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.
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 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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0800 009 6065 / 07984 293 894 for a friendly chat. Advice is free.
Raven Bespoke Improvements.