Conservatory Options
Once you own a conservatory, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it,” says Sally Fielding, Managing Director of K2 Conservatories. “They are the perfect way to transform any property and add space, style and a genuine sense of luxury to your home and they could also increase the value of house by up to 15%, according to Ideal Home Magazine.”

However Sally recommends research and thinking time before you dive head first into the decision making process: “It is always worth spending some time planning your new investment and thinking about any issues that might affect its construction and eventual use.”

Sally also advises that you choose a size and shape that will complement your home and garden – not overpower them.

“Don’t be content with a mental picture of your conservatory as plans and measurements on paper can be deceptive. Get a feel for the conservatory area, go outside and mark out the planned boundaries, then walk around within them to get an accurate impression of your conservatory’s dimensions. Remember that the walls will take up space so your conservatory’s interior will be smaller than the area marked.”

The position – or aspect – of your conservatory is important and will influence your final choice of design, layout and furnishings. Conservatories facing south receive more direct sunlight and as such you might want to consider additional ventilation,  blinds and even the use of a performance glass such as Celsius.

With north facing conservatories, these issues are less pressing. However, the use of glass as a glazing option to prevent heat loss and overheating is increasing in popularity whatever the location of a conservatory. East facing conservatories catch the early morning sun and make ideal morning or breakfast rooms, whereas west facing rooms catch the evening sunset and are a perfect place to relax after a long day.

The next decision to be made is what style you want for your conservatory and K2 has a wide range of styles to choose from. These range from the popular Victorian look to the square or rectangular Georgian-style room. Other options are the Sunroom with its low pitch roof or the Lantern style which adds extra height to the structure. Alternatively you can choose to have a combination of styles. Just look through the K2 guide to find what you’re looking for.

Once you’ve chosen your preferred style, you can then tailor a number of other design features to create a room that’s perfect for you, your family and your lifestyle. These features include roof vents, colours, including woodgrain finishes, interior decorative trims and choice of glazing.

Lancashire couple Jack and Christine Murdoch wanted to add more space onto the four-bedroom home and a conservatory seemed the ideal solution, as it would also add value to their house.

After extensive research, the Murdoch’s chose a K2 Gable-style conservatory with a sunburst feature in the gable end and a picture window at the front to provide uninterrupted views of the garden. They also chose Celsius glass to overcome the heat and glare, as the conservatory was south facing.

Jack and Christine are delighted with the result, erected with minimum mess and disruption, which now serves as an extension to their lounge as a place to relax and unwind: “We love it and everyone who’s seen it has been impressed. The window cleaner liked it so much he brought his wife round to have a look,” Christine said.

10 top tips for choosing your conservatory top tips

There’s no disguising the fact that choosing a conservatory with some companies can be a difficult and daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be that way. K2 has compiled the following top tips from interior designers, architects and well-known gardening experts.

1 Think about its use
How do you envisage using your new conservatory? As a playroom? A dining area? An office? Whatever your answer, your conservatory’s day-to-day use should help you determine how large it needs to be as well as which layout will work best.

2 Shop around
For peace of mind ensure you obtain comprehensive quotes from reputable companies. To find a suitable installer contact the K2 Consumer Helpline on 0800 195 2962 or visit Alternatively see if your friends, family, neighbours or colleagues can recommend any companies they know to be professional and competent.

3 Don’t just go for the cheapest choice

With conservatories, you tend to get what you pay for. Don’t automatically go for the ‘cheapest’ company unless its products and services also happen to be better than the competition.

4 Choose your materials wisely
Using PVC-U to create your conservatory will enable you to benefit from years of hassle free maintenance and is a more cost effective alternative to timber built conservatories.

5 Think about the position
Bear in mind the aspect of your conservatory.
Conservatories that face south receive the most sun and as such, the need for adequate ventilation and blinds is crucial. You might also want to think about using Celsius performance glass in the roof.

6 Bigger isn’t always better
Once you’ve decided on the design and size of your new conservatory, check to ensure it will complement your home and doesn’t
take up your entire garden. Treat it as a fluid extension to your home rather
than just an add-on.

7 Consider your glazing options
Think about the type of glazing you’d like to use. Normal glass and polycarbonate will allow solar heat to penetrate into your conservatory, raising the inside temperature on hot summer days. To avoid this, whilst reducing heat loss in winter, opt for Celsius performance glass.

8 Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation
Ensure that you have adequate ventilation so that you can enjoy your conservatory
even on the warmest of days. The K2 roof vent lets fresh air in whilst keeping
the elements out. You could also consider roof fans or an air conditioning

9 Check with your local authority
If you’re building a conservatory in England or Wales, you will not usually need planning permission. However it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you are in any doubt, always check as early as you can with your local authority. If you live in Scotland, conservatories do have to comply with Part J of the building regulations. Again, check with your local authority for full details.

10 Call on the professionals
Always get your conservatory professionally designed and installed. Also be sure to use vetted installers who offer an insurance backed guarantee.

© 2003 Federation of Master Builders.