A conservatory can be a great way to add extra space to your home. They add light, comfort and a great spot for relaxing in the summer. Conservatories can also add value to your property. If you’re considering getting a conservatory, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. This is going to be a permanent change to your home, so it’s important to get it right. Here are our top tips for your new conservatory.
Why have a conservatory?
- Adds value to your property
- Creates more space
- Adds comfort
- Let in light
- Cheaper than moving home
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Can be used all year round
- Appeals to potential buyers
Don’t go for the first option
When getting any building work done on your home, it’s important to shop around and get quotes from a number of different sources. Look local and see if there are any trusted tradespeople in your area who specialise in conservatories.
We recommend getting at least 3 quotes before you make a decision, this will give you a good indication of the going market rate for the type of work you want done.
It might be worth talking to friends, neighbours or family who have conservatories. Ask for recommendations from your network and question others on how the process ran for them.
Know what you’ll use it for
Conservatories fulfill different needs for different people. Have a firm understanding of what it is you’d like your conservatory to be used for. This will help with the build process but also for when it comes to layout and interior design too.
With that said, it’s important not to get too bogged down in the materials or size of conservatory you’d like. Being too stringent with this could mean that you miss out on good deals or a potentially ideal build for your property. Have an open and honest conversation with tradespeople and listen to their recommendations.
If you’re doing it to add value, get someone to value your home beforehand
Sometimes the leading reason to add a conservatory is to increase a property’s value in the future. This can be a great idea, though it might be worth getting someone in to undertake a valuation of your house now.
Discuss the idea of adding a conservatory with them and see how much they think this will give. You may even be better off adding an extension instead.
Want to get a quick estimate of how much value an extension might add to your property? Our handy extension value calculator can help.
Make sure it suits your home
Sometimes, conservatories can be a rushed job which look out of place with your home. It’s important not to fall into this trap as this may even reduce your property’s value.
Also, if your conservatory feels like it’s a mismatch with your property, it can make for an uncomfortable living environment. You may even end up regretting getting the work done in the first place.
How much does a conservatory cost?
As with any type of home improvement, costs can quickly creep up if you don’t adequately budget for the work you’re getting done. It’s always important to understand if there are any added costs which you haven’t considered. This means that when speaking to tradespeople, ask them exactly what’s included in the quote you’re given.
Be mindful of extra costs involved
Some features, such as lighting, electrical sockets, TV aerial plugs or ceiling vents may not be included as standard.
The materials you’re using for the conservatory will impact the lighting and temperature within the room. Sometimes, it’s worth paying a little extra to ensure you’re getting a comfortable room which you can use all year round.
There are some additional factors which could make the build of your conservatory more difficult and therefore increase the price. These include factors like drainage or floor levels. When getting your quote, a tradesperson should visit your home to get accurate measurements and also review the area to identify any potential issues.
Do you need planning permission for a conservatory?
As a rule of thumb, most conservatories won’t need planning permission. Having said this, it’s important to check as it’s not always the case.
You’ll likely need planning permission if:
- Your property is terraced or already had an extension
- Your home will be increased by more than 15%
- The conservatory isn’t at ground level
- You live in a conservation area
It’ll take about 8 weeks longer if you do need planning permission, be sure to factor this into any plans you have. This can also be an added expense too.
Depending on the way you intend to use your conservatory, you may need to consider building regulations. This usually won’t be the case, however if you wish to add a kitchen into your conservatory, this is something to factor in.
Building regulations won’t apply to you if:
- The conservatory is separated from your home by an external door
- It’s single storey and at ground level
- It’s under 30 square metres in size
- Doesn’t sit within a metre of a boundary wall
- Is glazed to building regulations (speak to whoever is installing the conservatory to confirm this)
- It’s fitted with walls which are at least 50% glazed and a roof that is at least 75% glazed
If you think you’ll need to comply with building regulations, you’ll need to ensure the work is checked by your local authority or an approved inspector. It’s worth discussing this with your chosen installer to determine whose responsibility this is.
Building regulations and planning permission have the potential to delay work, so be sure to know if this is needed.
Know what to expect from the build process
A conservatory will usually take between three and four weeks to build, including snagging and the finishing touches.
Initially the base will be built first. This involves clearing the ground, laying the foundations and levelling the floor before moving onto the walls. From here, the frames will be added and glazing begins. This is also where any electrical work will start. Finally, the walls will be plastered, electrical work will be completed and the flooring will be added.
Ordinarily, you won’t need to be home throughout the duration of the build. If your house has side or back access, disruption will be kept to a minimum. Depending on the type of electrical work, it’s worth noting that the power to your home may need to be turned off at times.
Include your conservatory in your home insurance
As with any changes to your home, it’s important to notify your insurer to ensure your conservatory is covered in your plan. Be sure to give your insurer a few weeks notice to update your plan when looking to build a conservatory.
Thinking of getting a conservatory?
If you’re considering a conservatory, you’ll need a trusted tradesperson to complete the work. Find quotes from some of the best tradespeople in the country here.