A great way to add functional space to your home without having a full-blown extension is by adding a conservatory. Conservatories are great spaces to connect with the outdoors and also have functional living space for entertaining, relaxing, or anything else you enjoy in your home. We have already put together a few design ideas for inspiration on themes. In this article we’ll dig into some of the finer details regarding the actual construction elements of your new space.

A conservatory structure is usually simple enough and a lot of the time, just a room made of windows. When you start getting into all the details however, you’ll quickly realize there is a lot more to it. The type of glass, how the windows and doors open, the position of the conservatory related to the sun, the roof and your plans for using the room are all factors you need to consider. All these things can influence cost as well as your ensuring that you are able to use the room for its intended purpose.

Conservatory ideas can be hard to visualize so we’ve listed some of the most common structural options. To help further we also provide a free CAD design service where all you need to do is send us a photo and we can superimpose your conservatory design onto the image.

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Conservatory windows

The key component of a conservatory is, of course, the windows. Not only because they are a primary ingredient in the look of the conservatory but they play one of the largest parts in helping to make the conservatory energy efficient. This is because glazing will account for the majority of the walls and ceiling. Choosing Windows that let energy escape or do not reflect sunlight adequately can seriously impact on when you will be able to comfortably use your new conservatory.

There are lots of choices when it comes to windows including style, shape, glaze, and operation. Tilt turn windows for example are european style windows that tilt inward or outward. They can be hinged at the bottom or top to open in different directions.

Roof vents

Skylights, lanterns and roof vents are other options to consider, especially in warmer climates. Heat always rises so having a way to vent it is important for good air flow and comfort. Skylights can either be fixed or operable depending on your needs. If your conservatory opens up to a rooftop for example, having access through an operable skylight would be very convenient.

Dwarf walls

A popular choice for modern conservatories are dwarf walls. These are low height walls that the windows will sit on, as opposed to having the window frames sit on the floor (sometimes called the slab). One of the more appealing reasons to have these included in your design is to give the whole construction more of a home extension feel, but practical uses include giving you a back to set furniture against, an internal wall to include electrical sockets or even simply somewhere to rest your drink on.

More glazing considerations

Light reflection and the position of your conservatory are crucial considerations when choosing glazing. If your structure is facing constant sunlight for example, lower heat conduction (U-Value) is better. For cloudier or overcast climates, a higher U-Value would suffice.

Conservatories being mainly windows in construction means they are often flooded by plenty of light and you will enjoy uninterrupted views of the outside/garden. Historically this amount of glazing would mean that your conservatory would be cold in winter and like a greenhouse in the summer months. Progress and innovation in recent years means manufacturers have made great strides to reduce these problems. Mainly this is due to the introduction of more efficient double glazing filled with Argon which helps to reduce heat transfer, both internally and externally.

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