Property case study two conservatory replacement

03 December 2010
It was big with plenty of room - temperature control was the only issue; cold in the winter and boiling hot in the summer meant the room could only be used at sporadic times throughout the year and the doors linking the two areas together were permantely shut in the winter.  The existing glass roof was also filthy making it appear dark and gloomy, consequently the blinds were drawn to hide the dirty glass and keep the sun out.

Type of Property: Detached House
Location: Cheshire
Timescale: 4 weeks refurbishment project, completed September 2006
Cost of project: £25,000 including glass

The Brief:

To bring the conservatory into the kitchen making it a welcoming environment all year round for the whole family.

Step 1 – The Roof and Windows:

The 10-year-old conservatory foundations and dwarf walls were in perfect shape, however the wooden frames were beginning to show signs of rot through lack of maintenance.  With the improvements in frames and glazing, local company Tuff X (Glass Supplier) and Knutsford Conservatories (Installers) recommended that all glass in the vertical windows as well as the roof of the conservatory should be replaced to provide an instant cost-effective solution.

The Windows:

Being a busy family it was important for the Granges to select a glass that needed minimal maintenance.  They chose to glaze the vertical windows with Pilkington Activ™ (a self-cleaning glass) combined with low emissivity Pilkington K Glass™.   Pilkington Activ™ has a virtually invisible coating on the surface of the glass that reacts with UV rays to break down and loosen organic dirt (e.g. fingerprints, bird droppings, tree resin).  It is also hydrophilic meaning it encourages rainwater to flow down the glass in an even ‘sheeting’ motion washing away the dirt.  This ‘sheeting’ action also stops water from drying in unsightly streaks and smears and also means that a clear view through the window is provided, even during the heaviest downpour.

Pilkington K Glass™ improves energy efficiency and is designed to reflect heat back into a building, thus allowing the Granges to stay at a comfortable temperature during the cold winter months, especially as the conservatory now flows directly from the kitchen, without any internal doors.  In total, 67 square metres of Pilkington K Glass™ was used for the inner panes of the insulating glass unit.

The Roof:

In order to further combat the temperature issue the Granges replaced their existing glass roof with a solar controlled glass roof made with Pilkington Activ™ Blue.  Only recently launched, Pilkington Activ™ Blue is designed specifically for conservatories.  It’s a blue coloured glass that combines dual-action self-cleaning properties with solar control technology. Essentially the blue glass allows considerably less heat into the room compared to standard glass.  In fact it reduces heat transference into the conservatory by approximately 43%* because the blue tint absorbs the heat and re-radiates it back outside, helping to keep room interiors cool in the summer whilst maintaining temperatures in the winter. The blue colour also has an aesthetic benefit; it reduces reflection and glare from the sun giving uninterrupted exterior views, and improves the outlook on even the greyest of days.  A total of 33m of Pilkington Activ™ Blue was installed in the roof, with the additional benefit of a glass roof giving considerable noise reduction from the rain.

“Pilkington Activ™ Blue has made an enormous difference to our conservatory,” says Jill Grange.  “With a garden that’s surrounded by mature trees, the conservatory roof was often covered in leaves, moss and tree resin, but it’s so awkward to reach that neither I nor my husband had the time or the inclination to climb a ladder and clean.  I honestly didn’t think we’d be able to find a glass that would keep itself clean and the room at a fairly constant temperature so Pilkington Activ™ Blue is a godsend!”

Jill continues, “I also didn’t really want blinds in the conservatory as the outlook to the back garden is quite spectacular, but the room was boiling in the summer and freezing in the winter without them.  Not any more though!  The combination of Pilkington Activ™ Blue and K Glass™ has removed the need for blinds altogether.  It made sense for us to pay a price premium on the glass as the cost of blinds would have been at least £4,500.” 

Step 2 – Painting and Furnishings:

To merge the conservatory and kitchen together, the internal set of adjoining doors was removed and the same floor tiles were laid throughout.  This, coupled with the same shade of paint throughout, unified the two separate rooms into one integrated space. Jill then bought a new contemporary style dining table, chairs and sofas to complete the look.

The Result:

An entirely new kitchen-come-living area.  The once isolated conservatory has been sympathetically brought into the home, creating a spacious area the whole family can enjoy all year round.

 “I am so pleased with the results,” exclaims Jill. “Initially it was my intention to only replace the glass in the conservatory and ‘make good’ any of the existing wooden frames which required attention. However after deciding to install premium glass, I decided that the investment for a new maintenance-free U-pvc conservatory was well worth it, bearing in mind the existing footprint and dwarf walls for the conservatory were already in place and in good shape.”

Jill goes on to say, “Installing Pilkington Activ™ Blue self-cleaning glass, has had exactly the desired effect, I feel like the conservatory is now a part of the kitchen and it is where we spend the most time as a family.  We can sit and eat dinner as a family in the summer and winter, or just use it as a casual lounge where we can sit and relax and take advantage of the good views of the garden - I just love it.  It’s now a completely modern room, where we now tend to spend most of our time”

*When comparing Activ™ Blue and Pilkington K-Glass in a double-glazing unit with standard clear glass and Pilkington K-Glass in a double glazing unit.