When Is A Conservatory Not A Conservatory?

01 Aug When Is A Conservatory Not A Conservatory?

There a great many options and styles for your extension or building on your house, and you will need to choose based on what you’re looking for. Heat and sun, weather protection, extra space, additional rooms… they all require different structures and some might have to meet specific building regulations. Here we’ll sketch out some of the ways an extension might not fit with the standard definition of a conservatory.

When It’s An Extension

For a room to fit into the definition of ‘extension’ it would have to meet strict building regulations on heat loss. These requirements are hard enough to meet as they are, but for a room with all glass walls this can be near impossible. Conservatories can be hot in the Summer (sometimes too hot depending on room orientation, which can be made more comfortable using blinds) but any heat they gain in the sun is offset by the heat loss in Winter, especially if the room is not South facing. Heating a conservatory in Winter is not recommended, leading to overuse of fuel, and a conservatory left open to a main room in the house has the same effect – cooling the main room and leading to excessive heating requirements.

It’s also worth knowing that conservatories are normally exempt from building regulations when they are built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres in floor area, and if the conservatory is separated from the house by external quality walls, doors or windows. The rules can be complex – we’ll guide you throughout this process.

You may find that an ‘extension’ by the official definition limits you too much, in terms of style, and that what you want is a conservatory or garden room.

When It’s A Garden Room

A room that appears to be a conservatory could also in fact be a garden room. If the roof is not glass, but tiled, this fits the definition of garden room instead. The roofing is often made to match or complement the existing building, and can create high vaulted ceilings in the garden room that offer space and a striking design, plus extra light.

Walls with often have brickwork foundations, and in some cases more brick walls, with windows finished in sympathy with the existing building. This means they can work better all year round as an extra room, as they won’t lose quite as much heat as a conservatory.

When It’s An Orangery

You may have also come across orangeries which are yet another variation on the conservatory theme. In this case, the classic orangery came about during the Renaissance and was a room created to grow citrus trees.

They combined garden walls for stability and to protect the plans, and glass walls to generate the heat needed to grow the fruit. Hence, today an orangery features mores walls than a standard conservatory, and often a beautiful roof lantern with glass that provides light through the solid roof.

Again, orangeries can work better for Winter, as they will retain more heat than a conservatory and allow use of the room when it’s colder.

Ultimately you don’t have to fit your new structure to any of these definitions – you can create something with the style and purpose that suits exactly what you need. Whether it’s to soak up all the heat you can get in Summer or create an additional space all year round.