In the current Economic downturn and low return on savings held in the bank, Is there a better way to invest your hard earned money? Well yes- spend it wisely on your house and you could reap the rewards. We all know that house prices have fluctuated recently but in the long term bricks and mortar will always be a sound investment. What better than a brand new timber conservatory to relax in or use as a entertaining space. There are lots of choices when it comes to conservatories and orangeries. Style, timber, colour, glass and ironmongery.
There are a large number of different options for conservatories, orangeries and sun rooms. They will have varying amounts of glass to the walls and roof area, some have full glass roofs and others a lantern light, which is usually part of a flat roof. Many have dwarf walls on 3 sides, with double doors leading to the garden or patio. In recent years, sliding/folding doors have become very popular allowing an entire wall of glass to be opened up and blurring the transition between outside and inside spaces. Georgian,Victorian and increasingly modern designs are available, categorised by the style of windows and doors chosen and detailing to the roof and internal areas. Orangeries and conservatories are now a blend of styles and ideas, whereas original orangeries were separate structures in the garden, with large sliding sash windows and full of exotic citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. Today we tend to use the conservatory/orangery as an entertaining room or dining room and if properly designed, they feel like an integral part of the house.
Hardwood is the number one choice if you want longevity and a quality product. European Oak is widely used in conservatory construction for the main frame but engineered TEC wood is often preferred for the doors and frame, due to its stability. Sapele is also much admired for its robust character and close grain making for a excellent paint finish. Idigbo is another hardwood that can be utilised in conservatory construction and which can be stained to look like Oak but has a cost saving and is physically much lighter in weight. If softwood is chosen then a timber such as Douglas-Fir is a better choice than standard softwood, due to its heavy loading tolerances. COLOUR The colour chosen for the conservatory often depends on the style. Many conservatories are painted the classic white which looks good in every setting. Also popular is the matt green colour which blends into the garden or for a more modern and contemporary twist- grey or black are very striking choices. If you prefer more subtle tones then a cream colour may be the may to go. If a timber such as Oak is chosen then a natural stain or finish is more likely, as it would be a terrible shame to cover the richly grained Oak with a layer of paint.
The glass options are also increasing on a yearly basis- self cleaning glass for hard to reach areas, solar control glass- which reflects heat back inside but allows heat from the sun to penetrate the room- passive solar gain. Double glazed units with warm edge spacers and Argon gas filling will bring significant reductions in "U" values over traditional glass. Manufacturers are introducing new products on a regular basis so always ask about current trends. I
The choice of fittings for doors and windows will probably be a meeting of design wishes and practicality. For more formal and traditional conservatories- brass or perhaps antique black ironwork, oil rubbed bronze, there are lots of choices and styles. If you want more contemporary then the minimalist look in brushed steel or satin chrome may be the choice. Other options include glass handles, wood or even leather. Locks should be either multi point locking systems such as an Espagnolette or a 5 lever mortice lock. Many modern window systems will utilise a friction type hinge which will hold the window open at the angle you require. There should also be a trickle vent fitted which meets with building regulations and provides a constant flow of fresh air. Night vents are windows which can be opened slightly and then locked in position- good for hot summer nights- if we ever get any! Extras such as ceiling fans with a reversible function for both summer and winter applications makes for a pleasant atmosphere all year round. Opening vents in the roof can also be very useful for allowing hot air to disperse. Quality speaks for itself so buy the best you can afford- it will pay dividends in the future. Enjoy your new living space.