What are the different styles of conservatories UK?
Buying a new conservatory is a tried & trusted way to extend the family home. It’s also a good way to add desirability and boost your property resale value (if thinking of selling in the near future).
There are quite a few different styles of conservatories in the market from which to choose, so it’s understandable if you are not quite sure where to begin.
So, to give you a head start, here is a buyers’ guide that covers the most popular conservatories, their key features and price ranges.
The aim of the article is to help you decide which is the best style for you and, on average, how much each conservatory costs.
Which is the best conservatory?
That is a difficult question to answer. That is because some conservatories will suit a certain type of home and others won’t. Some designs may be outside your current budget.
Therefore, it’s more of a case of “which is the best conservatory for you”; one that fits in with both your sense of style and your budget.
How much do conservatories UK cost?
The price of a new conservatory is going to depend on a few major factors, such as:
- The style of the room.
- What size you need
- What materials are used in the main frames.
There are other elements to consider, including such things as interior decoration & furnishing.
You can see quite a difference in conservatory costs across the board, with cheaper conservatories starting at around £2,000 for a DIY conservatory or £5,000 to £6,000 to get an average sized room installed.
Larger or more bespoke designs can be priced at £20,000 and upwards.
Here is a general guide to the initial costs of the most popular fully fitted conservatories.
Conservatory Price Guide
Broadly based on UPVC conservatory prices, the table above can’t be expected to be 100% accurate. However, it does illustrate the wide variation in the market. You may end up with higher or lower prices depending on your particular circumstances.
- Opting for Aluminium or Hardwood in the frames will mean higher costs than UPVC.
The only way to get an accurate breakdown is to get a survey and discuss your requirements. We can connect you to a Nationwide panel of certified / accredited conservatory companies that provide free written quotations – no obligation.Click for Quotes
What are the most popular conservatories UK & which design to choose?
Here we look in more detail at the most popular types of conservatory in the UK. Each type of room has its’ own sense of style, key features and unique selling point.
One of the most popular “period” conservatory styles (named after Queen Victoria).
The main feature of this design is the rounded appearance created by the use of multi-faceted sides.
Quite often the roofing will be polycarbonate for lower costs, but a more recent trend is to replace the clear roofing with tiles or slates (see more about conservatory roofing here)
- Typically, a smaller room will have 3 facets, larger examples feature 5 facets.
- The roof is vaulted and quite ornate, as is the general appearance.
- This design is used to form part of the larger P-shaped conservatory.
Lean to & Mediterranean Conservatories
Surely one of the most popular conservatory styles. Due, primarily, to the fact that you can fit a Lean-to almost anywhere, and there are so many variations from which to choose.
Rectangular is the most frequent shape used, but you can find them square, L-shaped (either to fit into or around a corner) or even T-shaped.
A standard Lean to has a single sided sloping roof and either floor to ceiling glazed sides or a low level brick “dwarf wall”. Including any kind of brickwork in the design will result in a higher price.
With full glass sides and polycarbonate roof, a small 3×3 lean to UPVC conservatory is going to be the cheapest on the market to get fully installed.
Don’t think that a lean to room is just a “cheap & cheerful” option, there are many bespoke designs that look amazing.
- Usually rectangular shape
- Single sided sloping roof (can be sloped in any direction, even backwards toward the house).
- The base “ingredient” for P / T / L & B=shaped conservatories.
- Widespread availability – even DIY.
- Very competitive prices in the market.
Other variations include the Regency, Gull-wing or even Veranda Lean to conservatories.Get Lean-to Conservatory Quotes Here
Gable Fronted Conservatory
Usually square or in shape, they can also be seen as rectangular rooms.
The Gable gets its name from the design of the roof, resembling a typical house roof with a gable end. The ridge lines are generally quite fancy with some ornamentation.
The roof itself is vaulted, typically with 3 or 4 sides (depending on the orientation) and gives this design plenty of headroom. Which is why it may feel more spacious than a similarly sized lean-to.
- Can be square or rectangular.
- Have high ornate roofing.
- Can be fitted at right-angles or parallel to the property.
- Gable end usually features “sunburst” design glazing.
Edwardian & Georgian Conservatory
Both of these designs get their names from the time they first appeared and became popular. Named after the ruling monarch at the time, both of these are classified as “period conservatories”.
