Conservatory glazing options
The glass used in the conservatory will be either a double glazed or triple glazed option, depending on how much you want to pay.
There are several options of glazing that you can choose for a conservatory and all will impact on the final cost:
The minimum standard of glass in a conservatory permitted by building regulations is double glazing and is the same as you find in your windows.
Two panes of glass sandwich a layer of argon gas and joined together by a spacer bar as a sealed unit. Each sealed unit of glass is fitted directly into a frame of choice.
The layer of gas is what slows down the heat loss from the panes of glass.
You want to look for a minimum rating of A, ideally A+ or A++ for triple glazed. Many cheap conservatories are quoted on B rated glass.
Keeping a conservatory roof clean used to be a pain, but self-cleaning glass is now an option to reduce maintenance and make life far easier.
An outer coating of titanium dioxide reacts with water molecules in the atmosphere to break down dirt on the surface of the glass, which then gets washed away by the rain.
If it doesn't rain, the moisture in the atmosphere turns into a film and slides down the glass by gravity and takes the dirt with it.
The glass looks the same as standard glass even though the titanium dioxide stops slightly less light coming through the window.
Up to 20% more than standard glass
Solar or Low E glass
Heat transfer and glare from the sun on bright days can be a problem in conservatories that offer no resistance.
Low-E glass has a reflective layer on the outside that can deflect up to 80% of the sun's heat.
On the flip side, the glass also stops heat from inside the conservatory escaping – the space stays warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Up to 25% more than standard glass
Standard glass has an additional treatment in the manufacturing process that makes it four times stronger.
If the glass breaks, it shatters into small pieces instead of the large jagged shards that happen when standard glass breaks.
Building regulations stipulate that a glazed door up to 1500mm high and for any glazing within 800mm of the floor must use safety glazing.
Up to 25% more than standard glass
If you live in a noisy area and want your conservatory to be a tranquil space then soundproofing noise-reducing glass can reduce sound by 33dB (for double glazing).
Acoustic glass works by a polymer layer between the panes of glass that disrupt and absorb sound waves and less sound travels through the window.
Up to 25% more expensive than standard glass
Traditional conservatories often include small panes of coloured or decorated glass to upper sections of the windows.
Much like stained glass, pieces of coloured glass are held together by metal cames (or leading). Different colours can be melted together or simply plain coloured etched glass.
We recommend keeping decoration to a minimum and out of eye-line so that you can enjoy the views through the windows.
Up to 50% more expensive than standard glass
|Conservatory glazing options||Cost|
|Self-cleaning glass||20% more than standard glass|
|Solar or Low E glass||25% more than standard glass|
|Toughened glass||25% more than standard glass|
|Acoustic glass||25% more than standard glass|
|Decorative glass||50% more than standard glass|
Other factors can affect the average cost of a conservatory:
- Size of floorplan – this is quite obvious that the bigger the conservatory, the more it will cost. Although, small conservatories are not necessarily much cheaper because you still have all the installation costs and a bigger conservatory might work out cheaper on a cost per square foot comparison.
- Style – the most popular style of lean-to, Victorian and Edwardian all differ in price, with lean-to being the cheapest option. The different options available for glazing and styling all will make a difference to your cost.
- Flooring – often overlooked, but you do need to consider what style of floor you would like – tiled, wooden, laminate, carpet. Underfloor heating is a popular choice in a conservatory for heating in colder months.
- Amount of doors and opening windows – a standard conservatory might have two French doors and 2-4 opening windows. If you want more doors to open into the garden or even a wall of bi-fold doors this can raise the cost considerably.
- Ground preparation/complex foundations – any structure is only as strong as the foundations it sits upon to distribute the load. And, all construction work is dependent on your unique ground conditions – the type of soil, over old mining shafts or landfill, trees and the dreaded drains and sewers. Most foundations are straight forward but if you come across a problem the cost does escalate.
- Opening up walls from the house – technically a conservatory should be connected to the house by a closing door or window. Many homeowners choose to make an open plan space with their conservatory and that involves removing the adjoining wall. This is another expense that makes a huge difference, depending on if you need to insert beams and lintels to keep the open wall strong.
- Brick base or full glazing – traditional conservatories have a fully glazed wall frame to the floor but some styles such as Edwardian have a small brick wall. The option to add brickwork at the base of your wall will make the space warmer and more like a traditional room. Many people do have a hybrid structure that sits between a conservatory, orangery and an extension.
- Heating, electrical points, TV point – the small details can add the most costs and are often not considered. If you're using the space as an office or a family room you will need a power point and a TV co-axial point. Technically a conservatory has a heating source separate from the house (for building regulations) so you need to think about how you will heat the space and factor that into the cost.
What to consider before buying a new conservatory
When researching and shopping for a new conservatory, first of all, you should think about how you want to use the space.
- A tranquil space apart from the family
- A home office
- For entertaining and dining
- An open plan kitchen
- A home gym
Each of these choices would affect how the conservatory is planned to best suit your needs.
For example, an open plan kitchen is technically not a conservatory, as the adjoining wall would need to be removed and this involves extra expense and additional building regulations.
A home office might require a tiled roof so it isn't too warm in summer and for a home gym, you might want bi-fold doors so you can allow the fresh air in.