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Our Guide to Replacing A Conservatory



When the time comes to replace your conservatory, it's an opportunity to enhance your home's appearance and value. It will also provide an opportunity to rectify any past issues and enhance your living space to meet your current needs. In this guide, we’ll explore the key considerations when replacing your conservatory.


What are the key considerations when planning a replacement conservatory?


Think about its purpose and functionality


What is the purpose of your conservatory? This is a good time to reflect on what you want from your conservatory. Has your lifestyle or the purpose of the space changed since you first installed it? Whether it’s for dining, relaxing with family, socialising or entertaining or just for useful additional space, you’ll want to ensure the new design aligns with your current needs.


Think about the layout of your conservatory. Modern designs can offer more usable space, better layout options, and improved integration with the rest of your home. You’ll also want to ensure your new conservatory complements your home’s existing appearance and architecture. Consider both interior and exterior aesthetics to create a seamless transition between the two living spaces.


Keeping an existing conservatory base


If you have an existing conservatory and you are happy with the size and shape, sometimes you may just need to upgrade the roof and/or the glazed wall frames. If so, it is often possible to do this whilst keeping the existing conservatory basework. 


Opting for this approach can lead to significant cost savings compared to installing a brand-new conservatory. However, it's crucial to have confidence in the existing base work, especially if you're considering a solid roof. Solid roofs are generally heavier than the original glass or polycarbonate ones, making the integrity of the basework even more important.


We would also advise you to follow our guide below regarding the assessment of the current conservatory base work.


Assess the structure of your current conservatory


Evaluate the existing foundation and base for any signs of wear, subsidence, or water damage or cracks in any of the walls or brickwork mortar joints. A strong foundation is crucial for the longevity of your new conservatory and the depth and quality of the existing footings should be checked by someone with construction knowledge and experience. We also recommend you check the condition of the existing frames if you are considering replacing just the conservatory roof. 


Replacing the roof alone


Replacing just the conservatory roof on existing frames is a common upgrade, but it also presents an excellent opportunity to enhance the wall frames simultaneously. Upgrading to more durable, contemporary materials can boost insulation, improve security, and extend the overall lifespan of your conservatory. This step is especially worthwhile if you're unsure about the long-term performance of your current frames.


It's important to note that replacing wall frames later, under an existing roof, can be much more challenging, if not impossible. This is due to the technical difficulties involved in supporting the roof during the process. Therefore, considering both upgrades together can save you time and potential complications in the future.


Think about energy efficiency and comfort


If you need your conservatory to be an extension of your living space then you’ll want it to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You’ll need to think carefully about the following.


Roof Material Options


When considering conservatory roof options, you have a range of materials to choose from, each offering distinct benefits and which can also enhance functionality and comfort. Insulated tiled roofs provide excellent thermal efficiency, regulating temperatures year-round and reducing energy costs. These roofs offer durability and can be customised to match the aesthetic of the home. On the other hand, glass roofs flood the space with natural light, creating a bright and airy atmosphere within the conservatory and glazing with UV protection helps prevent fading of furnishings and flooring within the conservatory. 


Self-cleaning glass option


Self cleaning glass features a special coating that breaks down dirt and grime when exposed to sunlight, making maintenance hassle-free. Activ Blue glass also offers superior solar control, minimizing heat buildup during sunny days while maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature. This helps keep the conservatory maintain a comfortable temperature on sunnier days. Sunshade Blue glass provides similar benefits by blocking excess solar heat and glare, ensuring a pleasant living environment even in the height of summer. Both options contribute to energy efficiency and create a more enjoyable space for relaxation or entertaining, making them popular choices for glazed conservatory roofs.


Glass roofs offer unobstructed views of the sky and surrounding environment, enhancing the feeling of openness. Polycarbonate roofs, available in various thicknesses, provide cost-effective options whilst still offering insulation and UV protection and are cheaper than tiled or glass roofs, making them a popular choice for those on a budget. Ultimately, the choice of conservatory roof depends on factors such as budget, desired aesthetics, and climate considerations.


Conservatory Wall Frame Glazing Options


Upgrading to high-performance, energy-efficient double or triple-glazing can significantly improve the comfort and usability of your new conservatory all year round. Selecting the ideal glazing for conservatory wall frames is crucial for achieving optimal comfort and functionality.


Double or triple-glazed units provide superior insulation properties, helping to maintain stable indoor temperatures throughout the year while reducing energy costs. Low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings can further enhance thermal efficiency by reflecting heat back into the room during colder months and minimizing solar heat gain in warmer weather. 


Additionally, argon gas-filled cavities between the glass panes improve insulation by reducing heat transfer. For enhanced security and safety, laminated or toughened glass options are available and these also provide resistance to impacts and breakage. 


