Who doesn’t like the idea of a conservatory? This attractive addition to a home allows you to enjoy being outside whatever the temperature.
And, even if you don’t have one, building it is not as difficult as it may seem. This is Fantastic Handyman’s guide on how to build a conservatory.
What is a Conservatory
A conservatory is a room with a glass roof and walls. Another name is a greenhouse, or a sunroom. It’s situated in a place in the yard that gets a lot of sunlight. Also, it can also be used in winter as long as it’s heated well.
Conservatories are popular with upper middle class and wealthy households.
Do You Require Planning Permission for a Conservatory
A conservatory is a part of the permitted development rights, so before starting, you need to mark the following conditions.
- The construction must not be more than 50% of the existing house.
- There are no raised platforms, verandas or balconies.
- It’s no higher than the highest part of the roof.
- Height must be less than 4 metres.
- It doesn’t front or obstruct a public road.
- It doesn’t cover more than half of the land the house is sited on.
- A single storey extension at the rear of the house must not extend more than 3 metres beyond the rear wall, if it’s an attached property and 4 metres if it’s detached.
- Listed building consent may be required if the work is proposed on a listed building.
No planning permission is required as long as you follow these rules. Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine or the demolition of the structure.
Conservatory Rules Regarding Building Regulations
- The conservatory must be separated by quality walls, windows and doors.
- The floor space should be less than 30 square metres and built at ground level.
- Tt should have a separate heating system with its own controls.
- Any glazing or electrical installations must meet existing building regulations.
- The construction must not block ladder access to rooms in the loft.
You are exempt from the rigmarole of visits and meetings with building regulations officials as long as you follow these rules.
How to Build a Conservatory Base
First you need to make sure you have a proper base. Once you establish that, the rest would be like putting together a puzzle.
- Measure your space. Ensure the dimensions and measurements are correct on your base plan.
- Dig the conservatory foundation. Dig in the shape of your measured conservatory and remove all wasteful soil that’s in your way.
- Level the earth. You need flat ground in the shape of your conservatory as your working area.
- Add concrete. Concrete the foundation to the correct height approx 4 course down from the existing house damp course.
- Wash the surrounding area. You need to keep your surrounding area clear of any garbage or obstructions.
- Build up to the damp course. This will be your conservatory floor level. Make sure it’s even.
How to Build a Conservatory Wall
With the right tools and knowledge, you too can build your own conservatory on your back yard. One step at a time and lots of good effort.
- Build a dwarf-wall. The dwarf-wall starts from the base and up to no more than one meter height. Place the bricks and wait for the cement to dry.
- Place external sills. Position the sills on top of the dwarf-wall. The pre-ordered sills should be a customized measurement to your property.
- Secure all frames. The first frame needs to be secured to the house. Do the same for the rest starting from the house and connecting outward, until they meet from the two sides.
- Put up doors. Door fitting can be tricky, but with your pre-ordered supplies, the door should fit right into place, like a piece of a puzzle.
How to Build a Conservatory Roof
- Place the roof ridge. You custom made roof ridge needs to be placed right on top of the frames. It should be the exact measurements you need.
- Add roof rafters. Fit the roof rafters in between the roof ridge and hip bars.
- Fit glazing sheets.
- Fit guttering. Just like your house, the conservatory also needs gutters in order to keep the roof well maintained for a longer period.
- Add decorations. Whether you want decorations or not, depends on whether you decided on a traditional or modern conservatory style. The modern ones are more minimalistic. Choose whatever you find better for yourself.
Any building project involves a lot of jargon, and here is some of the most commonly used.
Complicated Conservatory Terms Explained
- Victorian. One of the classics. It involves a bay front, pitched roof and ornate roof ridge.
- Elizabethan. A classical style designed to complement rather than complicate, that can include attractive features such as a three sided pitched roof.
- Orangeries. Styled on the aristocratic buildings used for growing exotic fruit this style is constructed with solid brick pillars and large windows that are glazed.
- Extensions. This style adds space and value rather than just being an add on to your home.
- UPVC/ Aluminium/ Wood. Conservatories can be built from a variety of materials including the three previously mentioned. Your taste, needs, budget and timescale will effect the one you choose.
This will help you control the temperature inside the room whatever time of the year it is. It also reduces UV rays.
Again your options are wide. There is toughened glass as well as windows that can’t be removed from outside. You can choose from leaded window panes, etched glass and a whole host of attractive designs.
Sloping Group Foundations
A trustworthy and experienced conservatory builder will be able to work with the most difficult of foundations, even those that are built in sloping ground. Levelling the floor and providing steps or a slope for access is the only way to get around the problem.