5 Considerations For Your Home Conservatory

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Aaron Middleton is a digital marketer and content creator at Dreamscape Design. He works with several clients, regularly developing content that seeks to help and provide value.

Conservatories have been around since the 16th century and are a great way to add value to our homes and enjoy the sun. However, there are many things to consider when choosing a home conservatory. Here are our top 5 considerations.

The Benefits Of Adding A Conservatory

Home conservatory with lots of windows and flowers

There are many benefits you can experience from adding a conservatory to your house, including:

  • Adds more space and an extra room to your house
  • Provides more natural light
  • Helps blend your home and your garden better
  • Adds more value to your house
  • Usually doesn’t require planning permission (see below)
  • Visually appealing
  • Wide variety of choices to match your house
  • Creates a relaxing space

Do I Need Planning Permission?

Outside view of a home conservatory that is octagon shaped

In most cases, you won’t need planning permission to build your home conservatory. That’s because conservatories are classed as non-habitual dwellings, and so don’t fall under the jurisdiction of building regulations.

However, there are some situations where you do need planning permission:

  • If your home is situated within a national park, a conservation area, or an area deemed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
  • If the volume of your home will increase by more than 15% or 70 cubic meters
  • An extension has already been built on your home
  • You live in a terraced house
  • The conservatory will not be built at ground level
  • The size of your conservatory is more than 30m2

It is also recommended to build your conservatory:

  • 2 meters away from any boundaries
  • With a separate heating system and controls
  • Separated from your house by external walls, windows, doors, etc.

In the event you do require planning permission, it is recommended to add eight weeks to acquire planning permission. You should also account for the cost of planning permission in your budget.

Considerations For Adding Your Home Conservatory

Home conservatory with doors open and lots of natural light

The Type Of Conservatory

One of the first decisions you will need to make when picking a conservatory is what type and style to have. There are lots of different styles available, and this can make it a tough choice.

Here’s a breakdown that may make it easier to decide:

Lean toVictorianEdwardianGable-end
• Similar to a sunroom
• Most affordable
• Can be styled differently to make them unique
• Highly decorative with a gothic-type design with an apex roofline
• Ideally suited for traditional houses
• Has a much more rounded front compared to the Victorian
• Style is more subdued
• Four roof facets that form an apex
• Comes with an upright roof with a full height to the apex roofline
• Based on the Edwardian square but with extra space
• Open space inside makes it practical for more furnishing
Sloped roof, modern and versatileOrnate style, with a faceted front and maximum views outElegant style, with a rectangular shape that maximizes spaceSpacious styling, with a gable front that maximizes light

Size and Positioning

Both the size and positioning of your conservatory can make a big difference. Not only does size affect whether you require planning permission, but it also suits your needs. Finding the right balance between the needs of your home and your lifestyle can be difficult.

Many people will overestimate the size of their conservatory. Use measurements for rooms inside your home. That will give you a rough estimate of the size of your conservatory. That way, you can avoid any problems with planning permission and not take up more space than is needed.

You will also need to consider the thickness of the walls in your measurements. An exterior can usually be around 300mm thick (including insulation). Remember that your conservatory will need to be less than 70 cubic meters to avoid planning permission difficulties.

As well as size, you also need to consider the position of your conservatory. If your conservatory is being built north-facing, you should consider adding additional insulation as there is less direct sunlight during the afternoon and evening.

A south-facing conservatory will not require the additional insulation as a north-facing conservatory. However, the sun’s exposure can become unbearable during the summer as the heat gets trapped inside your conservatory. Adding vents alongside French or double doors will help.

Choosing the right materials and windows

Conservatories were traditionally made from wood. However, nowadays, most conservatories are built using PVCu. PVCu is a strong and sturdy material that can last for decades. There is also minimal upkeep required too. It is also the most affordable material.

Aluminium is another material used for modern conservatories. Aluminium also provides an affordable material choice that is extremely durable. However, this material could be better for insulating, so you may need to install heating for the winter months.

We already mentioned wood, but today’s conservatories can still be made from hardwood and softwood. While mainly used for traditional properties, wood provides a natural and rustic look. Timber can also be reinforced today but will require regular treatment to avoid distortion.

If you also plan on using your conservatory throughout the year, you will need to make sure it is either insulated or has sufficient heating in place for the cold winter months. That way, you can make use of your conservatory all year round and gain the benefit of natural light.

Install a conservatory vent controller

Another consideration for your home conservatory is installing a conservatory vent controller. Conservatories in the summer can feel like an oven without proper ventilation. While your conservatory may come with glazed panel vents, they require you to manually open them.

Another problem with conservatory vents is they are often located out of reach on the roof. That’s because hot air rises due to convection, so it makes sense to have the vents high up. The only difficulty is trying to get them open in the first place.

To avoid the problem of your conservatory becoming a sauna and making it easier to open your vents, you should consider fitting an automatic vent controller. These convenient devices make it much easier to operate the vents in your conservatory.

A controller is installed alongside an electric actuator on each vent that operates the opening/closing mechanism. Depending on the make, you can adjust the settings for the vents to work automatically or at the press of a switch. It’s that easy.

Fitting a rain sensor will also solve the problem of when it starts raining. You don’t want water coming inside your beautiful conservatory. Installing a rain sensor will automatically close the vents when water is detected. These are placed outside so the sensor can detect rain.

Find out more about how conservatory vent controllers work

Updating your home insurance

This is probably one factor many people will overlook when installing a conservatory, but you need to let your insurance company know. Any alterations made to the structure of your house, as well as alterations that affect security and the value, will need your insurance updating.

Adding a conservatory to your home will likely affect your buildings and contents’ premium. It is best to let your insurance company know before construction begins on your conservatory. Failing to notify your insurance company could lead to the terms of your insurance policy becoming invalid.

If something goes wrong during installation, you won’t be covered by your insurance. Given that a conservatory can set you back anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000, you want to ensure you are well protected. It may mean your insurance may increase, but it’s better than a significant loss.

Conservatories can provide many great benefits. Using the considerations listed above will help you to get the most out of your home conservatory. And remember, don’t always go for the cheapest option. With conservatories, quality really does come with a price.

You might also be interested in: 12 Indoor Trees For A Happy Home [Green Thumb Not Required]

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