A wise soul once claimed that money cannot buy happiness, but that individual clearly did not buy a conservatory.
Conservatory quotes are plentiful online and the average price of a conservatory can vary substantially. Fortunately, Household Quotes offers a hugely user-friendly interface that requests a handful of details from you and in turn, will furnish you with up to three bespoke quotes from suppliers local to your address. There is also a conservatory price calculator to try. Taking this step will ensure that you are up to date on fully fitted conservatory prices in 2017.
Which of these suppliers that you choose is up to you, but national window and conservatory chains should be approached with a degree of caution. You may be familiar with their branding thanks to nationwide television advertising and locations, but this means that you are likely to pay through the nose for their services.
After all, nothing in this world is free, and these businesses will have extensive overheads to pay, such as unit rental, mass media advertising and hundreds more staff on the payroll.
Choosing a local business will ensure that you enjoy a personal experience complete with aftercare and advice, as well as curtailing the threat of strong-armed sales tactics and muddy price points that are set excessively high to leave room for negotiation from a confident haggler (conservatory costs from such suppliers are rarely transparent).
How much will my ideal conservatory cost?
Conservatory costs in 2017 vary from around £6,000 to up to £20,000, depending on what design to you decide to take on, the size of your property, and your location.
Enter your requirements into this quote request form for a firm idea of what you’re likely to spend, and recommendations on whom to approach for the work. Remember that quotes are not an exact science and extra funds should always be set aside for unexpected complications, but you will find this service invaluable.
You may be able to make a saving on construction without compromising on quality by investigating uPVC conservatories. uPVC is an increasingly popular choice, as it is often a cheaper alternative to pure glass or wood, while simultaneously retaining heat thanks to superior thermal performance.
Once you have decided that you wish to build a conservatory, you have another decision to undertake; the design that suits your home best. Here is a brief primer on your options.
Types of Conservatory
There are many variations of conservatory styles, and which design you decide upon will depend on how you intend to use yours. See below for a summary of the differing options.
Lean to Conservatory
Also referred to as the Dwarf Wall conservatory, this basic three-sided design is the perfect choice if your home is small. You could be able to arrange the purchase and construction of a Lean to conservatory for less than £5,000, and the average size of such a construct is 2.6 metres wide and 2.5 metres deep. Arguably the most popular design for conservatories in the UK, the Lean to is an ideal starting point for anybody looking to add a relaxing space to their home.
A Victorian conservatory is an aesthetic delight, typically bay-curved with five large windows to give you a full view of the back garden you have no doubt spent so much time and effort tending.
Despite the moniker, the Victorian conservatory is not only suitable for houses built 150 years ago – it’s a timeless design that can complement almost any home.
Victorian conservatories tend to be larger than their Lean to brethren – think closer to 3.4×3.7 metres (though there are no real limits), and as a result the conservatory cost will rise by a couple of thousand pounds accordingly.
A P-Shaped conservatory is a combination of both the above designs, taking its name from the way it combines a long room with a second, shorter round addition. Only really suited to large detached properties due to the amount of space such a design requires, a P-Shaped conservatory is nevertheless perfect for busy family households; with two entities within the same construct, it’s the ideal way to separate adult and child-friendly spaces.
A further alternative could be combining a Lean to conservatory with a Georgian design, which creates an L-Shape. Of course, the bespoke nature of a P-Shaped conservatory, and the fact that you are essentially acquiring two properties in one, means that you are looking at the higher end of the conservatory price list. Do not expect much change from £12,000 for the smallest possible build.
Alternatively, if you have a long wall along the back of your property, you could find that a T-Shaped conservatory is the answer to your needs.
Much like the P- and L-Shaped options detailed above, a T-Shaped conservatory is an amalgamation of other designs that creates the possibility of separate areas within the same construct. Think of a T-Shaped conservatory as a porch for your back garden, especially when equipped with stylish French doors, and the choice of frontage is yours; this conservatory works equally well with a Victorian or Gable end.
As mentioned, you’ll need a long wall to accommodate such a design – a bare minimum of 4.5 metres in length rising to around 6 metres if you’d like additional windows installed.
Edwardian or Georgian Conservatory
These two designs have been collated together as they complement one another perfectly. The Edwardian conservatory is second only to the Lean to in terms of popularity, largely thanks to the way the rectangular dimensions provide plenty of ground space, and this design can be seamlessly incorporated into smaller properties such as bungalows.
The Georgian conservatory is also referred to as a Hipped-Back or Reverse Drop Edwardian, thanks to the similarity in the two designs. One key difference, however, is that a Georgian conservatory may end up covering more ground. If this is a design that you have decided upon, check whether you will need to acquire planning permission to install it. Expect to pay approximately £10-12,000 for one of these designs.
A Gable conservatory takes the Georgian design further into the realms of luxury, taking its name from the way the roof remains erect, as opposed to slanting back into the mid-section, creating a unique triangle shape.
This design maximises the availability of light that can pour into the extension, and are typically sized at 3.5 – 4 square metres. Naturally, such splendor comes with a price tag attached; expect to pay well into five figures if this is the design that you have set your heart upon.
