A conservatory is a great way to not only create more space in your home but also to increase the value. The beauty of it is that it is only a semi-permanent, single story structure meaning planning permission for it is easy to obtain. Always remember to get planning permission first though, the last thing you want is to spend money building one and then have a neighbour complain to the council and have to rip it all down again. After you’ve got planning permission the other thing is potentially payment to the landowner. If your house is freehold, then you can just go ahead and build because you own the land but if it is leasehold as is very common with new houses these day, then you will need to contact the landowner (often the builder who built the houses in the first place) and normally pay a fee to them to be able to do it, without this they can again request that your structure is knocked down but in all likelihood they would never know, it will only really matter when it comes to selling your house as this would put off buyers. The only way around it is to get an indemnity insurance policy against it but people don’t like to do this.
Step 1 – Planning
This is the most important stage of any project, with meticulous planning you can make even the most complex project much easier to achieve. To plan your conservatory you need to know what size you want it to be, where it is going to connect to your house and what percentage of it is going to be glass or brick. Typically, conservatories have much more glass than they do brick, for a classic conservatory anything above the foundation is frame or glass but this can lead to problems with damp and cold particularly in the winter months. It has now become much more common to have a wall coming up from the foundations about 1m high and then glass and frame above it
At the planning stage, it is important to understand exactly how much of everything you need, brick will increase the cost of your project so once you know the area of your conservatory you can start to work out how many bricks you’ll need, how much concrete you’ll need for the foundations and how much glass you’ll need for the walls. You will have to get a glazier to build the windows/frame but this is fairly easy to do, many companies do it and it will save you money by installing it yourself. The last thing you need to consider is the roof – most conservatory roofs are made of plastic panelling which is cheap, easy to manoeuvre and can be replaced with ease if it gets damaged or dirty.
Step 2 – Building
The basis of any good structure is the foundations and this can be the most difficult thing to do, particularly if it is a DIY project. As it is a single story, fairly light structure the foundations don’t need to be as sturdy as with the rest of your house but still need to be fit for purpose. Start off by flattening the ground and compacting it over the area you want to build your conservatory and start laying bricks around the perimeter, go about two bricks up to begin with and pour your concrete making sure it is flat and fills the entire area to the top. Once your concrete has set you can then install the damp proof coursing which will stop water getting underneath the floor, from here you can then continue building the rest of your wall.
Once this is completed it is on to the glazing and frame, this will normally be built to the size requested for you and it is simply a matter of putting it up, screwing it together and attaching it to the top of the wall you have built. The only thing left to do is put your roof panelling on and then your main structure is complete. All that is left to do is fit window sills, plasterboard and skirting board inside to add the finishing touches and make it feel like a proper room in your house.
Step 3 – Finishing Touches
Once your structure is built the only thing left to do is decorate. We won’t go in to paint options and styles but the two main things you should focus on here are the flooring and your conservatory roof blinds. For flooring we would recommend something versatile, easy to clean and cool. Obviously, in the summer months your conservatory will get very hot with the sun beating down on the glass, creating the greenhouse effect so cool flooring is essential, we’d recommend some form of laminate flooring or tiles. For your blinds, there are plenty of different options, the venetian style tends to be the most popular as it is a bit more modern, and you can open and close them with ease to let more light in or keep it out. So that’s it, enjoy building your new conservatory!