Remember that it will be a permanent fixture to your home and will hopefully give you many years service. Sit down with your spouse and make a list of everything that you want from your new addition to the home.
- What is its proposed purpose?
- How large or small should it be?
- What are its construction materials?
- Have you enough DIY skills to build it yourself?
From this information, you can build up a picture of what you actually want. Armed with your list, go to a showroom or browse a catalogue to find the one you both prefer. Listen to the salesperson but do not be forced into buying one that is either too expensive or that you don’t really want. As a general rule, always choose the best and most expensive that you can afford. It will be worth it in the long term.
Prices will vary depending on many factors but, a ballpark figure for a simple 3.5m x 3.5m conservatory with a glass roof will be about:
|Conservatory Style||Fully fitted prices (minimum)|
Remember when you are searching for prices that conservatory prices in the UK will be different from any other country. Also, prices on the internet/online will often be cheaper than those in a factory showroom due to lower business overheads. All in all, the typical cost of a conservatory could be anywhere between £9,000 to upwards of £20,000.
Conservatory Cost Advice
How much is it going to cost using a kit and how much to build one from scratch? Basically, the cost of building will depend on the following factors:
- Building method – They be assembled from a factory made kit or built on site from general building materials. A kit can be more expensive in materials but cheaper in labour costs whereas building one from scratch can be completely the opposite. Generally, a kit is by far the most convenient and overall is usually the cheapest as they can often be assembled by the householder.
- Size – A small conservatory costs are significantly less than a larger one would be if you simply scaled the structure down. This is mainly because of the reduction in weight of a small one resulting in being able to use structural members of smaller cross section and lower structural quality.
- Style – The cost of a lean-to extension, gable conservatory and an enclosed porch will vary considerably because they each have different requirements. A lean-to conservatory just needs three walls and a single pitch roof. A gable version needs more work and materials in the roof as well as structural supports to prevent the weight of the roof from pushing the walls apart. The enclosed porch just needs the addition of windows and a door.
- Materials – The framework materials will have a significant effect on costs. Materials such as hardwood or softwood timber, aluminium, and uPVC vary widely in price so that the cost of building an orangery or a greenhouse conservatory will vary depending on the structural materials. The translucent infill material between the framework can be glass or polycarbonate sheets, especially on the roof. In fact, building a glass roof extension costs far more than a polycarbonate one mainly because of the added weight of glass and the extra structural integrity needed. Often some structures have a dwarf wall built from brick or similar which run from the foundations up to about waist height. Above this height, the walls continue as glass.
- The type of house – Surprisingly, whether the house is a single storey bungalow or full-size house will factor into the type and average cost of a conservatory. Generally, smaller conservatories for bungalows tend to be cheaper than those for houses, mainly for aesthetic reasons, because they tend to be a lean-to version costing less in roofing materials.
Different Parts of a Convervatory
In its simplest form, a conservatory is a glass-enclosed room built onto the house. However, it can be called many names depending on where you live, how it is built and even family tradition. You may, therefore, know this common structure by one of these other names even though they have their own specific definitions:
- Sunroom. Somewhere sheltered to relax in the sun.
- Orangery. This is a larger version of a heated greenhouse for fruit trees.
- Garden room. A summerhouse.
- Solarium. For people to relax in the sun’s warmth.
- Greenhouse. Used for plant growing.
- Atrium. This is a glass-roofed enclosed courtyard.
The common factor in each of these structures is that it is a room, usually connected to the house, and with more windows than you would normally have in a room. Usually, the conservatory has a transparent roof as well as transparent walls.
All these structures are designed to use as much of the sun’s warmth as possible. Sometimes in cold climates, they have additional heating systems too. A conservatory will always benefit the residents of the main house and provides access to a warm living area full of sunlight, able to be used for most of the year for recreation or as a sheltered growing area for plants during the winter.
If compared to regular house extensions they are cheaper to build and provide more varied use. They trap the sun’s warmth and provide a comfortable living area during most of the year and will heat up the remainder of the house by encouraging warm air to circulate around your home.
The different types (continued)
There are different types depending on the style and appearance you are after.
- These have a ‘gable’ roof. This means that there are two roof surfaces sloping away from a ridge in the centre of the two. ‘Gable’ refers to the vertical wall at either end.
- One roof surface sloping away from the house. Often this is called a ‘lean to’ conservatory.
- Enclosed Porch. Imagine having an existing roof over a porch. Then enclose the porch with windows.
Gable Conservatory Prices
Although these are more expensive than a lean-to conservatory, A Gable is probably the most popular of shapes and styles so we will spend some time giving indicative prices.
Gable conservatory (with a dwarf wall)
|Size||Roof material||Average Price|
|3.5m x 3.5m||Polycarbonate||£12,000|
|3.5m x 4m||Polycarbonate||£13,500|
|4m x 4m||Polycarbonate||£14,750|
Gable conservatory (no dwarf walls)
|Size||Roof material||Average Price|
|3.5m x 3.5m||Polycarbonate||£7,000|
|3.5m x 4m||Polycarbonate||£7,500|
|4m x 4m||Polycarbonate||£8,000|
Once again, remember that these prices are indicative only and will vary depending on frame material, and style among other factors.
Does it require a foundation?
Of course it does. The conservatory weighs a lot, with all that glass in the walls and possibly the roof as well. The last thing you want is for the ground to subside and the glass to crack because of movement. The depth of the foundation will depend on whether the structure is governed by the UK Building Regulations or not. If you remove the doors between the house and the conservatory then it essentially becomes part of the house and will have to comply with the same regulations. The safest way out of this is to leave the house doors where they are.
Dig a trench no less than 150mm deep and about 200mm wider than the thickness of the walls. Make sure the ground is firm and not too wet. Pour concrete into this trench and make sure the surface is level. The concrete should be 6 parts aggregate to 1 part cement. When this is set, it will provide a stable footing. If you have any doubt, get advice from a professional and remember that these measurements are a guide only and will change depending on ground conditions or Building Regulations.
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