Lantern Roof Conservatory
A Lantern Roof design is technically not a style of conservatory at all, but rather an updated term for the popular orangery design.
These marvels of design have a two-tiered roof and make any garden look effortlessly elegant and grand, though you’ll need a sizable Victorian or Edwardian-era home with plenty of acreage to really enjoy the benefits.
You’ll also require plenty of available funding; a typical Lantern Roof design starts at £10,000 for a very basic model, with this sum possibly doubling as more and more features are added.
What is a Conservatory by definition?
Though they are often confused with orangeries or sun rooms, the dictionary definition of a conservatory is a room with a glass roof and walls, attached to a house at one side, and used as a sun lounge or for growing delicate plants. Ask any homeowner that has invested in such a project, however, and they will inform you that they can be so much more.
Let’s get the formalities out of the way first. In the UK, there is no official legal definition of what makes a conservatory, but according to some sources, at least 50% of sidewalls and a minimum of 75% of roofing must be transparent, constructed with either glass of uPVC, to qualify for the term. This is important to note, as applying a fixed roof could make your plans into an extension, and thus ensure that planning permission may be required from your local authority.
Once you are confident that you are clear on what makes a conservatory and that the installation of such a project maintains your interest, your next step will be choosing the design that suits your needs best.
Which is cheaper – a conservatory and an orangery?
Luxurious though they are, an orangery is typically considerably more expensive than a standard conservatory – indeed, an orangery could cost upward of £20,000. A perfectly adequate conservatory can be purchased for less than half of this sum.
Another thing to consider is that the dimensions involved with the building of an orangery would often be considered an extension, and thus require planning permission from your local authority.
What size conservatory can I build?
How long is a piece of string? It all depends on what the needs of your conservatory are; if you plan on fitting a family dining table, you’ll obviously require more space than a sunroom that houses a handful of flowers. On average, the smallest conservatory available is typically 3×3 metres, largely rising in increments of up to 4.5×4.5 metres. Smaller models may be available, especially in the Lean to market.
Conservatory experts recommend applying what they dub The Golden Ratio of 1:1:68. Many people over-estimate the required size of their conservatory, so think of it this way: the average room in the UK is approximately 4.8 square metres, and a conservatory should factor this into consideration.
You will not be able to exceed the perimeter of your house walls by more than three feet, and you will need to allow a minimum of 30 centimetres to each side to accommodate the thickness of the walls.
Where to buy a conservatory?
Unless you or anybody within your family or friendship circle has experience within the trade, it is strongly advisable to approach a professional who will be able to guide you through the purchase and installation process from beginning to end. Get yourself a quote and list of local suppliers right now.
Will I need Planning Permission?
This entirely depends on the size of your structure. As a rule of thumb, a conservatory will not require planning permission provided you stay within certain guidelines.
If your home is detached or semi-detached, you are typically granted a little more leeway; you are entitled to extend your property by 70 cubic metres or 15% of the volume of the original house (whichever is more sizable), capped at 115 cubic metres, without the need to obtain planning permission. Just keep the height of the conservatory below the tallest portion of the roof of your home.
Key things to keep in mind are that your conservatory cannot stretch further than 0.9 metres past the wall of your house, and cannot rise higher than the tallest part of your roof. It is strongly advisable to consult with your neighbours in the first instance, if only out of good manners, and if you have any doubts, contact your local authority.
Stay within the recommended perimeters and there is no reason why your intentions will not be looked upon favourably.
When is a conservatory classed as an extension?
Other than the perimeters listed above, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
A conservatory is typically not considered a habitable room, so often it is not considered an extension, but it all depends on how elaborate your intentions are.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, if you are unsure, always seek the advice of a professional before committing to the purchase. Taking these steps in advance will prevent any unpleasantness further along the construction process.
Will my conservatory be cold in winter? What heating should I use?
A conservatory will reflect the temperature outside, so obviously it will be considerably chillier during the winter months. Double-glazing the windows will obviously help, but remains no substitute for a solid brick wall when it comes to protecting you from the elements.
There are ways of winter-proofing your conservatory, and with the correct steps, you should be able to enjoy your investment all year around. The temptation will arise to extend your existing central heating into the conservatory, but avoid this wherever possible; the chances are high that this will contravene building regulations, and could cause problems throughout your home.
One alternative, particularly effective in smaller properties, is to provide an underfloor heating source. Heat rises, which means that you could have a toasty conservatory all year around, but it may take a while to fill the room if you choose a large, high-ceilinged design.
A way of incorporating the best of both worlds would be to select trench heating, which would involve installing a radiator below the floor level and allowing the heat to escape through a subtle grill.
You will be spending a considerable amount of money on your conservatory, so there is little point in taking a budget option on temperature control. Your supplier would be able to advise the best option to investigate based on your needs, so seek their advice wherever applicable.
How deep are conservatory foundations?
Typically at least 1 metre but it cannot be stressed enough how important the correct foundations for a conservatory can be, as failure to take the appropriate steps can lead to a variety of problems.
Ensure that you will not be digging directly over any drainage or sewage pipes, and leave plenty of space from the trees that populate your garden, and under no circumstances compromise on the integrity of these foundations, as the longevity of your conservatory depends upon them.