Amazing glazing - top ten tips on buying and installing a conservatory

03 December 2010
Escalating property prices and the rising cost of actually moving (approximately £20,000 including agents and solicitors fees and stamp duty) have encouraged many people to extend current homes rather than climb the property ladder. The following tips, supplied by Everest and Pilkington Activ™, should help anyone looking to install a glass conservatory.

Perfect planning

Many conservatories can be built without planning permission, but don’t take a chance - local authorities will be able to confirm whether or not permission is needed. And when obtaining quotes for conservatories, make sure to get it in writing and always ask whether the cost includes VAT and installation fees.

Be clear about what the room will be used for – playroom, dining room, relaxation area etc. - and make sure the end result fulfils this need. Thorough research should be done into different styles and layouts. To help add maximum value to the property, be sympathetic to the surroundings - it is important that the style of conservatory fits in with the rest of the home and garden.

Ensure that the conservatory comes with an unconditional 10-year guarantee - all Everest glass conservatories, which have obtained seven ‘Kitemarks’ and three registrations from the British Standards Authority, come with this as standard.

Window Of Opportunity

Glass is obviously a major feature of any conservatory. It can be very time consuming to keep the panes of glass clean, and if a window cleaner is regularly paid to do it the financial costs quickly mount up! All conservatory roofs need regular cleaning and can be difficult to reach from a standard stepladder or upstairs window. An environmentally friendly way to keep windows sparkling is Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass, which works with the weather to keep itself clean.

Pilkington Activ™ has a dual action coating that firstly reacts with UV rays to break down organic dirt (for example, fingerprints, bird droppings, tree resin) and secondly encourages rainwater flow down the glass in an even ‘sheeting’ effect preventing rain droplets forming and washing away any remaining dirt. This ‘sheeting’ action prevents water from drying in streaks and smears following a rain shower; it also means that there is a clear view through the window even in the heaviest downpour.

Don’t be tempted to cut corners and install a polycarbonate roof. It can discolour very quickly therefore totally ruining the overall look of your conservatory. It also provides limited sound insulation so even the lightest of showers can sound like a torrential downpour. Finally it offers limited temperature control so the conservatory could be cold in the winter and hot in the summer so therefore a conservatory is unlikely to be used all year round.

Climate Control

A common complaint about conservatories is that they are too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. The recently launched Pilkington Activ™ Blue specifically designed for conservatories, is an attractive blue glass that combines dual-action self-cleaning properties with solar control technology to prevent conservatories getting unbearably hot in the summer.

The glass had a faint blue tinge, which allows considerably less heat into the room compared to standard glass. In fact it reduces heat transference into the conservatory by approximately 43%. This is because the blue tint absorbs the heat and re-radiates it back outside, helping to keep the interior cooler thereby, with sufficient ventilation, removing the need to install interior blinds at a cost of approximately £1000. The attractive blue colour also has an aesthetic benefit as it reduces reflection giving uninterrupted exterior views.

Double-glazing can help maintain temperatures by providing insulation in the winter. The reduction of heat emissions can also help protect the environment. Any double glazed glass should always be safety glass - toughened or laminated and marked with a Kitemark stamp proving it complies with British or European standards. 

Glass in standard windows absorbs heat from warm rooms and radiates from the outside surface.   To retain heat and save energy at the same time consider combining Pilkington Activ™ or Pilkington Activ™ Blue with Pilkington K Glass™ on the inner pane which stops the heat radiating outside the conservatory.   Instead, heat from fires and radiators are reflected back into the home. This type of glass will help reduce fuel bills, and make double-glazing as effective as triple glazing.

Flooring

The floor of a conservatory should be quite hardwearing, and suitable for outdoor shoes that might be carrying mud etc in from the garden. Flagstones and tiles are perfect for this, but lino or laminate flooring can also be an option – these are also perfect for providing continuity from a kitchen area.

Under-floor heating is a great way to warm up the conservatory in winter months. Further information on Everest conservatories can be found on at www.everest.co.uk.