Conservatory Glossary

Glossary of conservatory terms


Works by the use of a heat exchange fluid (gas or liquid) which is compressed and then allowed to evaporate , the energy needed to do so being extracted from the warm room air being drawn over the heat exchanger interface between the two mediums. This then cools the room air which can then be expelled back into the room. Conservatory air conditioning units can be relatively small and not too pricey as this article on conservatory air conditioning will show you.


A material that conservatories are made out of. Generally used in situations where strength of the structure is an issue. As a metal its insulation properties aren't as good as either a PVCu or hardwood construction. It is more expensive than PVCu but not as much as hardwood.

Building Regulations

Most conservatory builds are exempt from building regulations. This article on conservatory building regulations will advise you if you need to follow them, but if in doubt go seek official advice.

Edwardian Conservatory

A style of conservatory. Edwardian conservatories are typified by the square or rectangular plan view and apex roof structure.


Or the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme, just because a company is a member of FENSA doesn't mean the conservatory will be good quality.


The conservatory is a room in the house and to be fully utilised needs to be furnished as such. Cane, wicker and rattan are common materials used to make specialised conservatory furniture although it doesn't need to be any different from what you would buy for the front room. The only possible cause for concern is that unless you have conservatory blinds and or a solar coating the furnishings will be subject to significantly more sunlight and UV than they would normally be expected to see in an interior room. This may cause degradation of the materials structure and fading of the colour.


A group of woods that conservatories can be made out of. For example oak is considered a hardwood. Generally speaking a conservatory made out of hardwood will be more expensive than one made out aluminium or PVCu. Some people think that they look the best though.


Conservatory heating may take the form of radiators (electric, oil or central heating), air conditioning units or underfloor heating


Actually known as Pilkington K glass (Pilkington being the company that invented it). It reduces the amount of heat that is lost from the conservatory to the outside world. It works through the use of a microscopic coating on the inside pane of glass in double glazing. The glass basically doesn't want to radiate any heat into the gap between the panes of double glazing and hence heat produced by radiators, body heat etc is reflected back into the room. Yet sunlight is let through - presumably because it transfers 'heat' at a different frequency. This means the internal pane of glass can feel warmer than usual and reduces the amount of internal condensation you will see. It generally appears the same as normal glass but in certain light conditions may appear as a slight 'film' on the surface of the glass.

Lean to

A style of conservatory. lean to conservatories are typified by the rectangular-shaped plan view and slanted roof braced on one side by the wall of the attaching house.


A conservatory in a south facing garden in summer on a hot day without any conservatory blinds or solar coatings.

P-shaped Conservatory

A style of conservatory. P-shaped conservatories are typified by the P-shaped plan view and apex roof structure.

Pilkington K glass

See K glass

Pinoleum Blinds

This type of conservatory blinds are typically made of wooden slats. They are in fact a type of roman conservatory blind.

Planning permission

Depending upon the size of your conservatory you may or may not need to seek planning permission before you consider having one built. This article on conservatory planning permission will help you.

Pleated blinds

This type of conservatory blinds are folded up like a fan. They are very popular and give a modern look


A small lean to conservatory style construction en-casing the front door of the property. Can be useful to minimise heat loss on cold days when entering and leaving the property.


A common material that conservatories are made out of. Quite economical. PVC means polyvinyl chloride with the u meaning that it is un-plasticised. In the US this is sometimes just called Vinyl. It can also be called uPVC.


A way of heating your conservatory in the winter months. Conventional central heating radiators are efficient but require you to plumb into the existing central heating system in your house. Electric radiators are convenient in that they are easier to install - just plug them in (depending on the wattage they may need a dedicated socket). Oil filled radiators are also convenient. An additional advantage of both electric and oil filled radiators is that you will usually remember to switch them off if you are not using the conservatory, which probably will not happen with a conventional central heating radiator.


Looks a bit like bamboo, but is what we commonly call cane and is used for much of the specialised conservatory furniture.

Roman Blinds

This type of conservatory blinds are rolled up at the bottom as the blind is raised and are usually made up of strips of pinoleum.

Roller Blinds

This type of conservatory blinds are rolled up at the bottom as the blind is raised. They are made of fabric which can be coated with a solar coating to further enhance their anti-conservatory-to-oven properties.

Solar Coating

An alternative or complementary technique to conservatory blinds for reducing the heat build in a conservatory during hot weather. In one example it is a metalized PVC coating that is applied to the roof of the conservatory which could reduce the internal temperature of the room by up to 20C on very hot day. May also help maintain a more regulated temperature in the conservatory.

Summer House

A term generally used to describe a detached conservatory. So, a separate building in the garden but in this case built using conservatory building materials and design.

Sun Blinds

Essential purchases for a south facing conservatory. If installed correctly they can be used to control the amount of sun and hence how hot your conservatory will get on a sunny day. Sun blinds for your conservatory can be expensive as can be seen in this article on conservatory sun blinds pricing

Sun Lounge

Another name for a lean to conservatory

Underfloor heating

A way of invisibly heating your conservatory in an efficient manner. Usually implemented by the installation of a narrow gauge plastic tube, which carries warm water, below the floor surface. Once installed a good system will be reliable for many years - which is good as they are difficult to service! Can also install a 'radiative' floor surface which using an electrical heating element to provide the warmth. These can be more easily installed after the concrete base has be laid than the water pipe version.

Victorian Conservatory

A style of conservatory. It is typified by the polygonal (here being more than four sides) plan view and apex roof structure.


See PVCu


Derived from the name wickerwork, given to the type of weaving used in the manufacture of some conservatory furniture