All you need to know about buying conservatories in Surrey!

28th Sep 2020
Edwardian conservatory

As a highly reputed conservatory installer to homes in Surrey, we at Sheerwater Glass can appreciate the amount of thought that goes into buying a conservatory. So, to help you on your way, we’ve decided to condense our 45+ years of experience into this handy blog.

What ways can be a conservatory be used?

Loads! The beauty of modern conservatories is that they can be built to function just like another room in the home, being used in a multitude of ways. It will all depend on your design choices. Some of the popular ways that people use them, however, include:

  • Home offices/studies
  • An extra living room
  • Dining rooms
  • Kitchen conservatories
  • Games rooms/children’s playroom
  • Utility room
  • Hobby spaces

Can I expect a conservatory to feel comfortable throughout the year?

One of the issues with older conservatories is that they felt unbearably hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. However, modern conservatories are built from naturally insulating uPVC frames and energy-efficient glazing. Conservatory roof technology has also improved massively in recent years. The combination of these factors enables conservatories to feel a good temperature at all times in the year.

Shall I choose glass or tiles for my conservatory’s roof?

Solid Guardian Warm Roof ConservatoryThis will depend on what you plan to use the conservatory for. However, we’ve compared the two in a number of key aspects below to help you decide:

Thermal performance

Modern glass roofs do a great job of regulating a conservatory’s temperature throughout the year, compared to those of old. This is thanks to innovations like solar control glass, which reflects the sun’s rays to prevent overheating. However, the combination of hardwearing tiles and multiple layers of insulation gives tiled roofs the edge in thermal performance. So, in theory, a conservatory with a tiled roof should cost less to keep warm.

Natural light

As you might have expected, glass roofs are the clear winner in this aspect, although tiled roofs can be fitted with various roof lights to improve light intake. So, if natural light is key to how you plan to enjoy your conservatory, go for a glass roof.

Feel

Internally, tiled roofs have a plastered ceiling that can be fitted with spotlights and speakers, so they better resemble other rooms in the home. Externally, you can choose from several tile colours. However, a glass roof gives a conservatory more of a sunroom feel.

Maintenance

Tiled roofs are designed to be maintenance-free. However, glass roofs can be fitted with self-cleaning glass, which breaks down organic material so it can be washed away by the rain.

Durability

Whether you opt for a glass or tiled roof, both options come with a 10-year guarantee for peace of mind. However, glass roofs are built from durable uPVC, so should last around 25 years. Tiled roofs also have an expected lifespan of 50 years.

What conservatory styles are there?

White Victorian Conservatories

Conservatories are available in a diverse range of styles, some of which are better suited to contemporarily styled homes and others to more traditional properties. The right option for you might also depend on the size of your home and the amount of garden space you have available.

Lean-to

With a single pitched roof and rectangle shape, lean-to conservatories have a minimalist design that is great for modern homes and gardens with limited space.

Victorian

Easily recognised by their large pitched roofs and 3 or 5 faceted fronts, Victorian conservatories are the most recognisable conservatory style and one that looks good almost anywhere.

P-shaped

When you combine a lean-to and a Victorian conservatory, you get a P-shaped one. If you’ve got lots of available space, they can make a wonderful addition to your property.

Edwardian

Featuring a flat front, rectangle shape and pitched roof, Edwardian conservatories are another classic conservatory style. Thanks to their rectangular shape, you can enjoy maximum floor space.

Gable

Featuring a triangular front, gable conservatories have high ceilings and let huge amounts of natural light flow inside. For bungalows that have a gable end, they are brilliant, although they are far from limited to this location.

Shall I go for a conservatory instead of an orangery?

When looking to extend your home, another option available to you is an orangery. Typically, they have brick pillars and supporting walls, meaning there is less glazing than with a conservatory. Lantern roofs also tend to be fitted to orangeries, and these are surrounded by a plastered ceiling. Although, they can be fitted with tiled roofs as well.

Like conservatories, they can be built in a number of different styles. However, because they have more brickwork and require more preparation to build, on average, they are more expensive and take longer to install than conservatories.

uPVC orangery in cream

Will I need planning permission for my conservatory?

In most cases, planning permission is not required because conservatories are considered a permitted development right. However, the rules are often different in designated land, such as conservation areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and the Broads. So, we recommend you contact your local planning authority to check if you will require it.

We are also happy to help you navigate through the complexities of acquiring planning permission. And if you’d like to view the full guidance on planning permission for conservatories, it is available via the Planning Portal website.

Sheerwater Glass, Surrey’s conservatory specialists

If you’re looking to add a secure, energy-efficient and versatile living space to your Surrey home, look no further than us here at Sheerwater Glass. We are more than happy to discuss any of your requirements, sharing our wealth of experience and working with you to create your dream living space. For more information, give us a call on 01932 344 415 or contact us online.