Choosing glazing with UV protection helps prevent fading of furnishings and flooring within the conservatory. By carefully considering these factors, homeowners can ensure their conservatory's glazing promotes a comfortable, energy-efficient, and secure living space.


Heating and Ventilation and Removal of Partition Doors between Conservatory and Main House


Efficient heating and ventilation systems are vital for maintaining a comfortable temperature and air quality. Consider integrating underfloor heating to keep the conservatory at an even temperature in the winter. You’ll also want to think about adding adequate ventilation for the summer months. 


Professional conservatory companies will advise on ventilation and offer conservatory ventilation options, such as discreet vents which can be integrated into the conservatory wall frames and also those which can be integrated into many roof systems.


Whilst conservatories are often exempt from many building regulations, there is normally a building regulations requirement that there be a physical partition, typically an exterior door, between the main house and the conservatory to ensure energy efficiency and it is also normally a building regulations requirement that the conservatory heating is separate to that of the of the main house and that it is controlled independently with it’s own thermostat. 


However, advancements in conservatory roof systems, particularly insulated tiled roofs, offer improved thermal properties and these systems can sometimes provide such high levels of insulation that they mitigate the need for a physical barrier between the conservatory and the main house. In such cases, and with the use of building control-approved tiled roof systems,  you may consider removing the doors to create a seamless transition between the spaces. To satisfy building control that the conservatory still satisfies the energy performance requirements, a SAP report would normally be required before an existing partition door is removed.


SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) reports are essential documents used in the UK to assess the energy performance of buildings. They provide calculations and ratings based on various factors such as insulation, heating systems, ventilation, and renewable energy sources. This report evaluates the overall energy performance of the property, considering factors like heat loss, thermal efficiency, and environmental impact. By demonstrating that the property as a whole maintains adequate insulation and energy efficiency, the SAP report can help gain approval from building control authorities for modifications such as removing partition doors between the house and conservatory. A professional conservatory installer should be able to advise on this and may be able to assist with the relevant applications on your behalf. 


In summary, while traditional building regulations often require a partition between the main house and the conservatory, advancements in insulated roof systems offer opportunities for more integrated living spaces. To ensure compliance and approval for such modifications, homeowners may need to provide an SAP report demonstrating that the property maintains sufficient insulation and energy efficiency standards.


What are the different styles of conservatory and shapes?


Choosing the right conservatory shape for your home is vital. Here's an overview of the most popular conservatory shapes, highlighting their features and what style of property they suit.




Victorian Conservatory


Known for its bay front, with a number of angled facets, steeply pitched roof, and ornate detailing, the Victorian conservatory suits almost any home, blending well with both period homes and modern residences. Its classic design is versatile and universally appealing.





Edwardian/Georgian Conservatory


With its rectangular footprint, flat front, and pitched roof, this style is elegant and simple, emphasizing maximised floor space. It's perfect for those seeking a timeless addition that complements both traditional and contemporary homes.





Lean-to Conservatory


This conservatory, characterised by a single sloped or “mono-pitched” roof, is sometimes called a sunroom. Its simple structure is particularly suited to modern homes or properties with limited space, including bungalows and terraced houses, due to its straightforward and unobtrusive design.




P-Shaped Conservatory


A combination of Victorian or Edwardian styles with a lean-to, forming a 'P' shape on the floor plan, this conservatory is best for larger homes with ample garden space. It provides versatile areas that can serve multiple functions, from dining to lounging.





T-Shaped Conservatory


This type has a central projection that can adopt Victorian, Gable, or Georgian styling, creating a 'T' shape on the floor plan. Suitable for larger properties with extensive gardens, it offers panoramic views and distinct zones within the conservatory.


Do I need planning permission for a replacement conservatory?


In terms of planning permission, conservatories are governed by similar rules as single-storey extensions. Permitted development rights grant you the ability to undertake common home-building projects without having to seek planning permission. If you adhere to the conditions and limitations of permitted development, you won't require planning permission for your conservatory. 


Both conservatories and extensions fall under the same regulations, considered permitted developments exempt from planning permission, albeit with certain limits. However, planning permission is necessary for a conservatory if more than 50% of the land around the 'original house' is to be covered or if the extension protrudes forward from the front or side of the 'original house' facing a road. 


Additional considerations come into play if you reside in a designated area or are subject to an Article 4 Direction. The rules outlined here specifically apply to detached and semi-detached houses in England, with potential differences in Wales and Scotland. Planning permission is required for conservatories that exceed certain parameters, such as height or proximity to boundaries.


For conservatories built to the side, planning permission is necessary if they surpass a single storey or extend beyond 4 meters, or if they are wider than half the width of the 'original house'. Similarly, for conservatories built to the rear, planning permission is mandated if they extend beyond the rear of the 'original house' by over 6 meters for semi-detached or 8 meters for detached houses, or if they exceed 4 meters in height. These size increases have been made permanent by the government since May 2019. 


