An all year Conservatory
MAKING YOUR CONSERVATORY A "TRUE" LIVING SPACE
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WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO MAKE MY
CONSERVATORY COMFORTABLE ALL YEAR ROUND?
Of all the questions I get asked - the above is probably the
most common. Sadly I'm afraid I'm often asked this question by
people who have already had their conservatory built. They
have realised too late that whilst a conservatory or sunroom
can be a wonderful SUMMER ROOM it does not always prove that
way in the winter months. Sure they have put in some heating -
but they still suffer badly with condensation and general
damp. What can they do? or what should
they have done?
Far too often Conservatories and Sunrooms are sold as though
they are the same as brick built extensions in terms of
insulation and use. I am speaking personally when I say this -
but I'm afraid this is just not the case. Here in the UK (and
most places in the world) we have BUILDING REGULATIONS which
apply to the building of extensions etc. These regulations do
not at present usually apply to conservatories (the notable
exceptions to this are conservatories covering more than 30
square metres and any situation where you have a knock through
from your main living space with no partitioning doors in
between). Building Regulations, amongst other things,
stipulate various minimum standards for insulation which
frankly your "typical" conservatory with standard
double glazing and 16 mm polycarbonate will not comply with.
To have anything close to the insulation and therefore the all
year round usability of a brick built extension you will need
to consider some of the extras/enhancements below.
also am enclosing a little information on the many additional
design extras you can have.
Of all the "extras" I could recommend then
Pilkington "K" glass would be No 1.
This glass varies from normal Pilkington clear
glass in that one side of the glass has a special
metal coating, technically known as a low
emissitivity, or Low E. coating. This microscopic
metal coating (which is almost indistinguishable
from normal clear glass) allows short-wave
radiation, like sunlight through, but reflects
long-wave radiation, such as heat from fires and
radiators back into your conservatory making it
easier to keep warm. As the Low E. coating on the
glass actually makes the surface warmer to the
touch, condensation is also reduced. We
especially recommend this option if you decide to
have a double-glazed roof.
Argon filled Units:
If you are looking for the ultimate in glass
insulated units you should seriously consider
adding "gas" or Argon filled units to
your specification. Argon combined with
Pilkington "K" or Low E glass is just
about as good as it gets in terms of insulation.
We are now talking as good as or better than most
brick built extensions in terms of insulation.
Not particularly expensive in my experience (only
£10 -£15 per sealed unit in the UK) and well
worth the extra expense. Please note, I only
really recommend Argon filled units when combined
with "K" or Low E glass. On its own the
benefits are only marginal.
Most standard conservatories come with 16mm polycarbonate(a
few only come with 10 mm polycarbonate). For a little extra
you can upgrade to the better insulating option of 25 mm
polycarbonate. With its six skins and reinforcing webbing, it
provides perhaps the best insulating roof option for
conservatories today. For the technically minded, it has an
approximate "U" value of 1.6 as opposed to 2.3 for
16 mm polycarbonate. It is available in clear, bronze tint and
An essential for those of us who like to see the
stars at night! A fair amount more expensive and
much heavier than polycarbonate. You will also
almost certainly need some form of shading. That
said, it is no doubt one of the best options -
very classy and inspiring. I especially recommend
the Pilkington "K" option with this.
There is also the option of "anti-sun"
glass for that "tinted" effect.
My favourite enhancement. Not necessary to put
all over, but it does look superb in the top
opening vents. Available in diamond and
rectangular lead designs as well as a host of
more traditional designs such as Queen Anne or
Elizabethan. You can also consider "coloured
lites" options if you want something just a
little bit different. (Stained glass type
You can fit a whole host of "Georgian"
styles to your conservatory. From the more usual
rectangular Georgian bar design to Georgian
sweeps (arches), gothic arches, cathedral arches
and specialist one off designs to match listed
The standard locks on most conservatory windows
and doors are espagnolette multi-point locks
(including night vent position) on windows and a
five point lock for doors. There are many
additional options including shootbolt locks, SAC
bolt locking, entry guard, hook and shoot locks
etc. Ask your supplier for further information or
specify this on your quotation request.
What colour do you want? You name it and we almost certainly
can supply it. Standard colours for PVCu and aluminium are
white, whilst for hardwood it is a natural stain option such
as mahogany, walnut or light oak. You can, however, have,
hardwood already primed in green, cream and teak plus a whole
host of options to your specification. PVCu in mahogany
woodgrain and cherry oak woodgrain styles is also increasingly
popular. Additionally, both PVCu and aluminium can be
specially coloured in red, blue, green, black and orange! (and
that's just a few of the options!)
The above only really touches the surface on some of the
options available. From the most modern enhancements to the
more traditional replications - they are all now available.
Make sure to ask your supplier about them all. Don't let the
salesperson put you off - often they will only receive
commission on the cost of the basic conservatory and will not
want to promote anything which increases your cost (and your
ultimate satisfaction) and perhaps lose them the sale. YOU ARE
THE CUSTOMER! IT'S YOU THAT HAS TO LIVE WITH THE RESULT.