DIY Conservatories: Building your own conservatory
Why Consider DIY conservatories?
Conservatories are a relatively easy way to add some more room to your home. If designed and built correctly a conservatory can be a wonderful addition, being a room that is light and warm on a dark winter day and cool and on a Summers eve. However, conservatories are expensive (conservatory companies start at around £500 per square metre to build one for you) and therefore likely to be the second highest expenditure after a house purchase you'll ever make.
So, are there lower cost alternatives to getting in a company to build a conservatory for you? Can I have a conservatory that is exactly the same except cheaper? Well yes - how about DIY conservatories? What are the pro's and con's of a self-build conservatory, what's the procedure and how much money will it save me?
Types of conservatory
As normal DIY Conservatories come in four main types
- Edwardian or Georgian
- Lean to or Home extender
More bespoke designs may combine aspects from any or all the these three.
Under UK planning law you are allowed to build a conservatory on the side of your house if the build and design follows certain rules and regulations. These rules are set out in another article on the whatprice site called conservatory planning permission. If in any doubt seek advice from the local planning office.
Experience Required for a DIY conservatory
This isn't some self-assembly chest of drawers from IKEA where the hardest thing you'll have to do is read the instructions, it's a proper building job and should be taken seriously.
If you are typically no good at DIY then why are you even considering it? You should be competent or know someone who is good with their hands and experienced at bricklaying and confident in taking on such a big job. Yes, I know its not quite up there with building a house but its not a Saturday afternoon lawn cut either!
There may also be some plumbing involved (if you plan on extending the household central heating system into the conservatory for winter heating) and almost certainly electrical work. Under January 2005 guidelines the electrical work should be carried out by a qualified electrician anyway.
Building Work Involved
Standard conservatories built by a specialist conservatory installation company will attach the timber or PVC-u framework onto a dwarf-wall or base. Whilst this is possible in DIY conservatories you can also buy ones that basically are bolted down onto the floor. Therefore, the work schedule varies for different types and builds.
The company that you buy the DIY conservatory from should provide you with complete plans and a to do list. But roughly should comprise of:
- Base or dwarf-wall
- Unless you are really confident in what you are doing get in a professional builder to complete this part of the project.
- Framework assembly
- Expect most of the conservatory framework to be easy to assemble but some holes will need to be drilled and items cut to length to exactly meet the needs of your design and site layout. These items when assembled will be heavy and so are recommended as at least a two-person lift. Also, some of the work will require the use of ladders and so you must be confident at working at height. To finish off the framework you will need to seal around certain areas.
- Presumably you will want some lighting in the room and maybe a fan or sockets fitted. This will require getting a qualified electrician in, unless you yourself are qualified.
- If you wish the room to be heated off the main central heating system or perhaps to have underfloor heating then you will need to think about the plumbing.
- Either a carpet or more likely a wooden or tiled floor will be laid onto the concrete base. Are you confident in these tasks?
- Perhaps the simplest of the jobs? One of the walls will likely be brick but a nice feature is to plasterboard over it and paint it to make the conservatory seem more like a very well lit indoor room than a glass house.
How long will it take?
Depends. Obviously the bigger and more complicated it is the longer it will take. Not including the time to build any dwarf-wall (if needed) it will probably take between 4 and 6 days, but be prepared to take your time and get it right first time. Mistakes can be costly.
Who can supply my DIY conservatory
Well according to Google just about anyone or at least a large percentage of small town. There are a huge number of outlets that are trying to sell you a conservatory. If you have any recommendations on good companies please let us know. We cannot list them all here but just search using Google or Yahoo and browse through the sites. Which ones seem the most informative, do they have any example information packs for viewing, how much are they, do they come with a guarantee, do they have a store that I can visit and view examples?
How much will it cost?
Again this varies depending on the design, the materials for construction and the size. Typically the larger it is the cheaper per square meter it works out.
For example a very typical 3m x 3m lean to conservatory may cost £225-250 per square meter. This is the price for a full height (all glass no dwarf wall) conservatory.
A 3m x 3m DIY Victorian style conservatories can by found for about £300 per square metre and a larger 4m x 4m Victorian conservatory for about £225 per square metre - again a full-height construction (no dwarf wall).
