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17th November, 2021

A basic guide to oak framed conservatories, orangeries, and garden rooms

Oak makes for a stunning and versatile building material allowing you to create a quality, beautiful, glazed room, with the aesthetic that suits your home.  Due to it being a natural material it works well with both modern and older properties as the frames can be designed in such a way that will create anything from a Tudor inspired extension to a more modern barn extension. Oak is a premium material that just radiates quality and style, bringing in its natural colour and warmth combined with large areas of glazing, creating a light-filled inviting room. Crafting oak frames is a true art form completed by master craftsmen using traditional methods while meeting modern building standards. 

Oak can be used to create a conservatory that utilises more glass for the walls as well as a full glass roof, as well as an orangery, which tends to have a lower glass to wall ratio, coupled with a flat glass roof and a glass lantern covering part of the structure. Or it could be used in a garden room or oak building which may have glass walls included in the design, but would generally have a solid roof, perhaps with smaller roof-light windows to add ventilation and light. An oak frame makes the glass extension stand out creating a bold and beautiful design statement.

Here is our guide to the basics of oak framed conservatories and orangeries:
Oak sunroom extension

How much will an oak conservatory or garden room cost?

Oak is a premium material, and a lot goes into sourcing it from ethical and sustainable sources as well as crafting the wood into a useable product. It will of course completely dependent on the size, glass/brick/wood ratio and the design features that you choose.  An average oak framed glass extension would be around £50,000, with a small structure starting at around £30,000.

Do I need planning permission for an oak structure?

Like with adding any extension, whether traditional or glass, you would need to consider planning permission and whether it is necessary for your proposed structure.  You may well be able to add your oak building under permitted development rights, but it will all depend on the size and height of the structure, whether your home has been extended before and factors such as whether the building is listed or in an area of outstanding natural beauty.  Find out more about permitted development here.

Oak and stone orangery extension

Can I add an oak orangery or conservatory to my listed home?

Oak and glass tend to be highly favoured materials when it comes to gaining permission to extend a listed building.  Oak is of course 100% natural and is a material that would have been around and used in construction when the original property was built. Traditional building techniques are also used when constructing an oak frame such as oak pegging, which creates beautiful quality detailing. Glass is also favourable as it allows the outer fabric of the original building to be seen from the outside of the new structure. You will need specialist permission as well as planning permission to add your extension, and your designs will need to be sympathetic and blend with the main property to enable the plans to be passed.

Do I need foundations for my oak structure?

An oak extension is like any other home extension and would require a solid base and foundations that meet building regulations and standards.  We have been asked before whether these structures count as temporary buildings or can be built onto an existing wooden decking.  They are most definitely not temporary and would need full architectural designs and regulated construction, especially as oak is much heavier and will need heavy-duty footings to ensure the construction is strong and will pass building control inspection.

Beautifully Crafted Oak Framed Barn Garage
Traditional pegged oak construction
Expertly crafted oak beam and peg construction

Can I open my oak extension up to my home?

It is a very popular design feature now to open an oak glass extension up to the main home, creating open plan living and an easy flow from the original property into the new space.  Generally, you can remove all or part of the wall, but would need to consider the structural implications of adding an opening in the rear or side exterior wall of your home.  You would likely need to add in an RSJ for support as it would be one of the main supporting walls in the home, it would also require sign off from building control.

Do I need to add an independent heating system?

Building regulations state that you must install an independent heating system to keep your conservatory warm.  This could include under-floor heating or a more traditional radiator system.  If you open your new extension up to your home, you will also be required to address the insulation and eco properties of the room to comply with building control. Opening the outer wall up could mean that the main home loses heat much faster and therefore makes the rooms cold and require more heating, increasing costs and the impact on the environment.  Increasing thermal insulation as well as carefully considering the type of glass you install based on its U-value, (the amount of heat it lets in and out), will ensure that your new space and home stay comfortable and will save you money on your heating bill.

Modern oak orangery extension

How do I ensure that my oak orangery stays cool in the summer?

In the past glass extensions have had a reputation for being too hot to sit in in the spring and summer months and then on the reverse lose heat quickly making it costly to keep warm.  To make sure that you can get full use out of your oak framed conservatory or orangery, even in the extremes of the British climate, you should carefully consider your insulation and glass options.  As the majority of your new structure will be glass, getting the right glazing is a very important factor.  There are lots of different types of glass on the market, many claiming to be the best to keep the heat out, but they are not all created equal. There are also non-glass roof options that are popular at the budget end of the market.  However, if you are going to invest in a beautiful oak and glass building, one of the biggest areas for investment should be your glass.  The right glass will offer superior heat dispersing and temperature control properties, as well as the ability to reduce sun glare significantly and keep heat in during the winter. To do this, you need a glass product with a very low U-value. Find out more about temperature-controlled glass here.

Does oak require a lot of maintenance?

Oak is very hardy in its natural state and the tannins in the wood work very well at protecting the frames from moisture, weather and insect damage, but it will naturally weather and darken over time.  If you prefer to keep the oak looking as new, it will require sealing and then need to be topped up again every 3 or so years. If it is looked after and maintained effectively, oak can last for 100s of years, so well worth the investment.

Oak garden building

If you would like to explore the option of an oak framed glass extension more and get a no-obligation quote, our specialist team would be happy to discuss your requirements further.  We can answer any questions you have and provide tailored advice based on your home and needs.

Discuss your oak project

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