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What does it take and cost to have a hardwood conservatory or orangery?

In this post, we’ll run though the options and cost of the elements that make up your investment in a hardwood conservatory or orangery extension. Whilst it is important to understand how to budget for your extension or garden room, it is as important to plan for and maximise the increase in value of your home.

Hardwood Conservatory used as a delightful Garden Room

It is also vital that you plan the additional living space correctly as often your glass extension will become a focal point for your family and the ‘hub’ of your home, the space where you’ll spend most of the time. And most importantly ensuring that the new extension adds that real ‘wow’ factor to your home.

When we are asked ‘What does a hardwood conservatory cost?’ our answer depends on several factors that can be grouped into 4 main areas of work/specialism,

Conservatory or Orangery Structure

  • · Hardwood, softwood or engineered timber, which should you choose?

  • · How big is the conservatory or orangery?

  • · What is the style and detailing?

  • · How many opening elements there are?

  • · Any special glass requirements, such as triple glazing, solar control, self-clean glass

Construction Costs

  • · Construction of the insulated base and DPM

  • · Block and brick walls, such as flank walls, corner pillars, dwarf walls

  • · Property related requirements such as creating openings to the conservatory

  • · Plastering external walls that are now the interior, and any new walls, orangery ceilings

  • · Lead flashing and orangery roof membrane (not included in the cost of the orangery)

  • · Electrics, power, lighting, and heating

  • · External drainage, connecting rainwater discharge

Final Finishes

  • · Carpentry, such as skirting boards, architrave, cornice as needed

  • · Internal decoration, painting walls and 2nd fix carpentry and laying flooring

Professional Fees and Application Costs

  • · Planning application charges and fees to prepare drawings and the required documents

  • · Building regulation application charges and fees to prepare drawings and specification details

  • · Structural engineer fees to calculate load bearing foundations and structural steels for openings if required

It’s quite a comprehensive list and not exhausted by any means.

Conservatory Material

There are three kinds of materials when building conservatory type extensions. These are uPVC, Aluminium and Hardwood.

Hardwood conservatories are often designed with period detailing to match the property or local vernacular and with intricate detailing can be the most expensive choice. An insulated orangery roof with a lantern is also a more expensive roof than a conservatory. Top quality manufacturers will ensure structural stability, the highest weather protection, and thermal performance standards. Similar in price to a modern aluminium option, the difference is mainly in the period look and traditional design.

Traditional Hardwood Conservatory with period detail

A uPVC conservatory is the cheapest cost and comes in wood grain effects and a few colours. It’s sometimes misleadingly described as a 'timber alternative' to infer that it is not 'just plastic'. Often designed in prescribed shapes the aesthetic effect is also limited. A good PVC conservatory will cost approximately one third the amount of a quality hardwood conservatory.

Aluminium conservatories are similar in cost to a quality hardwood conservatory. Providing structural stability, weather, and thermal performance standards like the hardwood option, the difference is mainly in the modern overall look and design.

Timber used in Conservatory Construction

The most used timber is a softwood, 'European Redwood' more commonly called 'Pine', and 'Siberian Larch'. This can be compressed, laminated, and chemically bonded to improve strength as the cheap alternative to hardwood. Unless you ask, you may be led to believe that these materials are real hardwood or a derivative.

Softwood grows much faster than hardwoods and is much cheaper because it can be replenished faster. Even if it undergoes a treatment to make it ‘engineered’ it is still the cheap option. With a much shorter lifespan than a good quality hardwood and without annual maintenance you could be replacing your new conservatory earlier than you planned for.

Yet not all hardwoods are the same, there can be significant differences in the durability of the timbers. Philippine or African mahogany is a common name for the Meranti species but is not true Mahogany and note that Meranti has little durability for outdoor projects. The most common hardwoods in use for glazed extensions include Sapele, Iroko, Idigbo and Oak.

Why Sapele is the best wood for Hardwood Conservatory Construction

We choose to use Sapele wood which has a Janka hardness rating of 1510 lbs, harder and denser than most domestic North American and European species (including Red Oak) and almost twice as hard as Genuine Mahogany.

Sapele Hardwood id best for period conservatories

Plus, it has a very durable anti-rot rating. Sapele has a propensity for straight tight grains which makes it very stable, predictable, and easy to work with and machine. Because of the tightness of the pore structure, it’s a perfect substrate for

painting giving a perfect smooth finish.

