used as a Kitchen?
You can use your kitchen as a conservatory – but it’s good to know that they’re not generally installed for that reason, so you’ll need to get an installer on board to work with you to design a kitchen conservatory.
Just make sure to ask your installer about fitting air conditioning and vents in your conservatory if you decide to use it as a kitchen.
Can a Conservatory Have a Tiled Roof?
Yes – more and more homeowners are choosing tiled roofs for their new conservatories. Many others are replacing their existing conservatory roof with a tiled roof because of the additional benefits it brings over having a double-glazed or polycarbonate roof.
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