Larger area DIY conservatories, such as a P-shape can be purchased for as little as £150 per square metre. These prices compare well to the average cost of getting a conservatory built which starts at £500 per square metre. The question to ask is how much is your time worth?
These prices were valid as of July 2008.
There is such competition that there are always special offers and sales on so you may be able to pick up something much cheaper than this or buy an otherwise more expensive type of conservatory or material. The dwarf wall will again vary with design and several quotes should be obtained from builders for the cost of it.
Below are some example prices that we have in our database.
|General description||Specific description||Submitted Price||Units||Last Updated|
|Kit||Dwarf wall Victorian conservatory kit including dwarf wall base kit. Wood grain effect. Not assembled 3.3x2.9m||£6898||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height Edwardian conservatory kit including base. Wood grain effect. Not assembled 3.2x2.3m||£5598||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Dwarf wall Edwardian conservatory kit including kit for dwarf wall. Wood grain effect. Not assembled 3.2x2.3m||£6598||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height Edwardian conservatory kit including base. White PVC. Not assembled 3.2x2.3m||£4698||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Dwarf wall Edwardian conservatory kit including kit for dwarf wall. White PVC. Not assembled 3.2x2.3m||£5598||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height Victorian conservatory kit including base. Wood grain effect. Not assembled 3.3x2.9m||£5398||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Dwarf wall Victorian conservatory kit including dwarf wall base kit. White PVC. Not assembled 3.3x2.9m||£5798||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height Victorian conservatory kit including base. White PVC. Not assembled 3.3x2.9m||£4398||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height Lean-to conservatory kit including base. White PVC. Not assembled 2.4x2.3m||£3398||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height Lean-to conservatory kit including base. Wood grain effect. Not assembled 2.4x2.3||£4398||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Dwarf wall lean-to conservatory kit including dwarf wall base kit. Wood grain effect. Not assembled 2.4x2.3||£5398||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Dwarf wall lean-to conservatory kit including dwarf wall base kit. White PVC. Not assembled 2.4x2.3||£4398||per item/job||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height edwardian conservatory kit not including base (requires purchase of base kit or having one built). White PVC Large area 14.5 square metres.||£303||per m2||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height edwardian conservatory kit not including base (requires purchase of base kit or having one built). Wood grain effect Large area 14.5 square metres.||£365||per m2||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height Victorian conservatory kit not including base (requires purchase of base kit or having one built). Wood grain effect Large area 15 square metres.||£367||per m2||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height Victorian conservatory kit not including base (requires purchase of base kit or having one built). White PVC Large area 15 square metres.||£293||per m2||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height Lean to conservatory kit not including base (requires purchase of base kit or having one built). White PVC Large area 10.6 square metres.||£349||per m2||2009-01-10|
|Kit||Full height Lean to conservatory kit not including base (requires purchase of base kit or having one built). Wood grain effect Large area 10.6 square metres.||£443||per m2||2009-01-10|
|Kit||3.5m x 6.0m Glass roof Pilkington. 2 x Double (French) doors. Supply and build Top only (panels and roof.) Dwarf walls and base pre-existed.||£13250||per item/job||2009-06-16|
|Kit||CheapConservatories.com is the UK's Number 1 provider of self build conservatories. Lean To Conservatories, made from high quality PCVu start from just £1,895, but every conservatory is different, so just go to their website and fill out the "Get a Quote" page for a more accurate price.||£1895||per item/job||2012-11-21|
This is NOT a form for requesting quotes. Please use this instead if you desire a quote for work
Hidden extra costs
- Conservatory furniture - Its like any room in the house. You will need somewhere to sit and relax and enjoy your new surroundings. This article on our site on conservatory furniture will give you some ideas on price
- Cooling - As the construction is mainly glass great care must be taken in the choice of position and subsequently in how to cool your conservatory. If it is a south facing conservatory adequate ventilation and cooling should be budgeted for. This article on conservatory cooling covers this in more detail.
DIY Conservatories Conclusions
DIY conservatories can save you a lot of money and give you exactly the conservatory you want. However, you must be aware that there are several days work ahead of you, you need to be good at constructing things and also at following plans.
"A very interesting page for anyone looking to build their own conservatory. Lots of useful tips"