Glass rooms

By at home

A conservatory can add significantly to the value of your home, make sure you get it right with our guide…

Conservatories can bring the outside in but all too often that translates as boiling in summer, freezing in winter, and leaky.
Originally, they were glorified greenhouses for wealthy Victorians to store exotic plants from hotter climes, and in a country house, a grand colonial wood and glass conservatory looks wonderful.


But a poorly constructed one made from budget materials is more likely to be an under-used eyesore. High-tech engineering and glass technology mean that you can now create stunning conservatory extensions which will add instant glamour and square footage.

There are two ways to go. Traditional hardwood conservatories work well in semis or detached houses with large gardens. You don’t have to go bespoke; there are many good off-the-peg designs available. For urban or contemporary homes, a structural glass cube with fine glazing bars or a frameless glass system will make you feel as if you are having dinner in the garden, but need not be bespoke either. High-ceilinged conservatory extensions are very much in demand and can add enormously to the value of your property. As always, check building regulations and establish whether you need to apply for planning permission, conservation or listed building consent.

Temperature control Conservatories work well on the north or east face of a property, but south and west-facing rooms can get intense sun in summer. To maximise year-round comfort, it’s vital to control the temperature and light inside. With glass roofs and walls, heat loss is an issue, so use low-emissivity glass that reflects heat out when it’s hot, and in when it’s cold. It’s important to ventilate the roof electronically with heat sensors, or mechanically with a hand-winder that opens air vents. Motorised blinds or light-sensitive glass will keep glaring sun away, but always  choose a good-quality supplier.

Pictures: getty images

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