Conservatories are an increasingly popular extension option, largely due to:
- Improvements in double glazing technology that have made uPVC constructions very price-competitive, compared with a brick-built or wooden versions
- Conservatories are used to bridge the gap between home and garden, which is very useful for variable climates like the UK
- Being exempt from many building control regulations, subject to limits and conditions listed at each UK country’s planning portal.
Of course, your choice of materials will be influenced by the importance of your extension’s final look and your budget.
For example, wooden window frames are more expensive and higher maintenance than their uPVC equivalent, which are inappropriate for some homes.
Similarly, conservatory roofs can be made of plastic – this is a cheaper option than glass and will discolour quickly. But, for safety reasons, all conservatory sides have to be glazed.
Building a dwarf wall for the lower third of your conservatory will make it look and feel integral to your property but also increases the price.
As for the ‘style’ of conservatories, every manufacturer has its own label for each of its designs, making it a good idea to decide which elements appeal and finding the model you like best, eg one with simple geometric windows.
And the layout of your house and garden can affect the shape – and price – of your conservatory: basically, the simpler the look, the cheaper it will be, but don’t forget to budget for electricity, heating, fixtures and fittings.
How about a garden room?
An alternative to conservatories comes in the shape of a stand-alone garden room, ie a living area in the garden that isn’t attached to the house.
This type of extension can provide much-needed extra space, such as a guest bedroom or home studio, at a fraction of the cost of moving to a bigger property and without the associated hassles.
You can be very creative in your choice of design and materials too. Anything from a wooden tree house to a brick-built summerhouse or a stylish steel and glass office – your ideas are only limited by your imagination and getting the planning permission and Building
Regulations approval that are needed for most garden rooms.
If it’s is to be used all year round, your garden room will be more expensive because of the need for damp-proofing, insulation, lighting, heating and ventilation, not to mention any integral kitchen or bathroom facilities.