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Posted in Advices on October 22, 2011
You’ve seen a conservatory and love the way it looks. However, before you have one built, it’s a good idea to know exactly what a conservatory can be used for. After all, it would be a waste to spend at least £10,000 on this addition unless it has multiple uses. The traditional use of a conservatory involves having a room for relaxation purposes. While this is an excellent way to use it, there is so much more to a conservatory that can only be discovered once you start planning it. When building a conservatory, remember that the floor area is of most concern. The total area includes all building materials and is not representative of the space you will have.
One of the main uses of a conservatory is simply to have more space. This could be the difference between staying and moving into a new home which carries a stamp duty of 3% on the purchase price of homes above £250,000. This extra space has a host of uses, most of which involve relaxing and getting some much needed peace and quiet.
Why not turn your conservatory into a dining room? Design it so that there is plenty of room for tables and chairs. Enjoy dinner without being surrounded by kitchen appliances and have family time without being disturbed by the television. Have the ultimate backdrop in the shape of the moon during the evening and discuss everything and anything over dessert and a glass of wine. You can also listen to the gentle sound of the rain beating against the glass, knowing that you are safe from the elements.
Another popular use for a conservatory is the addition of an extra mini-garden. You can increase the variety of plants you grow because you are no longer contending with the harsh British winter. Instead of only having green fingers a few months a year, enjoy your love of gardening all year round by bringing your flowers indoors. You’ll be the envy of all gardening enthusiasts in your neighbourhood who are forced to sit on the sidelines during the worst recesses of winter.
One of the most recent and innovative uses for a conservatory is that of a home office. An increasing percentage of people are working from home as freelancing work becomes more common. Instead of being confined to a room with just one window and no charm, you can actually begin to love work as you will be surrounded by light and heat all day long. Such conditions are sure to make you more productive and hopefully more creative too. It is a fact that dull rooms kill your work rate whereas a conservatory office will make you eager to get out of bed in the morning and tackle your heavy workload.
There are multiple uses for a conservatory. When designing your additional space, think of the reasons why you want it in the first place and tailor it to your specific need. Although there are certain conservatory types, you can choose a bespoke option and turn it into a lounge, office, indoor garden or tea room.
The idea of owning a conservatory is an alluring one but the price and stress involved in making it come to pass seem to be powerful deterrents. Aside from the £10,000+ you will have to pay, there is also the issue of finding reliable workmen to carry out the contract in a professional manner. On top of all this, you have to worry about the issue of planning permission and building permits. However, there are many good reasons to build a conservatory which far outweigh any negatives.
This may seem like an odd thing to include as an advantage, especially when one considers the cost of a conservatory. However, the price you pay could very well be offset by the added value it gives your home. Most conservatories will add £12,000 or more onto the asking price for a property so this is worth bearing in mind. It is often the case where people move home because their existing place isn’t big enough any more. A conservatory can add this extra room and save you the trouble of moving home. Bear in mind that you would have to pay stamp duty of £15,000 on a £500,000 new property and you will realise how valuable a conservatory can be.
If your home is like that of the majority of the population, it is filled with clutter and there is nowhere for you to sit back and enjoy yourself. A conservatory can be your designated relaxation spot. You cannot put a price on such comfort and conservatory owners always state that it was the best decision they have ever made in terms of their home. Conservatories with a glass roof kill the noise of the rain and homeowners often take a snooze as this gentle sound helps them to doze off. It is also an ideal way to escape a noisy family and catch up on some light reading.
If you have a fabulous garden, you can have a bird’s eye view throughout the year. Poor weather will never stop you from admiring the nature that is at your doorstep. And let’s be honest, we don’t get enough sun in the UK so when it does arrive, we have to make the most of it. The large amount of glass that makes up conservatories help us achieve this. It reacts well with the sun to give us an ambient light that really stirs the senses. Those who have experienced it first hand will tell you that nothing elevates the mood quite like natural sunlight. In the UK, we have sunshine despite the fact that it’s not particularly warm. In a conservatory, it will always feel warm when the sun is out so even if it’s cool outside, you will feel the heat of summer inside.
Although the cost of a conservatory seems pretty expensive, the value it adds and the money and hassle it can save in the long run makes it worthwhile. If you work hard for most of the year, aren’t you entitled to enjoy the fruits of your labour?
Although it is easy to get overly-excited about your new conservatory and miss one or two things, it is absolutely essential that you don’t overlook the necessity for planning permission and building warrants. It is estimated that approximately 60% of conservatories in the UK will require some form of planning permission. Failing to do this could see your project shut down halfway through. This not only costs you thousands of pounds, it also ensures that you have a major eyesore to contend with. Below are a list of stipulations you must meet to avoid the need for planning permission.
Less than 50% of the land around the ‘original house’ can be used to build the conservatory. In UK terms, an ‘original house’ refers to a home built after 1 July 1948 or as it was on that date if built beforehand.
Planning permission is needed for conservatories which face the road or are less than 20 metres from the road or a public footpath.
The maximum dimensions of a conservatory are as follows: Depth – 4,000mm (4 metres) on detached houses, 3,000mm (3 metres) on semi-detached. Height: 4,000mm (4 metres).
The conservatory cannot be more than a single storey in height.
