Conservatory or extension? Are our tastes changing?

General, Home extension, Windows, Doors & Conservatories

When it comes to adding space to our homes, a conservatory has always been seen as the easier and cheaper way to achieve additional usable space. However, in recent years, the popularity of the conservatory has fallen away and homeowners are embracing an extension instead. So, which would you choose?Conservatory or extension? Are our tastes changing?

Research from Halifax Insurance indicates that planning applications for home improvements increased by 26% between 2012 and 2016, suggesting that people are choosing to improve their homes rather than move. Most of these applications were for basement conversions, loft conversions and porch extensions. Applications for conservatories seem to have fallen out of favour.

Estate agents point out that a conservatory can add around 10% to the value of your home. A garden room or extension can add even more and has the benefit of being a more permanent solution to your need for more space in your home. Knowing the positives of each type of home improvement might help you to decide what’s best for you.

Pros of a conservatory

  • If you choose a conservatory of less than 30 metres squared you can usually build it without planning permission. By ensuring it is separated from other buildings and is not used as a sleeping area, you can also avoid building regulations. This makes them quicker to build.
  • A conservatory can usually only be used in the warmer months of the year, but the nature of the windows means that residual heat from the room can heat your entire home when the sun shines. If you choose good insulation, underfloor heating and limit the number of windows, you may achieve a usable winter space too.
  • Conservatories can usually be more flexible in design and you can get a stunning look that really brings the outside in.
  • A conservatory is almost always cheaper to install than an extension of a similar size.

Pros of an extension

  • An extension is a more permanent structure that can be used all year long. It will be insulated, heated and with double glazing, giving you space that you can use no matter the weather.
  • If you stay within permitted development your extension can usually be built without planning permission. However, you are likely to need building regulations approval as there are likely to be structural changes to the walls of your home.
  • Your extension can be used for all kinds of purposes including new bedrooms, living spaces and playrooms.

Whatever you choose, the extra space in your home will always be welcome and the value of your home will always be improved. But the choice will come down to cost and that’s where finding a good contractor and doing your homework will prove invaluable.

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