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  • How to Build a Conservatory: Complete Step-by-step Guide
Last updated: 16 November 2023

How to Build a Conservatory: Complete Step-by-step Guide

If you have always dreamed of having a conservatory in your home, now is the time to make that dream a reality. A conservatory can add extra living space and value to your home. In this guide, we will walk you through every step of the process so that you can build your own conservatory with ease. We will cover everything from choosing the right location for your conservatory to installing the roof and windows. So, whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a first-time builder, this guide has everything you need!

Conservatory construction.

Can I build a conservatory myself?

The short answer is, yes! Building a conservatory is a relatively straightforward process that most people can do with the help of a few friends or family members. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start building.

First, you will need to map out where you want your new conservatory to go and figure out if you need to obtain the necessary permits from your local council due to building regulations. This will typically be the case if:

    • More than 50% of the land, including any other buildings, around the ‘original house’ is to be covered.
    • The extension is forward of the front or side of the property and faces onto a road.

If you’re unsure about whether this will affect you or not, it can be worth getting in touch with the local council to check, and make sure to get any confirmation of this writing.

Once you have the green light, it is time to start gathering all the materials and tools.

Tools needed to build a conservatory:

-Shovel

-Trowel

-Pitchfork

-Wheelbarrow

-Hammer

-Nails

-Saw

Materials needed to build a conservatory:

The best option here for DIY conservatories will be to opt for a conservatory kit. These DIY conservatory kits will comprise for every material you need to build the conservatory, such as:

-Bricks

-Concrete

-Sand

-Cement

-Glass panes

-Wooden beams

-PVCu or other roofing materials

-Conservatory frame

Conservatory kits can be bought from most large DIY stores, as well as online. It’s also worth noting that most DIY conservatory kits will be for dwarf wall conservatories. A dwarf wall conservatory is where the walls are built up to a certain height, attached to the house wall and then the walls and roof are added on top. This type of conservatory is typically easier to build than an ‘full height’ conservatory, where the walls and roof are built from scratch and therefore why they are the main options available for those building their own from home.

Once you have all of your materials and tools gathered, you can start building! But before you start mixing any cement together, let’s take a look at the building stages.

What are the stages of building a conservatory:

1. Foundations

The first stage is to dig the foundations for your conservatory. This is probably the most challenging part of the entire process, but don’t worry, we will talk you through it in more detail in the section below this. The depth of the foundation will depend on the size and type of conservatory you are building, and whether you have a foundation in placed from a previously dismantled conservatory. Once you have dug the foundations, they need to be filled with concrete and left to set overnight.

2. Base

Now that the foundations are complete, it’s time to start working on the base. The base is what all of the walls and roof will be attached to, so it needs to be strong and level. Once again, the size of your conservatory will dictate the dimensions of the base.

3. Walls

After the base is complete, you can start to build the walls of your conservatory. The most common type of wall for a conservatory is a brick wall, but you could also opt for wood or stone.

4. Roof

Once the walls are up, it’s time to install the roof. There are two main types of roof for a conservatory: a lean-to and pitched roof. We’ll look at each of these in more detail in the roof section.

5. Windows and doors

The final stage is to install the windows and doors. You will need to measure the openings for both of these carefully so that they fit perfectly.

How to build a conservatory foundation and base:

The first step is to lay the foundation, this is a fundamental step when adding any extension to your home, whether it’s a conservatory or building your own porch. This can be done by digging a hole around the perimeter of where your conservatory will go. The hole should be below ground level around knee deep and be levelled throughout. To make sure everything is levelled you can use a string line or a laser level.

Once you have dug the hole, you should move onto adding a damp proof course. This can be done by adding the damp proof membrane to the hole and then covering it with around 50mm of hardcore. The hardcore should be levelled off so that it is nice and flat.

After this has been done you can start to mix concrete and water in a wheelbarrow and pour it into the hole. Use a trowel to level off the concrete.

Next, it is time to work on the conservatory base. For this you will need to start laying the bricks. Begin at one corner and work your way around the perimeter of the foundation, using mortar to secure each brick in place. Make sure that you use a spirit level to make sure each course of bricks is level.

Repeat this process until you have reached the desired height of your foundation. We recommend that the foundation should be around 200mm high.

How to build a conservatory wall:

The most common type of wall for a conservatory is a brick wall, but you could also opt for wood or stone.

