Why a conservatory may now be the best and most popular choice for an additional room

DSC_0063 (Small)David Fenning’s Conservatories have been designing and constructing glazed sun rooms since 1969.  Some of the early basic structures were of a greenhouse design but nonetheless people used to sit in these protected areas and enjoy their garden, albeit sharing their relaxation with plants  . . .  I am sure H R H Prince Charles would have approved.

As the quality of construction materials improved, there have been significant advances in what we now consider as modern conservatories rather than lean-to greenhouses and another major move forward is now substantially overdue.

During the last five years, there has been a generally unexplained reduction in home owners constructing conservatories on their properties.  It can however be seen that this has run very much parallel with the downturn in our and indeed the world economic climate.

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This decline in fully glazed conservatory sales has been dramatic but there appears to be a substantial rise in those adding brick extensions with tiled roofs.  Reliable market research indicates that it is not so much people feeling that conservatories are too hot in the summer or cold during winter months but that they are considered as a luxury addition to the home and we are of course currently experiencing tough economic times.  Full extensions are now popular because more home owners are not moving and therefore wishing to add brick and tiled roof extensions to their home for a more general living area BUT people have been extending their homes for hundreds of years and this has previously made no dramatic impact on the popularity of glazed conservatories.

I can unhesitatingly say that many thousands of my customers will unequivocally state that their fully glazed conservatory is by far the family’s most popularly used room.  When asked why, the answer will very simply be.

“It is a wonderfully bright protected area where we can relax comfortably in our gardens whilst enjoying natural light and warmth, whenever we wish. “

Throughout the UK there are thousands of hotels and restaurants with substantial, fully  glazed south facing conservatories and if you speak with those who work there throughout the year, they will generally say, without hesitation, that these glazed garden rooms are by far the most popular areas within their premises. 

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CIMG0887 (Small)The time has never been a better time to choose a  modern glazed conservatories, with the latest highly thermally efficient glass units and insulating building  materials.   We do not need to re-invent glazed conservatories but can see how effective companies have been with surprisingly children’s scooters when we would have thought they wanted the latest mountain bikes or electronic toys and indeed coffee, which surely presented bigger challenges.

With the inevitable increase in lighting and heating costs, a south facing fully glazed conservatory will not only provide a splendidly popular garden room but substantially  benefit from these other potential savings   . . . .  did you know that August is one of the wettest months in the UK, recorded with little sunlight during many daylight hours.

There is no reason why a well designed conservatory, using the latest building materials, should not comfortably be used throughout the year and be complimentary to both the exterior and interior of a property rather than looking like an add-on.  These latest buildings can provide all of the benefits a full extension offers but with wonderfully clear views of the garden and a splendidly light-filled environment enjoying much free solar gain.  There are of course opportunities to introduce wood burning fires, under floor heating all combined to provide the same level of comfort as a brick and mortar extension.  Most people are inclined to ‘lean towards the light’ even if they are not vegetarians.  Whether it is a window seat in a plane, a comfortable chair by your patio door, driving to park by the sea on a grey wet day or collectively spending millions of pounds jumping on a plane to escape from our English climate sadly during what they had hoped would be a Summer weather.  All these desires can be simply provided by constructing a good quality glazed sun room, which one can walk easily into, whenever you choose, with your coffee or glass of wine and your favourite book to relax in the garden at any time throughout the year to enjoy the naturally light, bright, up-lifting vitamin  D re-fuelling atmosphere.

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Whilst the current economic climate appears to be affecting conservatory popularity, it is important to remember that they are generally exempt from Building Regulations, when less than 30 square metres floor area, at ground level and having 75% of the roof glazed.  Extensions incur Building Regulation Fees, structural and heat loss calculations.  A much more expensive building operation.

Now that modern conservatories are substantially more thermally efficient they can be used throughout the year. Numerous conservatories built some years ago, can now be brought up to date by using modern thermally efficient materials. Either with re-glazing, new framework but in many cases taking advantage of existing bases, lead flashing and drainage

Using high performance glass sealed units and the latest building insulation materials, glazing in a new conservatory can be significantly higher and even up to and including 80% – this is substantially above the 25% of floor area suggested by Building Control.

Building Regulations will be required if you do not choose the benefit of external quality doors between the new sun room and your home.   However, you may still have a considerable glazed area by improving the efficiency of your existing home through loft, wall and insulation beneath your new floor, together with improving your boiler efficiency.  Choosing a south facing elevation with its resultant solar gain can also be significantly improving  the overall thermal efficiency and acceptance by  Building Control.