Adding a conservatory to your home is a great way to add some extra seasonal space without spending a fortune. Conservatories are ideal for entertaining. They are ideal for enjoying the feel of outside space while still being protected from the weather.
Any attempt to price out a conservatory will quickly reveal a wide variation in costs. For starters, there are multiple designs to choose from. There is no single shape or size for a conservatory. The seven most common designs in the UK are:
- Lean to
Once you decide on the shape, you have to choose your materials. Wood and UPVC are common choices for the frame. Roofs can be made of polycarbonate, glass, or other materials. And of course, you have to decide whether or not to install a dwarf wall.
All these decisions ultimately factor into your final price. Should you decide to add a conservatory, you will be making decisions covering everything from the shape of the space to the flooring materials and your glazing. In a nutshell, there are a lot of choices to make.
Steps in Building A Conservatory
So, you want to build a conservatory, but where should you start?
When it comes to building a conservatory, planning permissions are not usually required. Hence, there’s no need for allocating funds for the planning costs. Except if you are located in a conservation area, or if you have an extremely large conservatory or your conservatory is near to property boundaries. If you have some doubts, then you can ask the planning department of your local authority.
Cost of Materials
One of the largest factors in establishing the cost of your conservatory is the material that you use. The cheapest and most common option is uPVC, which is a certain type of plastic. The modern type of uPVC is weather-resistant, durable, and has a variety of colours. Aside from this, you can also use metal, for instance, aluminum, which can last longer. Another popular option is timber however, this is a bit expensive and requires a lot of maintenance.
The cost of a conservatory that is made of uPVC is between £7,000 to £11,000. If the material being used is wood, then the cost would be around £12,000 to £16,000. Typically, if you are in London and the South East, the prices will be much higher. The type of glass that you use as well as the materials for the roofing can also affect the cost of your conservatory.
Cost for Installation
Most quotes that you get include both the materials and installation. However, this cost will vary if you plan to build the conservatory yourself. Also, there are some factors in the installation that can influence the cost of the entire job. For instance, the preparation of the ground where the conservatory will be built. Another factor will be if a dwarf wall will be installed or not. Usually, a dwarf wall can be made from brick or stone.
Average Pricing for 2019
Conservatory prices are among the most difficult to estimate for articles of this type. However, we have managed to come up with a pricing range on several different styles of conservatories. Those prices are listed below.
Assuming a basic conservatory with a UPVC frame, polycarbonate roof, and no dwarf wall, you can expect to pay the following for a 3×3 conservatory:
- Lean to – £5,750-£7,600
- Victorian – £8,000-£10,500
- Edwardian – £8,000-£10,000
- P-shaped – £8,500-£10,500
- T-shaped – £11,000-£13,000
- L-shaped – £11,000-£13,000
- Orangery – £14,000-£50,000
These prices are fully-fitted prices for the conservatory materials and installation. They assume you will not need extensive work done to prepare the ground. If such extra work is necessary, it obviously adds to the overall price.
You have seen what a conservatory with a UPVC frame would cost, but what about wood? A 3.5 x 3.5 conservatory with a wood frame and glass roof will cost roughly:
- Lean to – £12,750-£14,250
- Victorian – £16,000-£17,500
- Edwardian – £13,500-£15,000
While a glass roof can certainly be more expensive than polycarbonate, most of the price difference here is in the wood frame. Wood is a much more expensive material due to the cost of producing it. The advantage of wood is that it tends to last longer than UPVC.
If you are not fond of either UPVC or wood, you can choose an aluminium frame. Aluminium tends to be the longest lasting of the three. It is also weather-resistant, warp-resistant, and corrosion-resistant. The downside of aluminium is that it tends to look worn as it ages.
Adding a Dwarf Wall
Despite the extra cost, adding a dwarf wall is pretty common in the UK. A dwarf wall is a structural wall designed to support the weight of the conservatory’s roof. The absence of a dwarf wall means you have to use lighter materials for both the roof and framing. It also limits the size of the space accordingly.
A dwarf wall is usually designed to be about 1 m in height. Anything taller and you start inhibiting natural light from entering the space. Anything shorter and you begin reducing the structural benefits of the wall. Regardless of height, dwarf walls are usually finished to match the rest of the house.
Glazed Walls and Roofs
Fully-glazed conservatories are all the rage for 2019. They allow for plenty of natural light and they make even the smallest conservatories look bigger than they really are. Most surprisingly, it is cheaper to build a fully-glazed conservatory than one with a dwarf wall.
Your choice of glazing will obviously affect the final price of your conservatory. Double and triple glazing increase prices dramatically. They also add extra weight commensurate to the number of panes in each panel. As such, weight constraints may limit the size of a fully glazed space without a dwarf wall.
As for glazed roofs, they are just as stunning as glazed walls. But do you want a glazed roof on the hottest and sunniest of summer days? That is something to think about. A fully-glazed roof may mean you are spending money during the summer to keep the space cool. On the other hand, that same roof would make the conservatory usable later in the year by allowing the sun to heat the space.
Other Material Choices
Everything we have talked about thus far only scratches the surface. There are so many material choices you’ll have to make should you decide to build a conservatory onto your home. Starting with the roof, glazing is just one choice. You can also choose polycarbonate and standard roofing tiles.
Moving on to the floor, your most affordable option is carpet. Carpet provides adequate protection and a bit of extra comfort you cannot get walking on a tile floor. The downside is that carpet is hard to keep clean.
If carpet is not your thing, you can choose a vinyl, laminate, or wood flooring. You can also choose a variety of floor tiles as well. In terms of cost, wood will be the most expensive option for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, wood flooring is quite expensive. It is also harder to maintain in a conservatory setting. Therefore, the total cost of ownership is higher.
Finally, the cost of your conservatory will be influenced by its use. If you are only looking for seasonal space, there will be no need to install heating and cooling. You could also get away with less expensive insulation. But if you are hoping to build an all-season room, you will have the additional expenses associated with insulation and climate control.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when pricing out a conservatory. Experts recommend getting quotes from at least three contractors before you build. The more quotes you can get, the better the handle you’ll have on pricing.