To get your conservatory or orangery project underway, there are a few considerations you should take into account while researching, designing and purchasing your glass room extension
Before embarking on a conservatory or glass extension project, you should really think about what the space will be used for and how you will use it in your day-to-day life. This will help you to make choices around the size, shape, and style of your glass extension as well as how it will be decorated inside.
If you want your space to be an occasional entertaining and relaxing space then you will need to consider the amount of furniture you would like in the room. A dining table, for example, can take up a large amount of space and you may wish to have the floor space to extend the table out further when you have more guests. If you won’t be using the space all the time, you will probably prefer to keep the doors between your home and the glass extension, but if you are looking to extend out your kitchen and dining area, you are more likely to want an open plan space, so removing the doors and potentially widening the opening out to the conservatory or orangery would make sense to maximise the potential of the space. If you are wanting to add an office or a music room, would it be better to build you glass room as a standalone structure in the garden to limit the noise levels from the home into the office, or from the music room into the home? Perhaps keeping the doors closed will be enough to maintain privacy, but keep a physical connection to the home? It’s really up to you and what you require from your new space, and a good Design Consultant will help you do this.
It is also a good idea to get some inspiration from other projects to get a good understanding of what you do and don’t want. Creating a mood board with print outs from your online search, magazine images or setting up a digital mood board on a platform like Pinterest, can really help you to get a clearer picture of what you want to achieve. It’s also worth looking at previous client projects from your chosen conservatory company to get a feel for what they do and whether or not what you want to achieve is achievable with them; if they have done something similar that you like, you can be confident that they can create your vision too. Remember though, your glass extension needs to be sympathetic to the style of your property, bear that in mind when nailing down your preferred aesthetic. Having your ideas with you during a design consultation will really help to ensure that your chosen conservatory specialist understands what you want from your new space. A good conservatory expert will also be able to advise on the feasibility of your ideas as well as make recommendations to improve on the design to tailor it to you, your home, and lifestyle.
When choosing the materials for your structure, it is also worth considering both the temperature control via insulation and the type of glass used. You want your new space to be warm in winter and cooler in the summer months, so ensuring you have the right heating, insulation, and temperature control glass in place, will make sure that you can use your space all year round and that it is energy and cost efficient.
After your structure is built there will need to be a certain level of regular maintenance and cleaning. Before choosing your frames, it is worth deciding how much maintenance you want to commit to; hardwood timber frames for example are the ultimate in quality and will last for decades, but require re-staining or painting every few years, where as uPVC can be a lot lower maintenance if you keep the structure clean. Which ever materials you go with, you can hire specialist cleaning and maintenance services to ensure your structure is kept in good repair and looking its best.
Budget is of course vitally important when embarking on a project like this. You will likely want to find out sooner rather than later some rough estimates of what you are hoping to build, so that you can assess what is affordable and get a budget down on paper. When working out your budget you will need to ensure you are factoring in all the costs. From the groundwork and foundations, through to materials and build of the structure as well as the interior design elements to furnish and decorate. When deciding on your budget you are best to make sure that what you invest will also add the same value or more to your property.
When it comes to conservatory and orangery costs, you are looking at £20,000 upwards for a bespoke high-quality structure. You can buy some cheaper ‘off the shelf’ options, but you may end up compromising on the shape and size as it won’t be bespoke to your needs and the quality is also unlikely to be as good, you tend to get what you pay for and cheaper isn’t always best. If you look into an off the shelf option, you would need to also ensure that you have the ground work as well as labour costs included in your quote; often these costs are on top of the structure price and failing to factor them in could mean you going way over budget. Instead going for a bespoke glass extension that gets you the best result based on what you can afford to invest will ensure you get a better-quality finish. Small compromises or tweaks to your design may make your dream glass room more affordable. For example the frame material can make a big difference to the final price, Timber is likely to be a bigger investment than uPVC, but you could still achieve your chosen aesthetics with either of these materials. The more glass your design includes the higher the investment, so including a full height wall to one aspect or dwarf walls could also be an option to reduce the overall expense.
You should also decide whether you will decorate the inside of your new space yourself or if you want your installer to do that for you, if that is an option that they offer. You could save yourself some money by doing it yourself, but it will require more time and effort on your part. When going into any extension project, having a contingency budget is also advised as groundwork can sometimes bring up unexpected challenges and costs.
4. Property value
It is always advisable to get a property valuation prior to adding an orangery or conservatory. This will help you to understand the current value of your home as well as the estimated value once you add on your new glass structure. The value that is added will all depend on the type, size and style of the structure that you add and what it adds to your property in terms of function and space. It’s also worth noting that a glass extension can add up to 7% more value to your home if you create a space that is useful, sympathetic to your current home style and that blends in well with the surroundings, area and other properties on the street. Knowing the kind of value your proposed glass room will add, will also help you to set a budget, as investing more than the value gained is inadvisable. On the flip side, investing a little more than planned and changing the type of structure you were going to add, may see you gain a larger amount of equity in your home.
5. Planning permission
You won’t always need planning permission to add a conservatory, you are able to extend your home in certain ways under permitted development rights. It really depends on the size of the structure you want to add. It is worth doing some research before hand to see whether your ideas would require permission or not. Your chosen conservatory installer will also be able to help with this and put you in touch with the local planning authority. We have written a more in-depth blog on planning permission here.
Before going ahead with a conservatory specialist, make sure you understand what they offer in terms of services and their processes. Whether you are looking for a very hands-off, full-service approach, simply agreeing the design and budget and let them get on with it. Or if you prefer to project manage or liaise with an architect, this will dictate which companies are right for you to work with, based on their approach.
Our team at Room Outside have been designing and building custom high-quality conservatories for over 5 decades. We have the know how and experience to help you choose and create your dream glass room, no matter your requirements or preferred style. We can offer a full-service approach managing everything from the design and build through to painting and decorating. Take a look at our gallery of past project to see the quality of our work and get inspiration for your project. We would be happy to discuss your project further and offer a no-obligation quote.