Georgian rooms are more “fussy” and ornate than Edwardian. Edwardian styling is based upon clean lines and allowing as much light as possible into the room.
Both have high vaulted roofing, which can be 3 or 4 sided depending on the orientation of the room.
- Quite similar designs.
- Georgian are ornate, Edwardian less so.
- Can be square or rectangular.
- Typically feature Dwarf-walls.
- T-shape. P-shape, L-shape Conservatory options.
These designs are variations on one or more of the previous styles and are named after the letter of alphabet that their floorplan most resembles.
A shaped conservatory is best suited to medium & larger sized extensions, and as such, you are going to need a decent budget before you embark on your project.
- P-shaped are combinations of Victorian & Lean to
- T-shaped are combinations of Gable & Lean to.
- L-shaped are typically based on Lean to rooms.
- Suitable for larger living spaces.
An orangery is differentiated from a conservatory by the much more extensive use of solid section such as walling & pillars. Orangeries also make use of a flat roof design that features glass lanterns, rather than a pitched roof.
The more substantial construction of an Orangery makes them more akin to a regular home extension than a sunroom.
Orangeries are also substantially more expensive than a similarly sized conservatory, with “entry level” prices close to £15,000 to £20,000. High end, bespoke orangeries can cost well over £30,000.
- Extensive use of solid wall & columns.
- Likely to need planning permission.
- Considerable investment required.
- Luxurious & desirable rooms that add real resale value to a property.
Refurbishing an Existing Conservatory
There can be many good reasons to consider refurbishing your existing conservatory rather than replacing it. However, it’s not always as simple as it may seem. In some cases, it could take more time and money to refurbish than to replace.
However, here are some typical problem areas to consider refurbishing:
Glazing: if your room is single glazed, it’s a very good idea to upgrade to double glazing. However, the existing frames need to be compatible with the new sealed units.
Leaks: The connection boundaries between the conservatory and the building it is attached to are prime suspects for leakage. Repairing or replacing the roofline flashing it not a particularly complex job and can be undertaken by a suitably experienced tradesperson.
Check the window and door seals. These may have perished or shrunk to the extent that they no longer form water tight seals. Inspect all the glazing of the roof for poor fitting or damaged seals. You may require an expert to replace them, it’s not really a DIY job.
It’s also going to be obvious if your windows & doors no longer open & close properly. It can be a case of re-aligning or potentially replacing the relevant item.
Rising Damp: This can be caused by something simple like a leak around the base or it could be a sign of a significant (and expensive) problem to resolve.
Old or damaged polycarbonate roof: We look at replacing conservatory roofing later in the article. Swapping older polycarbonate panels for new ones can be done relatively simply by an experienced trades-person. The cost of new panels should not be that high, labour costs will represent the higher proportion of the overall job pricing.
Room is either too hot or too cold: The main cause of a hot room is from direct overhead sunlight combined with little or no ventilation. Fitting blinds or a roof vent can reduce radiated heat & let it escape more efficiently.
Cold rooms can be made more comfortable by upgrading the glazing, or more simply by using drapes or window blinds. In more drastic cases, a method of heating the room will be needed.
You can always buy a portable heater in the form of a fan. More permanent, complex and expensive solutions are to extend your central heating into the room and add a radiator or 2.
Underfloor heating is a good consideration, if you want an energy efficient and permanent solution to a cold conservatory. Modern “dry” electric underfloor heating can be fitted without a great deal of inconvenience. However, it will raise your floor level by a couple of centimeters.
Replacing a conservatory roof
Not something to be undertaken without proper planning and forethought. However, replacement conservatory roofing is now quite a popular option.
Most basic or cheap conservatories are initially fitted with a polycarbonate roof. This material is quite strong, shatterproof and cheap. However, it does not have much insulation and can be very noisy in the rain. Very often polycarbonate is the one type of roofing that gets replaced.
Conservatory roof options:
- Upgraded triple chamber polycarbonate panels: The best option being 35mm Multi-wall Polycarbonate. https://www.varicoltd.com/polycarbonate.html
- Concrete tile: Heavy when dry & heavier when wet. You need to make sure your frames are strong enough to take the extra load.
