What is a Victorian Conservatory?
With the unpredictability and turbulence of the British weather, it is no surprise that conservatories have a lengthy pedigree. Conservatories first became popular in the UK in the sixteenth century when the cultivation of citrus fruits was entering its first vogue. However, it was in the Victorian era that the archetypal conservatory was conceived. Recognisable for the distinct octagonal lantern roof resting atop a curved bay front, the Victorian style was engineered to drench the space in sunlight whilst maximising warmth. It immediately assured itself a place in history as a beacon of design.
Architecturally, the Victorian design is easily recognisable. Victorian conservatory plans tend to follow the model of a rectangular room with a curved bay-end aspect. This is great because the basic concept can be adapted to almost any space, with twists on the original idea including the P-Shape conservatory, the T-Shape, and the gable end. Each of these has its own personality and flaunts the available space in subtly different ways.
A style for every home
Different Victorian styles suit different properties and different conservatories prices fitted. The standard conservatory plan looks at home when added to any style of house, whereas dramatic T-Shape conservatories are an impressive addition to older properties.
More elaborate conservatories increase the conservatory price, but potentially also increase the value of the property, so check with your architect to ensure that you maximise the potential. Also be sure to check planning regulations, as different local authorities may have differing requirements. What is good about the Victorian conservatory is that its style has been tested for nearly 200 years, meaning that it has a strong evolution.
- Most Victorian conservatories feature a dwarf wall
- Contains a bay front with a steeply pitched roof
- Usually have a multi faced design with 3,5 or 7 window facets
Victorian Conservatories Detailed Review
Design Rating - Star Rating 5/5
With their enduring popularity and versatility, the Victorian style scores an impressive 5/5. This is a design that has stood the test of time, and which looks as much as home as an addition to a new-build as it does to a period property.
The Victorian design is reliable. Its tapered roof ensures good run-off, whilst the octagonal shape offers strength and durability. Its popularity is such that nearly every conservatory designer will offer a Victorian design option, and this is great for the consumer because it means investment, innovation, and choice. This offers you the luxury of being able to shop around, safe in the knowledge that the basic shape and style is one that you can trust.
Victorian Conservatories Detailed Review
Affordability- Star Rating 4/5
Victorian Conservatories Detailed Review
With the UK’s financial outlook as turbulent as its weather, it’s important to understand the full picture regarding conservatory prices before launching into your conservatory plans. Of all the home improvements, conservatories are usually one of the most cost-effective. Prices range between £6,500 and £40,000, with the variance reflecting the size and style of the conservatory as well as the type of glass and materials. Which? states that the average conservatory cost in the UK is between £10,000 and £15,000. The more technological enhancements that you opt for, the more expensive it is likely to be.
However, as the most recent government report cautions, it may be worth a little extra investment: a bit of extra insulation can save on heating bills further down the line. With conservatory innovation continuing to push boundaries, it might be useful to think of your conservatory as a long-term investment rather than a short-term purchase, which is brilliant if you are looking to add long-term value to your home.
Planning & Regulations - Star Rating 5/5
In terms of planning and regulations, the Victorian design scores 5/5 for most homes. If you live in a Grade I listed property, you might have a few more hoops to jump through, but for many properties the addition of a conservatory is a simple way to add value, and is therefore something that the government usually encourages.
The government has a planning portal. This helps you identify your local planning authority and determine whether or not you need to apply for planning approval.
Victorian conservatory planning permission
3×3: the industry standard
If you’re not sure how many square meters you might need, the industry average for a small Victorian conservatory is 3×3. This is because a conservatory that is three meters deep and three meters high does not usually require planning permission. Planning permission is not particularly difficult to secure in the case of a conservatory, and most contractors include planning paperwork in the overall price. However, you may need to check with neighbours in some local authorities. A normal 3×3 conservatory price starts at around £6,500 for a poly-carbonate Victorian uPVC style.
Older properties may need to apply for a more antiquated style of conservatory in order to remain sympathetic to the building design. The Edwardian design is an alternative option to the Victorian, and variations of the standard Victorian design are also available. The double-tier lantern roof is particularly popular for larger properties, but does require planning permission due to the raised height.
The government is interested in the environmental friendliness of conservatories. New regulations were introduced in 2002 that demand thermal efficiency and adequate ventilation. You are more likely to pass the inspection if you opt for a thermally enhanced glass roof that minimises heat waste. Under the 2002 regulations, roof vents may be necessary, especially if the conservatory adjoins a kitchen.
DIY Victorian - Star Rating 3/5
Dealing with sheets of glass, precise angles, and considerable weight can be a challenge, so unless you’re already a builder, the do-it-yourself option scores 3/5.
DIY conservatories remain a popular choice. The simplicity and popularity of the Victorian style means that many such conservatories have been hand-crafted from easily available kits. However, DIY conservatories can be a challenge to construct. They require solid bases, and handling large sheets of glass can require an informed touch. DIY conservatory prices are cheaper and could save you up to 50 per cent on the overall cost, but that investment could hide miscellaneous expenses such as building permits.
Victorian conservatory kits
Victorian conservatory kits are a great choice if you have the knowledge and experience of completing a project like this previously. A self build conservatory project is not recommended for the intrepid novice. Always try and follow int installation guides to a tee in order to get everything correct. An advantage of a self build is that you can change the design requirements as you please in order to achieve your dream conservatory. Whether that’s adding bifold doors, french doors or even underfloor heating, you can decide as you go.