It has to be built on the ground floor.
The total floor area cannot exceed 30 square metres.
Half of the conservatory’s external edge must be glazed and 75% of the conservatory roof must be made from polycarbonate or glass.
There must be a door that separates it from the main building.
If your building meets all of the above, there is no requirement to submit an application. The building control of the local council will also not need to inspect it. Remember that there is a difference between planning permission and building warrants. In addition, there have been discussions about planning permission amongst local councils and there is a possibility that ALL conservatories in the UK will require permission in a few years time.
A conservatory that is still connected to the house is considered to be an extension and is deemed to waste energy because more heat and light will be lost from it. Extensions have to meet certain glazing regulations because of the government’s stance on energy emissions.
You are given a choice of regulations to meet:
You could ensure that your extension’s glazing is less than 25% of the floor area of the conservatory and the floor area of the house combined. The doors and windows also have to meet certain EU energy efficiency regulations.
Or you can show that the conservatory’s glazing is less than 25% of the floor area of the conservatory which is much more difficult.
If the frame is made from wood, its ‘U’ value must be less than 2.0. The ‘U’ value of UPVC frames must also be less than 2.0 while aluminium and steel frames have a ‘U’ value of 2.2 or less.
As you can see, building a conservatory is easier in theory than in practice. If you are planning to fulfil your dreams of having an extra room attached to your home, it’s essential to do your homework and ensure that you know what is expected of your building.
In the UK, sunrooms and conservatories are often mistaken for one another. The terms are used interchangeably without realising that there are some distinct differences between the two. One thing they do have in common is the fact that they are external rooms which are designed to take in the sun whenever possible. Owners of either room can enjoy a pleasant summer’s day in peace and quiet.
A conservatory is a glass room which is attached to the house but is considered to be a separate room. It is usually made entirely from glass or polycarbonate and this includes the roof. As a result, the sun will beat down hard on the room which is completely exposed. A sunroom on the other hand is actually like an extra room because it has a roof made from different materials such as tiles. In fact, a sunroom is often considered to be the same as a regular room in the home expect for the fact that it has more windows. The sunroom’s roof is solid and offers more protection from the sun if necessary.
Conservatories are well known for their seasonality. Essentially, this means that they are generally only used for three of the four seasons. As a conservatory has no connections to anything in the home, it becomes extremely cold during the winter and is not suitable for relaxation. In the summer, a conservatory can become incredibly hot because of the complete exposure to the sun. Expect temperatures in a conservatory to be considerably warmer than outdoors.
You can build a sunroom that is suitable for relaxation during all four seasons by connecting it to the heating and cooling systems in your home. As a sunroom is basically an extra room in the home, you can increase its temperature during the winter or lower it in the summer. The problem with this is the increase in your energy bill. If you are heating an extra room, it is obvious that you will be paying more for heating and electricity.
It seems to be the case whereby sunrooms are more functional because you can relax in them during winter by adding some extra heat. Although you will pay extra, this is an expense that most homeowners will gladly pay. After all, you cannot put a price on peace and quiet! That being said, conservatories are not without their charm and will appeal to certain people. A sunroom looks like an extra room while a conservatory is different. It makes your home stand out from everyone else’s and it has an air of class about it.
It should be noted that although planning permission may not be required in all cases, there is a possibility that you will need it if the sunroom/conservatory exceeds a certain size. Neither option is cheap when built from the ground up though there are ready made versions of either room which are available from hardware stores like B&Q and will cost you less than £2,000. A regular conservatory costs anywhere between £10,000-£20,000 while a sunroom may cost even more.
This is known as the most popular choice because its design blends in well with most homes. It has a rounded front and can be built with three or five facets. It also has a pitched roof and is an elegant addition to any home.
This has some elements which makes it similar to the Victorian including the pitched roof but while the Victorian is curved, the Edwardian is square or rectangular in shape. This is a better choice than the Victorian for those seeking a conservatory with a little extra space. If you are planning to have a large quantity of furniture in your conservatory, the Edwardian is your best option.
Lean To Conservatory
This was the most popular option once upon a time and is still the least expensive choice. It has a very simplistic design with clean lines and a look that is timeless. It is possible to alter the height to suit different homes as a lean to conservatory would need to be in a different position depending on whether the home was a bungalow or a multi-storey house.
As you are probably aware, bespoke relates to something which is specifically made for you. Some houses cannot accommodate a traditionally designed conservatory so a bespoke option is the least challenging. Whether you want a gargantuan extra room or just a small room built around your front or back yard, the bespoke choice caters for you.
This is similar to the Edwardian conservatory and is the ideal choice for someone with a small garden. With its square glass panels and triangular roof, this is a classy addition to any home.
When designing your conservatory, you will need to take a close look at the material you use for the frame. The most popular choice is UPVC which is relatively inexpensive, durable and easy to clean. Aluminium has thermal breaks which aids heat insulation and is another commonly used material for frames. Wood gives you a natural look but can be harder to maintain than the aforementioned materials.
You can choose glass or polycarbonate (which is much less expensive) for the roof. Glass is far heavier than polycarbonate and may not always be the best construction choice. Polycarbonate conservatories create a softer effect when the sun shines in but it is far noisier during rain.