This is a story of low-cost materials being used to build high-value end products, mainly in white, hence white gold. The market expanded very quickly and legions of double glazing salesmen appeared along with their “never, never” agreements, as they were known. The problem with these conservatories was that they were nearly always cold in the winter and unbearably hot in the summer, even the plants they were really designed to house, had limited chance of survival.
There is now a new revolution, instead of white plastic conservatories the fashion is for grey aluminium. The best solution now is to build a simple flat roofed extension with modern grey aluminium bi-fold doors for the width of at least one wall and rooflights most commonly “Lantern” or “Elongated Pyramid” styled roof lights in the flat roof. This solution, with modern materials and glass, can create an extension room in which a comfortable temperature can be maintained throughout the year. Bi-fold door technology has improved dramatically and can now provide large expanses of glass. The rooflights that complement the doors can be flat, or pyramids and can open electronically for ventilation at the touch of a button, automatically, from a control panel screen or application on your mobile telephone. The environment of the extension is now easily controlled automatically or by you.
There is also now a halfway solution and that is to replace the plastic or glass roof of your existing conservatory with a light weight insulating solid roof, which again can have rooflights built in to add greater light and ventilation control. The pitfalls of this may be in the structural calculations to prove that the conservatory can hold the weight, or in the local planning office which may take a view. This solution again will add greater control to the environment with particularly low U-value roofing making heating the conservatory worthwhile.
These are exciting times for garden rooms, there is certainly a wide choice. Good quality rooflights and Bi-Folds are easy to spot, if it looks like it is made from sawn-up framework it probably is and if it looks well-designed it probably is. Be careful to check the technical factsheets and options to help you make a considered choice.
Chris Chaney, Managing Director, Sunsquare
Written to help architects, surveyors and home improvers alike understand every UK building regulations.