If you are building a brick wall, the first step is to lay the bricks. Begin at one corner and work your way around the perimeter of the foundation, using mortar to secure each brick in place. Make sure that you use a spirit level to make sure each course of bricks is level.

Repeat this process until you have reached the desired height of your walls. We recommend that the walls should be around 600mm high although this can vary depending on whether you have opted for a dwarf wall or not, and if you haven’t you will likely need to build your wall higher.

Once you have reached the desired height, it is time to install the roof.

How to build a conservatory roof:

Before we get started on how to install the conservatory roof, it’s worth looking at the different types you can choose from:

    • Tiled roof – this is the most common type of roof and offers the best insulation. They are also the most expensive option.
    • Glass roof – this is a cheaper option but doesn’t offer as much insulation.
    • Polycarbonate roof – this is the cheapest option but doesn’t offer much in terms of looks or insulation.

Once you have decided on the type of roof, it’s time to start installing it.

The first step is to build the conservatory frames. This can be done by attaching the roof rafters to the wall plates in between the roof ridge. Make sure that you use brackets to secure the rafters in place and that they are level.

Now it’s time to install the roofing sheets. Start at one end of the conservatory and work your way down, making sure that each sheet is overlapped so that it is watertight.

Finally, it’s time to install the guttering and drainage pipes. This can be done by attaching the gutters to the eaves of the conservatory. Make sure that they are level and that they are draining away from any doors or windows.

How to build a conservatory window and door:

The final stage is to install the windows and doors.

How to add windows and doors to a conservatory:

The first thing you will need to do is measure the window or door opening and then cut the frame to size. If you are planning on an opening to your garden it’s worth choosing your conservatory doors, such as French doors, ahead of time so that you know how much space you will need.

Once this has been done, it’s time to install the window or door. Start by fixing the sill in place and then add the frame. Make sure that it is level and plumb before attaching it to the wall.

Finally, add the window glass panel and secure it in place with glazing bars. Conservatory glazing is an important step that should not be missed out because it ensures that your conservatory is weatherproof.

Now that you have added the windows and doors, your conservatory is complete! Below we’ve summarised this process again step by step as well as covered some other important questions.

Conservatory installation step by step:

– Choose the location of your conservatory

– Excavate the area and lay the foundation and base

– Build the walls

– Install the roof

– Add windows and doors

Other important considerations:

What type of glass should I use for my conservatory?

This will depend on your budget as well as your desired level of insulation. The most common types are single, double or triple glazed.

What type of flooring should I use in my conservatory?

There are a variety of options available when it comes to choosing conservatory flooring, including tiles, laminate, wood or carpet. It’s important to choose a flooring that is suitable for the conditions as it can get quite cold in winter and hot in summer.

If you live somewhere particularly cold, like most of the UK, you could even opt for underfloor heating. While it may cost a bit more upfront, it can help you save money in the long term due to being more energy efficient way of heating your conservatory.

How much does it cost to build your own conservatory?

As a general guide, you can expect to pay anywhere from £7,500-£11,000 for a small uPVC conservatory and upwards of £20,000 for a large one.

The conservatory cost will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your conservatory, the type of materials you use and whether you hire a professional to help with the installation.

Do you need planning permission to build a conservatory?

As mentioned in the introduction, but worth mentioning again before you start building, is that you will typically need planning permission if:

    • More than 50% of the land, including any other buildings, around the ‘original house’ is to be covered.
    • The extension is forward of the front or side of the property and faces onto a road.

How long to conservatories last for?

A well-built and maintained conservatory should last for at least 20-25 years. This is even the case for DIY conservatories. As with most things in life, the key to making your conservatory last longer is to carry out regular maintenance. This means checking for any signs of damage and repairing it as soon as possible, as well as cleaning your conservatory roof frequently from the out and inside.

It’s also important to make sure that the conservatory is properly ventilated to prevent condensation build-up. One of the best ways to do this is to open the windows and doors on a sunny day to let the air circulate, or install window trickle vents when installing the windows.

You should also consider adding a conservatory blind or shutter to help keep the temperature consistent and stop the sun from fading your furniture.

Final thoughts:

If you’re thinking about adding a conservatory to your home, we hope that this guide has been helpful. Building your own conservatory can be a great way to add value to your property as well as create extra living space.

We hope that you found this guide on how to build a conservatory useful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading!

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