Conservatory extensions can add architectural texture and monetary value to your self-build design, and can even help to keep your home thermally regulated throughout the year. As with all aspects of your self-build project, it pays to plan ahead when considering a conservatory or orangery for your new property. Whether you are adding the design and build work to your own to-do list, or drafting in a specialist company, there are a few points you will want to bear in mind.
There are three main framework materials on the market today that are suitable for use when building your conservatory or orangery. Choosing which material to use is key to the final design, it should complement the aesthetic of your property and remain in keeping with the overall style of your self-build project. To add real value to the property, and be sure of its durability, keeping quality in mind when selecting your materials is also key to the success of your new conservatory or orangery.
White uPVC has been synonymous with the conservatory for decades now, thanks to its affordable price point and wide availability. One of the main arguments for the use of uPVC, within a self-build project, is the convenience of the off-the-peg conservatory kits available in uPVC. These are relatively simple to install and promise a one-size-fits-all solution.
However, it's generally acknowledged that the overall aesthetic of uPVC conservatory framework leaves something to be desired. Moreover, uPVC often warps with time, and is not particularly resilient and won’t add any structural support to you home; which is why it is always worth shopping around before choosing a cheap uPVC kit conservatory.
Wooden frameworks can add character and charm to self-build conservatories and orangeries; complementing rustic build styles and adding personality to the property. For more detailed designs, such as an ornate orangery or a corniced conservatory, wooden frameworks make the perfect choice. Thanks to its pliability, natural wood is an extremely receptive canvas for decorations and adornments that traditional conservatories and orangeries require.
Wooden frameworks do call for much more maintenance and will need oiling annually in order to remain protected against the elements. Like uPVC, they are also prone to warping and sections may need replacing over time as rot or damp sets in, which can become a much larger task over time.
Aluminium, which is the strongest and most durable of the three materials, is often disregarded due to its higher cost, but this initial outlay will pay itself back tenfold in added value to the host property.
Aluminium is an extremely good conductor of heat and as such, a thermal break is necessary to ensure no heat loss is possible. Some bespoke aluminium conservatory companies, can even employ this technology to exceed industry standards and create conservatories and orangeries which help reduce heating and energy costs in the home.
Aluminium is also naturally resistant to corrosion and relatively maintenance free. All in all, the choice of an aluminium framed conservatory or orangery will provide a much sounder structure than either uPVC or wood.
Whichever material you have chosen for your self-build conservatory, or whether you have chosen to use a prefabricated kit, buy an off-the-peg model or go entirely bespoke, you will now need to get a better idea of which structure style best suits the needs of you and your project.
Modern conservatories come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes which should be selected to complement the intended host property. Bespoke conservatories often offer the best solution for self-builders, as they are easily adapted to your plans, but prefabricated kits shouldn’t be an issue if included from the start of the project.
The beauty of a bespoke conservatory is that there are no limits; it can come in whatever size, shape and style best served for its intended function, it will be custom-manufactured for the project and able to merge seamlessly with the host property.
The lean-to conservatory is a modern favourite; boasting the sharp lines and clean angles that all contemporary architecture craves. These structures maximise light and space within the home and the simple, yet effective design means that the self-builder need not be too daunted.
The lean-to conservatory can be employed for almost any property type, contrasting well with more traditional build styles, whilst marrying effortlessly with buildings of a more modern persuasion.
Orangeries find their heritage in the historical houses of Britain and therefore are perhaps best suited to period or listed buildings. Orangeries make the perfect companion to a barn conversion, or similar renovation projects, and lend themselves to bright, open-plan spaces.
• Pay attention to the aspect when planning your conservatory or orangery extension; there is no point planning a breakfast room from which the sunrise won’t be visible.
• Remember to bear in mind throughout the process how you will be using the space once your project is over, as this will impact many of your design and build choices along the way.
• Do your research when it comes to glazing; triple glazing doesn’t always pay but there are specialist glasses on the market which can save you both time and money.
• If you decide to add a conservatory, orangery or any additional structure to your self-build project after receiving your planning approval remember to consult your local council as you may have to reapply.