When thinking about purchasing a new conservatory you may not be aware of all the different options you have, there are many different styles, products and designs to choose from. A good conservatory installer should have design software and product samples so they can show you different idea’s making it easier for you to visualize.
Lean-to: The easiest and quickest conservatory to install often the cheapest and great value for money. Although basic this type can be varied in pitch and also built around corners into an L shape. Great for adding extra space and can be used for anything, very popular and also known as a sun-room.
Victorian: This elegant design and classical appearance is also very popular, it’s very flexible and can cope with many roof designs. Sharp angled roofs are softened by facets that provide a more rounded look, with the option of three or five facets.
Georgian/Edwardian: This is a symmetrical structure with a pitched roof. It has a flat front, and more usable floor space than the Victorian because of its square or rectangular shape. Like the Victorian, it may have plenty of detail.
Gable: A vertical front and steeply pitched roof that can look contemporary, or have lots of detail that makes it appear more traditional and creates a generous ceiling height. There is no sloping front section on the gable; instead the section above the windows at the front makes a triangle which continues up to meet the roof. This way it tends to match the roof design of many houses.
P-Shaped: Often a Victorian-style part with a lean-to section to make the P-shape. P shaped conservatories offer an opportunity to look out into your garden and surroundings. The P style is adaptable in design and shape to almost any area while achieving a generous amount of floor space.
T-Shaped: Symmetrical with a larger middle porch section and symmetrical wings to make a T shape. These are a relatively large design more suited for bigger properties; this is because the bottom end of the T extends away from the house taking up more garden.
Lantern roof: A second tier of windows that creates a ‘roof on top of a roof’ makes for a grander structure.
Choosing your conservatory’s material to get the best look to match your property.
Contemporary conservatories often have timber or metal frames or can sometimes appear frame-less and don’t usually have a dwarf wall at the base. They can be made using aluminium, timber or uPVC and are either entirely glazed or may have a dwarf wall at the base of the structure.
White uPVC is a popular finish on conservatories but they are also available in a variety of other coloured foil finishes, from mahogany to bespoke colours such as greens or blues.
Timber frames can be varnished for a natural appearance of the wood, or painted. You will need to look after the frames regularly as you would with windows.
Aluminium is becoming more of a popular option due to it being very durable, it’s choice of colours and it is maintenance free, it will not warp or twist and has excellent thermal values meaning less heat loss and ultimately saving you money on your energy bills when coupled with the thermally efficient glass. This option is most common commercially but is becoming ever more popular residentially too.
Designing your conservatory to suit your home.
When choosing the style and materials of your conservatory you should firstly take in to consideration the look and materials of your property. Pick a style that compliments your home; think about which way it will face and the layout of your garden! You will want to make the most of your view.
A good installer will be able to give you all the advice you need, thinking into the future to avoid any problems, for example if its south facing it may get too hot in the summer if the wrong products are used, so you will need particular glass or polycarbonate and solar products to suit the position of the conservatory.
The design of your conservatory will also depend on how you want to use the room! Do you want extra living room space? Kitchen? Diner? Will you want extra wall space for cupboards? Where will you want the doors? What type of furniture will you want to fit in there? What about heating? As you can see there are many questions. These are all the questions an installer will ask to prepare your design options.
Deciding on the style of your conservatory will depend on how much space you have and the style of your house. A lean-to conservatory is more popular on houses with limited space. If you have a larger garden you may want to design the conservatory to get the most out of your view. Low eaves have to be considered when planning the design, as it can limit the style of roof available to you. Existing drains and the upper story windows also have to be considered.
Last but certainly not least temperature control.
A south facing conservatory will tend to get very hot during the summer months; however this can be rectified using one of a large range of solar products which will reduce the heat gain.
Solar film for glass roofs and solar inserts for polycarbonate are extra options for controlling the temperature of the room. These will also stop a high percentage of uv rays therefore protecting your furniture and also reduces glare making it more comfortable to sit in.
In the winter months and cooler evenings conservatories can get cold, there are steps you can take to help keep the heat in. Consider the thermal efficiency of the frames and glass in which your installer is providing. A low U-Value combination will help to keep your conservatory cosy in the colder months providing that you have a heat source in the room. You will also need to consider the glazing in the roof, having low U-Value windows and a high U-Value roof glazing will not benefit you at all. Spending a little extra initially will save you money in the long run and give you a much more usable room all year round.