- Slate: not as heavy as concrete tile, but real slate is very expensive. Synthetic slate is a much better option, as it is lighter and cheaper.
- Metal tiles: Metal may sound strange to use, but modern metal tiling systems are lightweight, come in many colours and look very good.
- Synthetic tiles: Some of the latest options look superb. Super light and very long lasting.
DO bear in mind, that with the exception of replacing old polycarbonate sheets with new sheets, you need to have a structural survey done on your existing conservatory. In most cases going for a tiled conservatory roof increases the load and you need to be sure the existing frames can carry it.Get Conservatory Roof Quotes
7 things to consider before buying conservatories UK.
One of the first things it would be prudent to consider is what do you want the room for? What is the purpose of your new conservatory?
- Is it for work as a home office, leisure just to relax and enjoy the view, extra space for the kids to play, to extend your kitchen, or something else? This can have a bearing on what you need in terms of size and internal outfitting (heating lighting, power outlets etc).
- Are you looking to match the existing style of your property or contrast it? For example, if your place is a country cottage (lucky you), would you really want to install a white UPVC lean-to?
- What material are you going to use? Hardwood conservatories are certainly desirable & great to look at. But if you want something easier to look after, would engineered timber, aluminium or UPVC be a better option for you?
- How much room do you have? Giving over all of your small garden to a conservatory is not necessarily a good idea. You can mark out the area on the ground using some chalk or string lines to get a better idea.
- What type of roof do you want: tiled conservatory roofing keeps your room cooler, but cost more than glass or polycarbonate.
- What type of foundations do you think you’ll need? Maybe you can use a lighter weight base or if your ground is good. Are there lots of drains & utilities in the ground? Is the room going to be close to a big tree – because the roots could cause future problems.
- Don’t forget the interior: It’s all too easy to look at prices of a new conservatory and think “OK, that’s inside the budget”, but what about heating, lighting, power, furniture & decoration?
Do you need planning permission for your conservatory?
Fortunately, conservatories are considered a permitted development, and as long as you keep within the rules, you won’t need planning permission to build one.
The need for planning permission to build a conservatory is going to depend on what you are considering building. The dimensions of the proposed extension is very important. You may also have to go through the neighbour consultation scheme.
However, do not leave it to chance, always check with your local authority before starting work. Penalties for getting it wrong can be expensive.
- See our conservatory planning permission article here.
- You should see this guide from the planning portal to give you a better idea: https://interactive.planningportal.co.uk/mini-guide/conservatory/0
Conservatories UK: Our Most Frequently Asked Questions
1Is a conservatory worth the cost?
A major UK Building Society estimated that a well-designed, well built, good quality conservatory can add up to 10% the resale value of a house.
If you keep around this budget then, apart from the improvement in lifestyle and space, you can be confident that a new conservatory is value for money.
2Do I have to have a glass roof?
Not necessarily. You can have a solid roof (tiled) or part solid / part clear using composite infill panels.
Check with your installer about planning permission requirements beforehand.
3How long does it take to build a conservatory?
The time it takes to install a new conservatory can be answered in 2 ways.
- from survey to “move in” would usually need about 12 weeks
- from builder arrival to builder leaving – allow 5 days to 2 weeks depending on the amount of work to be done.
4How long will my conservatory last?
A well-built conservatory or orangery can last easily 25 years if you take a little care with it. Double glazed units need to be looked after too – keep them clean and check the seals every year or so.
However, some cheaply made white UPVC frames have been known to discolour after a few years.
5Can I change my old roof for a new one?
Yes. Replacing a conservatory roof is quite common in the UK. A point to think about is if the existing frames can take the added weight, if you are changing from a lightweight glazed roof to a heavy tiled one.
6What are the cheapest conservatories UK?
Depends on what you mean by cheap. Buying a conservatory made from cheap materials from a supplier who has cut costs “to the bone” could be asking for trouble when the installation fails due to product failure or poor installation.
The lowest conservatory prices are likely to be for UPVC. However, the cheapest conservatory is the one that gives you the best value for money.
7Can I build over the drains in my backyard?
As a general rule, you can’t build over a manhole or a pressurised pumping main. You should contact your local utility provider if you have a situation like this.
- Here is some guidance: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200130/common_projects/15/drains_and_sewers/2