Today’s models, including many of the huge range of conservatories at Argos come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Your choice ultimately depends on the purpose for which you wish to use your conservatory and, of course, your budget. You may wish to use your conservatory as a dining room, office or playroom, but in any case you’ll need to calculate the space required. For a dining room large enough to seat six to eight people, for example, you’ll need a conservatory that covers approximately 130 square feet.
It is also important to check if you require planning permission and which building regulations, if any, apply. According to the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA), a conservatory must be separated from the rest of your home by external doors. Seventy-five per cent of the roof area and 50% of the wall area must be made from glass or another translucent material. If heated, a conservatory must have its own separate heating controls.
Contemporary conservatories are typically simple square or rectangular structures. In contrast, traditional conservatories, such as Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian models, tend to be more ornate and may be constructed from different sections to form the shape of a letter “P” or letter “T”. Sometimes, a traditional section is combined with a lean-to section to create a P-shape. Alternatively, a larger middle section can be combined with two symmetrical wings to create a T-shape.
Once you’ve decided on the size, style and shape of your conservatory, you will need to choose the type of frame and roof. Some conservatories are constructed from low maintenance PVC. Some may utilise composite conservatory frames, with aluminium on the outside and wood on the inside, to reduce the amount of maintenance required.
Polycarbonate sheeting is the most popular form of conservatory roofing, although glass is another possibility. Any glass in your conservatory should be double-glazed, laminated and capable of retaining heat without overheating the conservatory. As far as the slope or pitch of the conservatory roof is concerned, a steeper pitch – of around 25 degrees or so – allows the roof to stay cleaner than a shallower pitch.
Finally, consider at which times of day, or times of year, you’re likely to use your conservatory as this will affect the way in which you light the space. If you want to use your conservatory as a dining room, you may opt for soft, general lighting provided by spotlights or table lamps. If you want to use it as an office, you’ll need bright, task lighting allowing you to focus in your work space.