The Roof - Star Rating 4/5
The popularity of the Victorian style means that many designers and manufacturers have invested in roof innovation. The results are high levels of reliability and plenty of options, earning this roof 4/5 stars. The lack of a fifth star reflects the fact that the additional surface area of this design slightly increases the cost of the Victorian design, and also makes the DIY option more challenging.
Choosing the roof materials is important. At the cheaper end of the spectrum are polycarbonate materials, which come with a hefty twenty-year life expectancy. A more popular choice is glass, which floods the internal space with natural sunlight. In the twenty-first century, glazing technology offers a formidable range of thermal efficiency benefits, making glass an enduringly popular choice. This option is becoming increasingly embraced since the government introduced energy efficiency legislation in 2002.
Glass Roof Vs Tiled Roof
Tiled roofs offer a modern twist on an established idea. Only available since building regulations changed in 2010, tiled roofs offer reliable protection from temperature fluctuations. Each of these options alters the conservatory cost, but only slightly: the average cost remains fairly stable regardless of the roof materials.
Prices - Star Rating 5/5
Taking into account the fact that conservatories can add long-term value to a home with additional space and can improve quality of life, we’ve awarded the Victorian design 5/5. This reflects the fact that there is a solution for most budgets, with lots of choice regarding size and materials.
Overall, Victorian conservatories are very cost effective. This is mostly due to their popularity, which means that many different options are available. When calculating conservatory prices, there are several factors that need to be taken into account. Firstly, the materials. Many are upvc conservatories or made from aluminium or wood, whilst the roofs are constructed from polycarbonate, tile, or glass.
The cheapest option is a combination of uPVC and polycarbonate, whilst the most expensive is aluminium with treated glass. Four uPVC or timber framed windows will cost between £1200 and £1700, and aluminium will cost between £2500 and £2900. There are benefits and drawbacks to each option. Wood is more energy efficient, and may therefore save you money in the longer term. However, aluminium is very straightforward to maintain, so does not require expensive investment over the years. Polycarbonate roofs are falling out of popularity due to their thermal inefficiency. Some councils may not approve the construction of a polycarbonate-roofed conservatory, so be sure to check with the planning portal.
Conservatory cost per square foot
Secondly, the size needs to be considered in the cost of conservatory. Whilst there are some one-size-fits-all options available, most conservatories need to be sculpted to the specific requirements of the house and land. This means that many costs are calculated by the conservatory cost per m2. There are four calculations that need to be taken into account: the cost of the base, which averages £94 per m2; the cavity brickwork, which normally averages £125 per m2; the build-up surcharge, which is around £15 per m2; and the single skin brick work, which comes to about £90 per m2. The conservatory price per m2 is the most significant variable when it comes to calculating the average cost, and this is great because it is a straightforward calculation that will leave you fully informed of the prices.
Fully fitted conservatory prices
A fully fitted conservatory is far more expensive then a self build, but you do have the added benefits of knowing that you have enlisted an experienced installer. This will no doubt guarantee a high quality build with excellent workmanship. This is what you want when you are investing so heavily into your home in order to create additional living space.
“HOW DOES IT COMPARE?”
The main difference between a Victorian and an Edwardian conservatory is the shape. Both have lantern roofs, but Edwardian conservatories are rectangular. The boxy Edwardian design is strong and sturdy, but many prefer the curvier Victorian shape because it maximises light and opens up the view.
In terms of cost, there is little difference, so the choice between Victorian and Edwardian designs is down to personal aesthetic and the unique demands of your property.
Lean to conservatory
The lean to conservatory became popular during the 1960s. A cheaper alternative to more elaborate designs such as the Victorian conservatory, the aim of the lean-to is to maximise light whilst minimising cost. Boasting high volumes of usable space, with plenty of straight walls against which to put shelving or furniture, the lean-to is a no-nonsense conservatory solution, and one that has earned it a legion of fans for creating extra living space.
However, in terms of elegance and style, lean-to conservatories pale in comparison to their Victorian and Edwardian counterparts, making this a less popular choice simply because the lean-to does not always look or feel as impressive.
Should I Buy Victorian Conservatory
For most homeowners, the resounding answer to the question of whether or not to invest in a Victorian conservatory is ‘yes!’ It is by far the most popular design out of a wide range to choose from, and this popularity means that this conservatory type is a competitive option. Research that collated feedback from many conservatory owners found that many people thought that their conservatory boosted morale, increased their space, added value to their home, and generally enhanced their well-being.
However, before you take the plunge, research for this article has unearthed a few important points that can help to make the ultimate decision.
1. With changes to building regulations and energy efficiency, it is worth researching your materials carefully before completing a conservatory roof. Opting for the cheapest option might save you money now, but may cause you problems later.
2. Think carefully about how you are going to use the space. Are you looking for an office? The curved aspect may not be ideal for shelving, whereas an Edwardian shape might work. Are you hoping for a sun-palace? The Victorian style is probably the one for you.
3. Be aware that new roofing options are available. We’re all used to conservatories having glass roofs and uPVC joinings. However, that has all changed with the introduction of updated legislation and industry innovation. Newly available tiled roofs may reduce light, but they can vastly increase thermal efficiency and sound-proofing, which is ideal for an office space. Wooden beams may have high aesthetic value, but they require effort to maintain.
Take some time to check your individual needs, and remember that accompanying that much beloved and distinctive Victorian shape are many different options.