As opposed to ‘Lifting’ grain that commonly happens with painted Oak, Iroko and Idigbo.

Conservatory, Orangery or Garden Room Costs

The first thing to consider is whether you’re looking to have a conservatory, an orangery, or a garden room as this will have the most impact on the price. Ensure you fully understand the nuances between these designs so you can confidently start to make a good investment decision.

Traditional Hardwood Conservatories have an entirely glazed roof, set on straight forward window and door frames, often with high specification solar control or sun control glazing, and often have roof vents. Costs are somewhere between £2500/m2 for a quality hardwood version to £3500/m2 at the top end, depending on the complexity of design, detail and specifications and excluding the building works.

Period Hardwood Orangeries frequently have more complex frame designs, ornate pilasters and modern openings such as bi-folding doors, and they will need structural beams to support the glass roof lantern, often with high specification solar control or sun control glazing and roof vents, which sits in from the suspended flat roof. Costs are somewhere between £3000/m2 for a quality hardwood version to £3750/m2 at the top end, depending on the complexity of design, detail and specifications and excluding the building works.

Hardwood Garden rooms have a similar elevation to an orangery but typically with an insulated tiled or slate ridge roof with vaulted ceiling. Common examples include oak framed structures and the cost of this type of design depends on whether it has an exposed oak rafter or just a plain plastered vaulted ceiling. The price therefore usually sits somewhere between that of a glazed roof and an orangery at £3000/m2, depending on the complexity of design, detail and specifications and excluding the building works.

The Price of Conservatory or Orangery Construction and other Works including wall foundations, insulated slab base, blockwork & brickwork, underfloor heating, power and lighting points, screed, connection to existing rainwater drainage, plastering internal walls is approximately £750 to £1000/m2.

For paint finish to the walls, tiled floor finish allow £120 to £150/m2.

Professional Fees; £900 for householder planning application to over £2,000 for complex listed buildings planning application. £300 for building regulation notice to over £1,500 for off plan application. £300 per structural calculation (e.e. steel beam to create opening).

Other Design/Cost considerations for your conservatory or orangery:

Obviously the larger your conservatory or orangery is, the more it will cost though there are economies of scale. Super large size orangeries, for example spanning swimming pools, may require additional structural steel framing, which will in fact increase the overall per m2 cost.

The more complex the design of a product, the more windows and doors, the shape of the roof and the amount of period detail the more involved the manufacturing process and installation, and therefore, the more it will cost.

If your orangery extension sits in a corner, it will only have two sides instead of three (or four), thus reducing the cost. However, if you want a conservatory roof then this may be requiring a more complex roof shape and include structural box gutters which may reduce the initial perceived saving.

The more complex the design of a conservatory roof, the more it will cost. The least costly roof is a lean-to mono-pitch design. Designs that have hips, valleys, gables and so on can double the cost of the roof.

Creating a Cool in Summer and Warm in Winter Environment

In many cases, your conservatory or orangery is an open plan extension to your home, and it is essential the space is comfortable day or night, all the year around, neither too hot nor to cold. This is where our designers can help you achieve the perfect environment. It’s not a case of just using Solar Control Glass as the norm, nor having blinds and air conditioning everywhere.

Modern thinking in contemporary architecture is to use as much glass as possible, in a clever way so that the suns energy heats the space in winter and by use of openings and shadings the space is fresh and cooler in summer. It’s known as a Bio-climatic space, and with our help your conservatory or orangery can go some-way to achieving this healthy environment.

We will look at the positioning of your extension, work out how to allow the suns radiation to heat your space in winter, and conversely how to allow fresh, cooling air in summer with the right choice of shading to compensate for the hottest of days.

Our Service

We hope this short guide has given you some help in understanding how tricky it is to answer, ‘How much does a hardwood conservatory cost?’ This is however where our expert designers can step in to help you out. We will understand why you want the conservatory, what use you and your family want to get out of it, what is your sense of style and guide you on what the appropriate design options are. We can roughly work out costs and adjust the scheme before going away and creating a stunning design that will present you with the WOW factor, hopefully surpassing even the highest of expectations.

If you need help to decide on which is the best solution for you and to meet your budget contact us and speak to one of our experts who would love to help you out.


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