Is a conservatory a cost effective answer to much needed extra living space during the credit crunch?

The truth is it could well be, but depends entirely on either your property and financial circumstances, or both! Firstly, a bit of an obvious one but your existing property needs to have access to ground level and sufficient space into which a conservatory could be built to create high quality additional living space.

With the financial position for savers getting worse and worse, and the upkeep of your existing property something you are going to have to do anyway if you are not moving, it does make sense to invest in home improvements that will add value and saleability to your property. If you do need to create more space in which to live (i.e. due to an expanding family, or growing kids that need more room in which to play etc.), you may want to consider the benefits that adding a conservatory delivers.

Firstly, they look good, and add value to your home. Secondly, they bring in light into the adjacent living space, whether a dining room, living room, kitchen/diner etc. Thirdly, they are usually less expensive to construct than an extension, plus much quicker to build, so are less disruptive to family life. Fourthly they are much easier to get planning permission for and often only require a Certificate of Lawful Proposed Development from your local authority, one of which you will need for HIPS when you come to sell your property in the future. Lastly they offer great flexibility of use, plus somewhere for the kids to play safely in, whilst your relax in the adjacent living room or vice-versa.

UPVC Conservatories are less expensive than aluminium conservatories, and polycarbonate conservatory roofs less expensive than double glazed sealed units. But like anything in life one does tend to get what ones pays for, so the better quality materials and conservatory you buy, the longer it will last and the better quality of use it will offer. For example polycarbonate roofs are much noisier when it is raining than quieter glass conservatory roofs, plus double glazing offers much better insulation and energy efficiency. The other major benefit of investing in glazed roof is a clear view, whereas a polycarbonate route is like a darkened obscure glass which you can not really see through. I dealt with a client in the showroom over Christmas who had a polycarbonate roof and wanted to change it to a double glazed roof, wishing he had spelt the extra in the first place for these very reasons.

When planning and building a conservatory it is wise to research the subject thoroughly and look at all the options i.e. by visting neighbours or friends or a showroom which has a wide choice of products. Aluminium conservatory roof frames are much stronger than UPVC conservatory roof frames, so the larger conservatories are usually aluminium, as large roofs require the extra strength and support aluminium offers. As to whether conservatories are a cost effective answer to much needed extra living space, the answer depends on the priority you place on the quality of life you want where you live and how you want to tailor your existing property and finances to suit your life choices.


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