The humble conservatory has been a popular addition to people’s home for decades. Conservatories were originally designed to add extra space to people’s homes. A place which could be the dining room people didn’t have. A man cave for football and beer. A playroom for the kids. An office to allow work from home. The idea of a conservatory is genuine, but we really have been doing conservatories wrong for decades.

Wrong conservatory products from the start

Let’s all be honest with ourselves, as an industry we have been building conservatories with the wrong products from the start. We’ve been building them with window and door products. Not a product specifically designed to build a conservatory. We have been using window and door products, with a roof plonked on top.

Then the problems started. Massive overheating in the summer. Way too cold in the winter. Deafening when it rains. Mouldy polycarbonate roof sheets. Leaks. All problems which stop people using conservatories for exactly why they bought them.

As an industry, we rushed into building them with products that were already lying around. No one seemed to stop for a minute and think “hang on, might it be worth designing a new product designed for a conservatory?” We were using glass in conservatories designed for windows. No wonder they would have such massive temperature fluctuations!

But progress has been made.

Glazed extensions, not conservatories

The good news is that the industry is now really learning from its mistakes and is changing.

Take a look at the featured image at the top of this post. This creation was one of ours from last year. It has brick columns. The windows and doors sit within the brickwork. We used Ultraframe’s Cornice gutter product on the outside and their LivinRoom on the inside. We also used a self-cleaning glass roof. This for us is how conservatories, or rather glazed extensions, should be done.

The end result meant that the room we built for the homeowner could be used during all seasons, felt like it was solid and part of the house. Needless to say, they were happy with the end result.

Other new products are now in the market allowing a much better standard of glazed extension to be built. These include things like solid roofs, genuine solar control glass and Loggia columns.

Solid roof by Prefix Systems
Sage Glass technical diagram

The frustration for me is that change has taken decades. We’ve known about these problems for a long time, yet the appetite for change and for improvement has been lacking until now.

As an industry, we’re slow to react. It’s taken years and years of unhappy homeowners and crappy installations to understand what needs to change and to spend the money to research and develop new and better products to improve standards.

We’re getting there now. There are still a few areas to improve on though. For example, using the right glass in the window and doors frames. Better solar control glass needs to be developed and used more often in this area of conservatories.

But let’s finish on a silver lining. Standards and quality of glazed extensions are getting better. We’ve been late to learn, but better late than never! Onwards and upwards as they say.

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