If you’re thinking of having a new conservatory built, or you would like to upgrade your existing one to a higher standard, one of the first considerations will likely be cost. This article takes a brief look at what to consider when planning your build to find the cost that suits you best. Of course specific prices depend on the specific requirements of your build, and even for exactly the same project the price would change over time. So the aim here is to examine the different factors both that add to the cost and those that reduce it. So when you plan your conservatory you will be ready to ask the right questions of the designer/builder.
The very first factor that will determine cost is your choice of builder. It is always worth obtaining a number of quotes for any building work, but it is also important to compare like with like. Cowboy builders love to give great quotes, but they will first reveal their weaknesses in their discussion and description of the building work. As soon as a builder starts to talk as if they are telling you what you should have that should sound an alarm bell. A reputable conservatory builder will ask you what you would like and run though the options to see what you would like to afford. They will be ready to discuss the relative costs of any material or any of the factors listed below.
This is the second most important factor in the cost of your conservatory. No matter the material, the larger the floor space the larger the cost. That said, there is no simple calculation of cost based on square metres, because issues discussed later here like planning, excavations for foundations and transport have an initial cost which does not rise proportionately with the size of the build. This means that if a project does require planning permission, a mechanical digger and a significant transport of material, a little more will not make so much difference. An experienced conservatory builder will be able to talk you through what size is the maximum before costs rise to a whole new level, each time you significantly increase the size of the build.
Under new regulations (2008) planning permission can easily be avoided for a conservatory, but here size is one factor that does matter. If you limit the size of the floor area to less than 30 square-metres and do not alter the existing external wall and doors connecting to the new conservatory then it is likely you can avoid the cost of planning permission.
Costs vary enormously depending on which materials are used to build your conservatory. The cheapest is PVC and the most expensive is hardwood. Aluminium can be cheaper than hardwood, but this will very much depend on the design. Also, not all hardwood costs the same, there are several different types.
An interesting way to save on costs, but maintain a high-quality appearance, is to use a mixture of materials for different elements of the build. For a 30 square-metre build, a hardwood construction with an aluminium roof and PVCu and aluminium composite frames can be two-thirds of the cost of a construction made entirely out of hardwood.
Heating installation is essential if you wish to use your conservatory all-year round. Here again costs again vary widely. If you are able to add a radiator to your existing central heating system this will be cheaper than a full underfloor heating installation. Even with underfloor systems, costs vary from electric to those that can also connect to a central heating system.
At the opposite end of heating concerns is the uncomfortable temperature of a south-facing conservatory. The low-cost solution here is to install blinds over the windows and roof glass. A higher cost solution would be to use solar control glass, either throughout or to where there is direct sunshine.
If you decide on a hardwood conservatory, additional window conversions to the existing property can make for a more uniform build, but this also adds to the cost. However, this can add value to the property and would be more cost-effective than making such changes at a later time.
Finally, if you are intending to replace a tired PVC conservatory with a hardwood conservatory or orangery then you should consider the cost of the demolition of the existing build and the removal of the old materials.