roomoutsideuk Room Outside Admin
19th May, 2021

What is the cost difference between a conservatory, orangery or frameless glass extension?

If you are planning on adding a conservatory, orangery, or a frameless glass extension to your home, one of your biggest questions maybe around the investment required to build the design that you want. The conservatory market varies greatly with some companies offering cheaper off-the-shelf style options; some even offer flat pack to order conservatories that you can put together yourself. At the other end of the market conservatory and orangery design will be completely bespoke to you and your requirements, so the final investment will be determined based on the design decisions you make. A custom-designed glass room means that you can be sure that it fits your requirements and lifestyle as well as being sympathetic to your existing property.

Like with pretty much everything in life, when it comes to adding an orangery or conservatory you get what you pay for. While the off-the-shelf and self-build products may well offer some of what you need for a much smaller investment, the quality will be miles apart from a fully bespoke, handcrafted quality structure. There are also often hidden costs that you would need to factor into your budget. While a quote for one of these structures may be coming in under £25,000 you will need to be sure that they include the groundwork and construction if it is being installed for you and that the structure is truly up to standard. The last thing you would want is to invest and then the structure ends up coming in over your budget, and perhaps even not fit for the purpose you intended.

What does a bespoke glass extension cost?

A bespoke structure will require a budget of £25,000 as a bare minimum for a small uPVC structure, but what you get with a bespoke structure will far outweigh the investment. 

An experienced and quality company will design and build you a glass extension that will enhance your home and your life and providing it is maintained, will ensure that it lasts for decades. Due to the bespoke nature, the costs can vary greatly from project to project depending on what type of structure you choose, the size, as well as the materials and the finishing touches. A smaller custom design may start at around £25,000, with the majority of projects in the £35,000 – £50,000 bracket and some can go up into the £100,000s. It all depends on what you want to achieve.

If you are trying to get an idea of the kind of budget you may need based on your preferences and inspiration you have gained from other customers projects, then this guide may help you understand what elements and design decisions will command a higher budget or help you to identify areas where you could reduce costs.

1. Type of structure

What style structure do you like? Conservatory, orangery, frameless glass extension? The type of structure you choose will dictate the investment required, with the cost scale generally starting with conservatories, which on average fall into the £25,000 to £40,000 budget. Orangeries are mostly in the middle price bracket, but they can command a much larger investment, for example, a large timber structure with a full lantern roof is likely to cost between £50,000 and £100,000.

Frameless glass extensions are often mistakenly thought of as a lower budget option because they are all glass and don’t necessarily require any building work. These all-glass structures are a premium product that uses specialist structural silicone and structural glass, starting at £35,000 as a minimum for a very small structure. To get a large bespoke frameless structure you are looking at £50,000+, with most coming in above the £100,000 mark. The overall investment really can vary greatly, a large conservatory, for example, can cost more than a smaller orangery. A large orangery may well require more budget than a small all-glass structure. If you are not sure of the difference between the types of structure and what you might prefer in terms of design read this blog.

2. Frame material

There are a variety of frame materials to choose from and each offers different benefits. uPVC is usually the cheaper option. It is only available in a select range of colours and finishes but is low maintenance and long-lasting. Hardwood timber and oak are of course the more expensive option as they are handcrafted to your desired frame design and the material is high quality, sustainably sourced wood, which is extremely hard wearing and durable, as well as being exceptionally beautiful to look at. Hardwood frame quality does speak for itself and you get what you pay for in longevity and style. Timber frames will require a little more in the way of maintenance, such as a re-stain or paint every 3 or so years depending on the exposure, but if looked after it will be around for a very long time. Aluminium frames are a modern choice, in between timber and uPVC in terms of cost, the material is lightweight, energy-efficient, hardwearing and creates a contemporary feel to the structure. It can be powder coated in a range of colours and with basic regular maintenance will keep your structure looking its best for many years.

3. Size

The size of your glass structure is important and all too often the mistake people make when embarking on a project like this is to compromise on the size to reduce cost. While size does play its part in the overall cost, it will be one of the most important design decisions you make. People very rarely regret choosing one frame material over another or including one less window, but they do often regret not creating a space that is big enough and that will serve their needs. It’s important to work with your expert design consultant to design a structure in the size and shape that will suit your property and your needs.

4. Glass to wall ratio

When designing your glass extension, you will want to consider your glass to wall ratio. The more glass included in your structure the larger the investment, so if you want to reduce the costs, including dwarf walls as well as full height walls to one or two aspects could be a good option. It’s also worth considering what you want to use the room for and what kind of furniture you would want to have, for example, if you want to include a tall dresser in your conservatory, you will need at least one full-height wall to stand the dresser against.

5. The type of glass

Not all conservatory glass is created equal and while you might be tempted to choose a cheaper glazing option for your glass room, this will have a considerable impact on the comfort of your new space and how often you will be able to use it. Without superior temperature and solar control glass for your windows and roof, you will find your orangery to be too hot in summer and freezing in winter. Plus, the glare from the sun could render your room too bright and require blinds to offer shade and they won’t be as effective at protecting your décor from fading and blocking the harmful UV rays on your family’s skin.

6. Groundwork and additional construction

When costing your new project, a large factor that will need to be considered will be your existing property and the land where you intend to install your new space. The amount of construction and groundwork needed to prepare your property to add the new structure will form part of the overall cost of your project. If you have an older or listed property, there may be additional work that needs to be undertaken to ensure the integrity of your property and the new extension. Like with any kind of building work there is the possibility for unexpected problems which can mean more costs to you, so it is always advisable to keep an overflow budget back from your main project budget to cover anything unexpected that will need fixing to build your glass extension. You may also want to factor in costs for any final landscaping of your garden or work needed to put your garden back to its former glory once construction is finished.

7. Finishing touches and décor

There are lots of finishing options from finials to the hardware and blinds to be considered depending on your style preferences and what you want to spend. Again, these will vary in cost and will be a factor that impacts your investment. You will also want to consider the cost of decorating and furnishing your space to ensure you are left with a fully complete room that is ready to enjoy.

Bespoke glass extensions by Room Outside

At Room Outside we offer fully bespoke conservatories, orangeries, and frameless glass extensions as we believe that this the only way a customer can achieve the glass room of their dreams. We design and build quality structures, which in most cases are offered on a full turn-key service. We have over 5 decades of experience in creating beautiful spaces for our customers, and our team of experts will assist you throughout the process to ensure that your final space is completely tailored to your lifestyle, property, design preferences, requirements, and budget.

Speak to one of our expert design consultants about your project

Get in Touch