Conservatories

There’s no better way to extend your home than a conservatory. But how do you go about choosing one? Here at Raven, we make the choice easy. We’ll deconstruct the process with you to determine what style and shape you really want and what can be achieved based on your budget.

Conservatory

With good planning and thought, a conservatory can become the focal point of any home.

Not only do conservatories bring the outdoors and nature in, they also give you additional living space which will make your home feel larger. Food for thought if you love your home but want that little bit extra.

But do you need planning permission? How much will it cost? And what are the main types of roof? In this conservatory guide, we’ll provide helpful information so you can approach a builder and ask the right questions.

Conservatory roof types

There are three main types of conservatory roof:

Polycarbonate roof

Polycarbonate is the cheapest roofing option for a conservatory. It provides protection against rain and is hardwearing and durable, but this is where the benefits end. Polycarbonate is a very poor insulator which means warm air escapes rapidly through the roof. It also creates a greenhouse effect when it’s sunny or bright, often warming the room to an uncomfortable level. Modern polycarbonate sheeting may reflect some UV rays, but it will never insulate like glass or tile.

Solid roof

There are several lightweight solid roofs now available for conservatories. These are constructed from GRP and utilise engineered tiles which mimic stone, slate or concrete but weigh much less. Solid conservatory roofs are superior to glazed and fibreglass roofs because they are properly insulated and solid, so they are cooler in summer and warmer in winter to make the space more usable. Solid roofs are also pleasing on the eye and can be made to match the roof of the house.

Glazed roof

Glazed conservatory roofs utilise double glazing to provide a good amount of basic insulation. They are nowhere near as thermally efficient as solid roofs, but they are much better than polycarbonate roofs. Glazed or glass roofs offer a sleek architectural finish and they can be tinted with a film to reflect some sunlight. There’s also solar control glass which has a special coating to reduce heat transfer, although, this is quite expensive and may work out more expensive than a solid roof.

Solid roof conservatory

Imaged above: A solid roof conservatory in gable style. 

Conservatory roof styles

The style of a conservatory roof is often dictated by its proposed location and the architectural style of the house roof. However, because most conservatories have a square or rectangle floor plan, most styles are universal.

There are four main types to consider:

Victorian

This is the most popular conservatory roof style. It has triangular panels designed to curve out around the roof to give it a distinctive shape.

Gable

A gable roof is the second most common type of conservatory roof. It has two pitched sides which create a triangular shape with walls which meet the roof at the other end.

Lean-to

This is the third most popular roof style. It is characterised by a roof that leans against a house with a tilt or pitch following one direction.

Edwardian

An Edwardian roof has a square or rectangular shape which is made up of several panes which are pitched with an apex.

Other conservatory roof types include:

  • Corner fill
  • P-shape
  • T-shape
  • York

Conservatory roofs can also be multi-faceted (multiple sections or panes). For example, a Victorian roof might be 3 faceted or 5 faceted. Conservatory roofs can also have a hip-back which is where the conservatory will slope downwards to the walls at the rear rather than maintain its height for a sleeker appearance.

gable conservatory

Imaged above: A gable conservatory. 

Conservatory wall and base

It isn’t just the roof you should think about with your new conservatory – you should also think about the wall and base. This will determine the appearance of your conservatory outside from ground level, and it will also play a factor in the cost of your conservatory.

There are 2 types of conservatory wall and base:

Dwarf wall

A dwarf wall is a brick or stone wall built up to around knee height, from which the glazing and UPVC is affixed. This is the most popular type of wall and base because it can help the new conservatory blend in with the house so long as the brickwork is a good match.

Glazed wall

A glazed wall runs from top to bottom, reaching from the base right to the roof. The benefit of this roof is it offers panoramic views with no masonry to block them. This wall and base combination has elegance and a modern look on its side.

Standard conservatory with a dwarf wall

Imaged above: A conservatory with a dwarf wall.

When does a conservatory need planning permission?

A conservatory is classed as permitted development except in the following cases:

  • If you live in a listed building or conservation area
  • If you live in a house that is affected by Directive 4
  • If your conservatory will be taller than 4-metres
  • If your conservatory will extend more than 3-metres from your back wall (this is 4-metres if your house is a detached property).

You can find out more about current conservatory planning laws here.

Conservatory prices – how much should you pay?

How much should you pay for a conservatory in 2019/20?

An experienced contractor who specialises in the design and installation of conservatories will charge between £8,000 and £15,000 for a uPVC conservatory. You can add 10% to the price if you want a frame made from hardwood.

What influences the final price?

The price largely depends on the size of the build and the type and style of roof.

Lean-to and gable roofs are the cheapest; Victorian and Edwardian roofs sit in the middle; and T-shaped, L-shaped and orangery roofs cost the most. You will also pay more for a solid roof than a glazed or polycarbonate roof. Roof lanterns also cost extra.

Other factors that influence the final price include:

  • Your location (London postcodes cost more)
  • The amount of groundwork needed
  • The amount of base work needed
  • Whether you want underfloor heating
  • The type of base you want for your conservatory

high end conservatory with lantern

Imaged above: A conservatory with a roof lantern and ornate interior work. Project cost: £20,000+.

Want some free advice?

We’re here to help and answer your questions. We are conservatory experts with over 30 years’ experience in the trade. We’re also a 5-star reviewed contractor with Rated People and My Builder.

We’re based in Carshalton and serve the south of England, but we’re happy to drive for larger projects. Email us at info@ravenimprovements.com or call us on 0800 009 6065 / 07984 293 894 for a friendly chat. Advice is free.

