How much does a conservatory cost?
Building a conservatory has long been a popular way for homeowners to extend their property with a room that helps to bring the outdoors inside, with large windows letting in all the light of the garden. While old conservatories can have a reputation for being too hot in summer and too cold in winter, modern materials and building standards mean they can be useful and comfortable all year round, and a great, cost-effective alternative to a full extension project. Before you get started on adding a new conservatory, you’ll want to know how much this kind of job can cost, so we’ve broken down some typical conservatory prices to help guide your decisions.
Stages of a conservatory build
Planning costs can usually be dispensed with when it comes to budgeting for a conservatory, as planning permission is not usually needed. Unless you are in a conservation area, your property is listed, or the conservatory is of an unusually large size or close to your property boundaries, you will be able to go ahead without the cost of submitting a planning application. If you have any concerns, speak to the planning department of your local authority before going ahead.
Cost of materials
As well as the size of the conservatory, the biggest factor in determining the cost of your conservatory will be the material you use. The most common, and cheapest option, is uPVC, a type of plastic. Modern uPVC is very hard-wearing and weather resistant, and comes in a variety of colours. Other options are metal, such as aluminium, which can be very long-lasting, while timber is also popular, but by far the most expensive choice - and the one which will require the most upkeep over the years to keep it looking its best and not deteriorating. Typically, we would expect that any timber-framed conservatory will cost around a third more than the same design using uPVC. For a small, simple conservatory with a rectangular footprint, a uPVC conservatory may cost around £7,000 to £11,000 - while the same conservatory made from wood would be £12,000 to £16,000. Prices in London and the south east will typically be at the higher end of any price bracket.
The other cost differences will come in the kind of glass you choose to use and the materials you wish to use for the roof. Most conservatories will have standard double-glazing, but you can choose various other options, such as specially toughened glass, self-cleaning glass, and low E glass (which insulates better) - but all of these options will add around 20% to 30% to the cost. When it comes to the roof, glass panels, similar to the wall sections, are common, and let in the most light, however, tiling is increasingly popular, which gives greater insulation and noise-reduction, but is more expensive. Polycarbonate is another option, and the lightest and cheapest choice. The choices you make for the floor and other decorative elements will also impact the overall price.
Unless you are planning to construct the conservatory yourself, most quotes you get will be for the materials and the installation. However, there are elements of the installation that can have a large impact on the pricing of the overall job. For example, preparing the ground will require work, depending on the condition of the site (for example, will the builders have to remove a patio?). The other key factor is whether or not your conservatory will have a dwarf wall or not. A dwarf wall, usually made from brick, though it can be stone, is a small wall, typically less than a metre high, which acts as a solid base for the glazing panels to rest on. If you plan to have a tiled roof, a dwarf wall may be necessary to provide structural support. Building the wall will add time and cost to the build.
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How do different conservatory types vary in cost?
Lean to conservatory prices
Lean-to conservatories, where three walls are constructed against the existing wall of your house, with the roof sloping down over the conservatory, are the simplest and cheapest style of conservatory. If there is a little base work to do, no wall and a polycarbonate roof, you may be able to construct a small new conservatory for around £5,000, though prices will range to more than twice that if you choose more expensive options.
Victorian conservatory costs
Featuring a pitched roof and a rounded frontage, Victorian conservatories are very popular, and can range from around £6,000 to £15,000 depending on the choice of materials and finishings.
Edwardian conservatory costs
Edwardian, or Georgian conservatories, are similar to Victorian styles but feature a flat frontage, while the squared off space often lends itself to greater functionality. The costs are broadly in line with Victorian conservatory prices.
Orangery conservatory costs
Orangeries straddle the line between extension and conservatory, with brick or stone work that reaches to ceiling height, bringing the overall design closer to the rest of the house and making the space easier to control when it comes to temperature. However, the prices will also be higher for the greater level of construction needed, ranging from around £10,000 to £20,000, or even higher for very large, elaborate designs.