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5 Questions To Ask When Buying A Conservatory

Twyford Windows has vast experience selling conservatories, including the ever-popular Edwardian Conservatory. As a result we’ve learnt a lot about what our customers are looking for when they’re buying a conservatory.

Buying A Conservatory

The main questions to ask when buying a conservatory are:

  • What are you going to use your conservatory for?
  • Which style of conservatory do you like, e.g. is an Edwardian Conservatory right for you?
  • What size is required to suit your needs and size of garden?
  • Do you need planning permission for your conservatory?
  • How do you plan for the inevitable disruption while your conservatory is built.

What are you going to use your conservatory for?
A conservatory can be used for many different uses. A family room? A dining room? A play room for the kids? Or additional space to practice yoga? Or, most likely it’s for general use. These different uses may determine factors such as flooring, the number of electrical points, the size of conservatory, it’s position next to the house and the level of insulation it requires. In some people’s minds a conservatory is unattractive because it is slightly dated – one customer told me she remembered her parent’s draughty, leaking conservatory. Design and build has improved considerably to ensure a watertight and highly insulated construction.

Edwardian Conservatory

Which style of conservatory do you like?
There are many different styles of conservatory. Each has it’s own characteristics, which may or may not suit your needs. The style you chose is down to aesthetics and personal preference. Be aware that after doing more research many people change their minds. Styles such as Edwardian Conservatory and Victorian may be perceived as too ‘traditional’ by some, in which case a Lean-to or Orangery may be the solution. Furthermore, the addition of a solid roof can turn your conservatory into a room that is habitable all year round.

What size is required to suit your needs?
Naturally, this is highly dependent on your budget and size of garden. The price of a conservatory is proportional to it’s size. Bigger conservatories require more materials and larger foundations. You don’t want to overwhelm your garden with a large construction that significantly reduces your enjoyment of the garden. Bear in mind, if you plan to sell your house what would a prospective buyer be looking for? To provide you with an idea of size a typical build, such as an Edwardian Conservatory, is 4m x 3m.

Do you need planning permission for your conservatory?
Generally speaking, when buying a conservatory you don’t need planning permission or comply with building regulations. Of course, the devil is in the detail. For many years, this was partly because a conservatory was not considered a ‘habitable space’. This was due to older conservatories being too hot in summer and too cold in winter. However, advances in build quality, construction and technology means a new conservatory can be used all year around.

Conservatory Building Regulations

Building regulations usually do not apply if your conservatory is:

  • separated from your home by an external door under 30sq.m in floor area
  • single storey at ground floor level
  • glazed in compliance with building regulations and British Standards
  • not within 1m of a boundary
  • fitted with a roof that is at least 75% glazed and walls that are 50% glazed

This final point is important if you’re considering a solid roof, or if you’re retrospectively fitting one to your old conservatory. A solid roof will require building regulations. This is not complicated if you have experience in the requirements and is something we’d help with.

How do you plan for the disruption while your conservatory is built?
A strong solid foundation is vital for a building project. The first week or two is spent levelling the ground to create a concrete base. A mini-digger, a skip and a concrete mixers may be required. There will inevitably be noise and some mud although we do everything we can to minimise disruption. The construction of the frame is relatively quick once the foundation is ready. This is followed by plastering, fitting electrical points and laying the floor. This can actually be the longest phase – the floor typically needs to dry before carpet or floor boards can be put down, which may take a few weeks. However, when buying a conservatory as a rough estimate factor 3-4 weeks for the average sized (4x3m) conservatory.

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We've been working in this trade for a combined total of 50 years, forming close partnerships with suppliers, installing to the highest standards and building trust with our customers.

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