It's important to note that these increased size limits are contingent upon the neighbour consultation scheme, requiring you to inform your local planning office still.


What are the size limitations for building a conservatory without planning permission? (Updated for 2024)


The allowable dimensions of your conservatory are contingent upon the size of the property being extended. To construct without the necessity of planning permission, the conservatory cannot exceed 50% of the area surrounding the original house, which encompasses sheds and outbuildings. 


Additionally, there are restrictions on how far you can extend outward from the back and side of the house to avoid requiring planning permission: A rearward extension from the rear wall of the 'original house' can reach up to eight meters for detached houses and six meters for semi-detached houses. However, if the structure exceeds four meters, the neighbour consultation scheme applies, necessitating notification of the local planning authority. 


Furthermore, a rear conservatory must not exceed a height of four meters; if it's within two meters of the boundary, it must not surpass three meters in height. Regarding a side-built conservatory, its width cannot exceed 50% of the size of the original house. In addition to planning permission considerations, building regulations become applicable to a conservatory exceeding 30 square meters of floor area.


It's always wise to check with your local planning authority, especially if you're planning significant alterations or enlargements. If you live in a period or listed building you’ll want check any restrictions before planning the new conservatory.


Choosing the right materials and features


Conservatory Roofs


When considering a replacement conservatory roof, Wendland and Ultraframe stand out as industry leaders, each offering unique benefits:


Wendland is known for its energy-efficient glass roofing systems that enhance natural light and offer excellent thermal performance. Their customisable options allow for a tailored look to match any conservatory design.


Ultraframe offers a wide range of roofing solutions, including glass, solid, and tiled options, known for their innovation and versatility. Their products are designed for optimal thermal efficiency and structural integrity, catering to diverse homeowner preferences.


Choosing between Wendland and Ultraframe depends on your specific needs, such as the desire for natural light, energy efficiency, or a particular aesthetic. Both brands provide high-quality, durable roofing systems that can improve the comfort and appearance of your conservatory.


Innovative Features


Consider incorporating modern features like bi-fold doors, smart glass, or integrated blinds to enhance usability and enjoyment of the space.


Climate Control Systems


Advanced climate control systems can maintain a comfortable temperature year-round, regardless of weather conditions. These systems can include underfloor heating for colder months and integrated cooling systems for the summer, ensuring your conservatory is a comfortable living space at all times.


Automated Roof Vents and Window Openers


These automated systems can be programmed to open and close based on temperature, time of day, or even weather conditions, ensuring optimal ventilation and temperature control without manual intervention.


Integrated Blinds or Shades


Blinds or shades can be seamlessly integrated between the panes of glass, offering a sleek look while providing control over light and privacy. 


Tinted Glass


Tinted glazing can significantly reduce glare and heat build-up. Tinted glass such as Activ Blue still allows natural light to enter the space while filtering out harmful UV rays, protecting your skin and preventing your furniture from fading. Please see above in Roof Material Options for more information.


Conservatory Costs


Understanding the costs of replacing a conservatory is crucial to understand whether it is worth the investment. The financial commitment can vary widely based on several key factors, including the size of the conservatory, the materials chosen, the complexity of the design, and any additional features or customisations. Let’s explore some of the common questions.


How much does a replacement conservatory cost?

The cost of a replacement conservatory varies widely based on factors such as size, materials, design complexity, and the type of glazing. Prices can range from a few thousand pounds for basic models to tens of thousands for larger, more bespoke designs.


How much does a replacement conservatory roof cost?

The cost of replacing a conservatory roof depends on the materials used (e.g., polycarbonate, glass, or solid roofing) and the size of the conservatory. Costs can vary from £3000 to £15,000 depending on the size, specification and materials.


Will a replacement conservatory add value to my home?

Yes, a well-designed and constructed replacement conservatory can add significant value to your home. It enhances the property's appeal, increases living space, and improves energy efficiency, all of which are attractive to potential buyers. It also gives you the opportunity to address and rectify issues with the old conservatory structure.


FAQs


What are the benefits of replacing a conservatory?

Benefits include improved thermal efficiency, enhanced comfort year-round, increased property value, and the opportunity to update the space to better suit your current lifestyle and tastes. Replacement can also address any structural issues or leaks in the old conservatory.


How to choose the shape of a conservatory

The shape of your conservatory should complement your home's architectural style and fit the available space. Consider how you plan to use the space, the direction it faces, and any garden features you wish to highlight. Popular shapes include Victorian, Edwardian, lean-to, and P-shaped conservatories.


Can you replace a conservatory with a new conservatory onto an existing base?

Yes, you can often replace an old conservatory with a new one onto an existing base. This allows you to update the design, materials, and functionality to meet current standards and your evolving needs. A replacement can correct previous issues and significantly enhance your home's comfort and value. Please see above in Keeping an existing conservatory base


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