Regards,

The Team,

Raven Bespoke Improvements.

Raven Bespoke Improvements
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Pamela Swann
Pamela Swann
12:59 08 Jan 20
David has just completed a project for us and was superb. Would highly... recommend, everything was easy, from initial contact to completion and a fantastic finished result. Absolute pleasure to deal with. Thank youread more
james craig
james craig
10:59 20 Dec 19
David fitted new windows and French doors for us. He is without doubt the best... tradesman we’ve ever used and we would highly recommend him to anyone. Punctual, professional, efficient and takes pride in his work. We were happy to leave David and his excellent team working in our house when we were out. Everything was left spotlessly clean and the work was done to a very highly standard very quickly. David fixed a broken gutter for no extra charge and readjusted a door, neither of which was part of the agreed job. Thanks a lot David for a flawless five-star service just before Christmas!read more
Mark Hammond-Edis
Mark Hammond-Edis
20:55 19 Dec 19
David and his team helped us take a window out to fit a large sofa in our front... room. He was very responsive, polite and punctual. The job they did was difficult and they did it to a high standard making sure everything was perfect before they left.read more
Edward Hordley
Edward Hordley
21:30 11 Dec 19
Hired David and his team on a repair and finishing job after having been let... down by another contractor. His approach was superb, professional, polite and very responsive. His price is higher than some, but he is well worth the extra investment. The value for money you get from him and his experience is exceptional and I have no regrets about using him or the work provided. This was not a straight forward job but David made it feel that way. Highly recommended.read more
Paula Charman
Paula Charman
15:27 02 Oct 19
Thank you for a great job on our windows and doors. David was very professional... and very clean while working. I would highly recommend his services to other people. Thanks David Paula and Richardread more
Raj Thakker
Raj Thakker
16:03 24 Sep 19
One word: Superb. Thank you David for a brilliant job on replacing my... conservatory roof. No task was too big or small. David even took it upon himself to fix a broken gutter at no extra charge. The whole job was done at a very good price. Very clear communication, tidy and very professional at all time. I already have recommended him to my brother-in law and will continue to do so to others. Thank you David!read more
MB
MB
15:37 20 Sep 19
David provided an excellent service recently on a job. The quality of his work... is outstanding and I would fully recommend him. I have asked David to come back to quote on another job. He has just done that for me and I look forward to the works being carried out as I know the result of his work will be more than satisfactory.read more
Anneke Meiring
Anneke Meiring
08:15 20 Jul 19
David is the best and most reliable contractor I have ever met. He converted... our courtyard into a conservatory. This was done at a very high standard. It looks amazing and is completely waterproof. He came across a lot of unforeseen problems in the process, e.g. had to clear a drain, move an extractor fan, level the ground area etc- which he attended to effortlessly as part of the job. He also assisted us with many ancillary and unrelated matters, e.g. putting my clock up against the wall, remove old window frames, liaising with another contractor on damp issues elsewhere in the house- all without charging extra as other contractors would do. He is super professional in the execution of his work and regularly updated us as to where we are in the process. He also has wonderful bedside manners, a superb sense of humour, and a humane touch. We always felt that we are in such good and honest hands. I would highly recommend him- we will never be using anybody else at our home again. Well done David and thank you so much for your help.read more
IKONIX_ MAZZI
IKONIX_ MAZZI
08:09 19 Jul 19
Very pleased with the work David did. Would recommend and would definitely use... again.read more
Tahsima Habib
Tahsima Habib
14:02 18 Jul 19
David did a wonderful job on the conservatory and fencing at a property I... manage, I can only recommend him and the company.read more
James Martin
James Martin
09:10 18 May 19
Great job installing the doors and windows. Had to be flexible, but didn’t... complain as our doors had not arrived on time. Thanks for the helpread more
N Sha
N Sha
21:12 11 May 19
David texted me the morning after I had advertised the work. He turned up the... same day. As I was describing the work that needs doing: he kept saying, Yes, I can fix that ( French sliding door), Yes, I can fix that too ( conservatory door), yes I can replace that as well ( conservatory roof). He came back to me with the quote within 1 hour. Reasonable cost. And, yes he did all the work with professionalism. I must admit I had few other window-doors and conservatory specialists...All I can say is that they should go to David for some training. David is miles ahead of anyone I had around, in every aspect. I strongly recommend David - do not waste time with anyone else if Dave is available...and boy, he is not only smart and experienced but hard working and kind,too. Well done Dave, God Bless and keep up the good work!read more
Nadeem & Syma Haque
Nadeem & Syma Haque
00:44 31 Mar 19
David provided me with a great all round experience for this job. His... communication and knowledge of the trade was brilliant. He provided me with a very competitive quote in quick time and was able to complete the job pronto. His take pride in his work which means his finishing is to a high standard. A very respectful and honest guy who provided is a great customer service. Overall a high quality piece of work and I would definitely recommend using David again in the future. Thanks!read more
Alan Martin
Alan Martin
20:21 28 Feb 19
Did a superb job fitting a cat flap in a glass panel, at a very reasonable... price. Punctual, polite and friendly, I would absolutely book again in a heartbeat!read more
jwalant patel
jwalant patel
19:35 06 Feb 19
Excellent and quick service. I posted a job on Rated people, and he provided a... quick response regarding my broken conservatory door. He offered a competitive quote and completed the work on time. I will definitely use his service in future and highly recommend others as well.read more
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