With the clocks going forward once again, the summer months suddenly feel rather close! Perhaps you’re already thinking ahead to how you can best make the most of those long evenings from the comfort of your own home?
The home improvement experts at Stormclad suggest that a new conservatory may be well worth a homeowner’s investment. Managing director, John Evans says: “Conservatories are a fantastic addition to a home because not only do they provide a relaxing space connecting homeowners to the outdoors – but they are cost-effective, well-insulated, they add value to a home, plus there are endless options for how homeowners can enjoy the additional space, such as a home office or children’s playroom; not to mention the wide variety of styles and materials they are often available in.
“We have put together a list of things we think homeowners should think about when one, deciding whether to have a conservatory installed or not and two, what to consider if they do choose to go for it.”
Do I, don’t I?
What are the benefits of having a conservatory? First of all, according to Location, Location, Location’s Phil Spencer, a conservatory can increase a home’s value by 7%1. Why? Conservatories increase the square footage of a home, spotlight surrounding views – especially if they are particularly pleasing – and if installed and styled well to really complement a home’s overall aesthetic, they become an extra desirable asset for a prospective buyer; not only in looks but functionality too.
Conservatories can also be made bespoke for a home so that they are made to measure to individually suit any property. Additionally, they generally do not require planning permission, are highly durable and weather-resistant and use insulation materials so that they remain at a comfortable temperature all year round. Plus, as a standard, conservatories are fitted with advanced locking security features so homeowners can be safe in the knowledge their home is both stylish and secure.
A new conservatory also means a lot of extra natural light so homeowners can perhaps cut back on some electricity bills and reduce their carbon footprint a little too – bonus!
A stylish extension
If you do decide to have a conservatory installed, carefully considering its style will be worth your time. No homeowner wants their conservatory to look as if it’s been randomly fixed on the side of their house – a conservatory should be an extension of a home, incorporating a home’s existing style, whether that be more modern or traditional.
So, what styles are generally available to you? Here’s a quick list:
- Edwardian – typical characteristics of an Edwardian conservatory include a rectangular base, pitched roof and large glass panels. A particularly elegant option.
- Victorian – in contrast, Victorian conservatories are generally semi-octagonal and thus more round in shape with ornate high roofs, reflecting the style of their era. Their roofs, however, slope towards the centre the same as an Edwardian style.
- Gable – gable-end conservatories can make quite the showpiece for any garden with their upright fronted roofs, maximizing height, light and space. These conservatories have a square or rectangular shape.
- Lean-to – possibly the simplest of conservatory designs available, lean-to conservatories with their low-pitched roofs leaning into the side of a house are perfect for bungalows and homes suffering from limited space. Homeowners should certainly take into account whether their house is one or two storeys when browsing their style of conservatory and what will suit it best, both in practicality and style.
- T-shaped – both stylish and versatile, T-shaped conservatories can be a dramatic addition to any home. With generous central bays reaching right out into the garden, these conservatories are particularly favourable for homes with panoramic views.
- P-shaped – the P-shaped conservatory is a combination of a lean-to extension and a Victorian conservatory, perfect for larger properties looking to make use of expansive grounds. These conservatories offer not one but two unique spaces: a rounded bay window area set alongside a traditional square or rectangle space.
- Custom – many installers will offer homeowners the choice to bespoke design their own conservatory from scratch, so if none of the above styles quite do the trick, this is perhaps an option worth considering.
Timber-effect, aluminium or uPVC?
Conservatories are generally always built with either timber material, uPVC or aluminium.
Timber-effect conservatories combine the authentic look of a wooden aesthetic with the structural and durable qualities of modern uPVC materials, thus avoiding issues such as rotting. Their life span is at least 25 years, they are natural flame retardant, both weather-proof and draught-proof and maintenance-free. Many also consist of multi-chambered frames meaning they can achieve A+ rated insulation as a standard.
Whilst they have a slightly shorter life span of 20 years and may require a small amount more maintenance, uPVC offer many of the same advantages as timber-effect conservatories – they are durable and secure, weather and draught-proof and will keep your home at a comfortable temperature. This material is certainly the cheapest out of the three, yet high-performing and the most common.
Aluminium conservatories are by no surprise the sturdiest and weather-resistant out of the three materials, but of course this makes them the priciest. With their impressive structural strength and cutting-edge energy-saving, thermal break technology, aluminium conservatories have a long-lasting performance of at least 30 years, are corrosion resistant and anti-fade.
All materials are often available in a wide range of colours and finishes with a variety of roof styles available too, such as polycarbonate, glass, tiled, or solid – that way, homeowners can choose whatever takes their fancy.
What can I use a conservatory for?
The great thing about a conservatory is that it is effectively another whole room for your home to do with whatever you please – a games room perhaps for the kids, a living room, an office, a dining room, even a kitchen, or simply a place to unwind and relax where a comfy armchair and a bookshelf is all you need.
Choosing a good supplier
It is so important to make sure you have shopped around and done your research for a supplier and installer that not only is going to complete the job well but for a good price and within a good time frame; you also want to make sure they know their stuff regarding planning permissions and any additional insurances you may need. The likelihood is that you won’t require any special planning permissions as conservatories are generally very straightforward, but it’s good to be safe in the knowledge that your supplier and or installer knows their stuff and can guide you accordingly.
You can always choose one company to supply the materials for your conservatory and another to install it. We would recommend however trying to find a reliable company that can do both, purely to avoid as many mishaps and miscommunications as possible – it’s just easier that way.