Extending Your Home with a Conservatory

If you’re happy in your home but feel like you need that extra bit of space; or you’re looking for a way to add something to your home because you can’t afford to move at present, a conservatory could be the answer. A conservatory can be a lovely little sun trap during the summer months, but can be enjoyed all year round, providing a lovely retreat during those colder winter months. But before you go ahead with getting your conservatory, there are a few things you will need to consider.

Firstly, are you going to need planning permission to get your conservatory erected? In the majority of cases the answer will be no as new regulations that were introduced on 1st October 2008 deemed conservatories a ‘permitted development’. There are regulations in place when it comes to the height and size of your conservatory – for instance, you wouldn’t be able to take over half of the garden with it, and you cannot build it any higher than your roof height.

When it comes to building regulations, all you need to consider are the following: it’s less than 30 square metres in size; it’s at ground level; it consists mostly of glazing and there is an external door between the conservatory and the main house. If your conservatory is within these boundaries then you will not need to obtain building regulations (but you should always check in case there are certain restrictions in place in your area / for your property, e.g. listed buildings).

The electrics and glazing installed in the conservatory will always need to comply with building regulations. Equally, if you are installing a new entrance into the house to provide access to the conservatory, then this will also require building regulation acceptance.

Choosing the Size of Your Conservatory

When designing your conservatory, you will need to consider how it is going to look in proportion to the rest of your house. For example, a small quaint mid-terrace wouldn’t suit a massive conservatory that is deeper than the house itself.

Additionally, you should consider how much of the garden the conservatory is going to take over; try not to reduce your garden size too significantly as this could go affect the house price when you do try to sell your home.

What’s the Purpose of Your Conservatory?

During the designing process you should also consider what it is that you’re going to use the conservatory for. Will it be just an additional living area, a playroom, a dining room, an office or breakfast room?

Determining what purpose your conservatory is going to serve should allow you to decide upon the design according to what amount of furniture is going to be in there and how much space you will need. Once you start consultations with suppliers they should be able to help you see the dimensions within the inside of the conservatory and how the furniture will fit as well as how large the conservatory will be on the outside.

Once you have a rough idea of just how big your conservatory is going to be, it is a good idea to mark out this plan outside your home so you can see just how much space in your garden it is going to take up.

Getting the Right Temperature in Your Conservatory

You will find that building regulations stipulate what U-value the glass in your conservatory must have, which measures how much heat is going to be able to pass through the glass. You will need to adhere to these building regulations but you should also take into consideration where your conservatory is positioned and how this will be affected by outside temperatures.

If your conservatory is south-facing, it is going to get a lot of sun, and it’s a well known fact that without the correct ventilation, conservatories can seem more like greenhouses! So, always ask your supplier about the installation of glass that is solar-controlled as this will reduce the heat that is felt with your conservatory. Blinds are also a great cost-effective way to reduce the amount of sun that heats the room, so try and include these into your budget.

If your conservatory is north-facing you may want to think about having glass that has a low emissivity as this will help to reduce heat loss from inside of the conservatory.

Furthermore, it is also a good idea to consider heating options within this room so it is useable during those winter months. You can add a simple radiator using the heating system that is already installed in your home, or you could have a separate heating option with electric underfloor heating.

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