Conservatory Design Tips and Advice

Conservatory Design Tips and Advice

In this article we present some tips for conservatory buyers – we hope you find these tips useful in your conservatory search.

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We have put an (***) beside any particularly important tips.

TIP 1 *** Always calculate your internal floor area when ordering a conservatory. Most suppliers will quote sizes based on external sizes. Typically your internal depth (projection) is 10.5 inches (275 mm) less than external depth while internal width is 21 inches (550 mm) less than external width if you use a cavity wall construction. A BIG DIFFERENCE! It’s the internal floor area that most people are really interested in.

TIP 2 *** A follow on from the above. Always manually mark out the area of your new conservatory when designing and obtaining quotations. Do this as accurately as possible. A few stakes and string will do the job. You could even get a potential supplier to mark out the area.

TIP 3 Unless you feel especially confident – do not go for the cheapest quotation. A bit of a generalisation we know – but rarely in our experience does the cheapest supplier also supply the best product or the best service.

TIP 4 When obtaining quotations do not try and “beat every supplier into the ground”. Most of the better companies will not wish to trade in this way – only the less professional will usually have the flexibility. These less professional companies will often “agree” to your request but end up short changing you later. We are not suggesting that you don’t negotiate. What we are suggesting is that you negotiate fairly. Make a detailed list of the features “you must have” and ask each company to give their best price. Don’t expect to get a conservatory with a glass roof, Pilkington “K” glass and Argon filled units for the price of a standard double glazed conservatory with 16 mm polycarbonate in the roof.

TIP 5 It is always good practice to allow a small contingency (say 10%) for “extras” or additions you may make to the order after you place your initial order. Builders can have unforeseen work or you may decide to make some changes as work proceeds. There may be some landscaping or similar.

TIP 6 This is one of our favourites – especially if you have children. It’s the TIME CAPSULE tip. Simply put some current newspaper clippings plus a brief description of yourself and family in a waterproof/rot-proof container. A 2 litre plastic carton with screw cap is perfect. Children love to include some “original artwork” and written descriptions of themselves. The fun and sense of occasion is amazing. Perhaps someday somebody else will share in this. You can “hide” the time capsule almost anywhere – but the favourite is within the cavity walls or under the floor if you have a suspended floor.

TIP 7 *** Buy the best possible conservatory you can afford. For a relatively small additional sum spent now you can have a conservatory which will give you many years of satisfaction. Of course you want value for money – but don’t try doing it too cheaply. Consider glass roofs, Pilkington “K” glass (Low E) etc.

TIP 8 When you go on holiday – please make sure you have adequate shading and ventilation for your conservatory. You don’t want to come home to a conservatory full of dead plants!

TIP 9 Candles and such like are wonderful in a conservatory – especially in the evening. However do remember that these candles will melt/bend in the daytime heat!

TIP 10 *** Do remember to inform your insurers of your new conservatory / sunroom addition. Adequate cover for complete rebuilding should be arranged as soon as the conservatory is erected.

TIP 11 Unless there is no alternative do not place doors in the front of the conservatory. This creates a “corridor” effect and limits your usable space for furniture etc. Better to position the doors on the side – ideally as close to the main house wall as possible so as to minimise the interruption to your “flow” and usable space.
TIP 12 A conservatory should not be a “bolt on” to your property. Always endeavour to match your new addition into your home. Match brick work and render details. Make it feel and look as though it’s always been there.