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Conservatories and Orangeries - White PVCu Edwardian conservatory
Conservatories and Orangeries

Conservatories and Orangeries: a brief history

Back in Victorian times Conservatories and Orangeries tended to be glass structures built onto large country houses designed so that wealthy travellers could admire and protect tender plants which they had brought back from their overseas trips.

The exotic nature of plants such as orchids was reflected in the increasingly ornate nature of the glass structures – and this resulted in competition for the most diversified plant collection and also the most elaborate conservatories and orangeries. As citrus trees such as orange and lemon were included in the vast collections, the less than humble conservatories became more commonly known as Orangeries.

Over the years, building techniques improved and glass became more affordable through mass production, consequently conservatories and orangeries became more popular. Their use gradually changed from glorified greenhouses to providing genuine habitable accommodation with views of the surrounding gardens, whilst offering protection from the British weather.

Conservatories and Orangeries became more practical and functional living spaces and are now increasingly popular additions to a wide range of housing styles across the United Kingdom.

Conservatories and Orangeries
Conservatories and Orangeries

Conservatories and Orangeries: Advancements in the design and structure

The introduction of aluminium and uPVC frames used to manufacture the window, door and roof frames and the invention of float glass in the 1960’s – which led to the production of double glazed sealed units – resulted in the tremendous growth of the conservatories and orangeries markets.

Al fresco dining and the outdoor lifestyle which the British had become used to during Mediterranean holidays could now be continued when they returned home.

Advancements have been made in the design and structure of conservatories and orangeries from simply being a number of windows screwed together with an (often) leaking roof perched on top, to the excellent conservatories and orangeries available today which offer genuine ‘all year round’ usability.

Further advances in energy efficient glazing, together with anti-sun and self-cleaning insulating glass sealed units, combine to make conservatories and orangeries very different products to the single-glazed ones with thin polycarbonate roofing sheets of yesteryear.

The re-introduction of Orangeries, with ornate pilasters, a deep fascia and an insulated, water-tight flat roof section around a double hipped roof, offers stylish extensions to grand houses.

But even the smallest, least sophisticated of conservatories and orangeries can be properly constructed, with secure, durable window, door and roof systems which together, provide a second lounge, a dining room, a play room or an office.

Modern conservatories and orangeries are a world away from the original structures which were little more than greenhouses and summer rooms.

Conservatories and Orangeries
Conservatories and Orangeries
Combination Conservatories - Three Facet Victorian P Shape Conservatory with Glass Roof, Internal View

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uPVC, Hardwood, Softwood or Aluminium?

Most homeowners choose uPVC for conservatories whilst hardwood tends to be the product of choice for orangeries.

Most uPVC roofs on conservatories and Orangeries however, do rely extensively on aluminium for reinforcement in the roof spars and eaves beams, both of which are essentially aluminium components which have been clad in uPVC to match the window and door frames.

If you are considering quotations hardwood conservatories and orangeries, you will find that good quality hardwood is generally the most expensive product used to manufacture the frames and roof for conservatories and orangeries. However, it is also considered to be the best in terms of appearance.

The availability of poor quality hardwood has not helped in recent years however, and although many traditionalists would never contemplate anything other than hardwood, uPVC has many advantages, not least cost and ease of maintenance.

If you are considering aluminium conservatories and orangeries, they can be quite expensive partly because they should be installed within hardwood sub-frames. Aluminium conservatories and orangeries generally lend themselves more to commercial installations such as restaurant developments on public houses than for use on residential properties.

Conservatories and orangeries with softwood frames are inevitably the least expensive but will have a much shorter life span than other materials, consequently softwood should not be considered a serious option.  Softwood conservatories and orangeries require regular painting and maintenance, and they are generally not as energy efficient as uPVC conservatories and orangeries can be.

White PVCu, Woodgrain PVCu or a Solid Colour uPVC

uPVC conservatories and orangeries don’t just have to be white – there is a range of different woodgrain finishes available including mahogany, rosewood, light oak and other timber effects.

In recent years coloured frames such as red, blue, green, cream and black have been made available for conservatories and orangeries.

Add to that the ever expanding range of decorative glass features such as Georgian bar, Astragal bar, coloured lead patterns and bevelled glass there are millions of combinations of uPVC frames, roof and glass to suit your home.

uPVC is an excellent product for conservatories as it: –

• Does not biologically decompose or rot and can be recycled

• Is resistant to weathering

• Is low maintenance

• Is tough on impact

• Retains its shape in normal climate conditions

• Can be reshaped and formed at high temperatures so can be extruded to form window and door profile and even bent to form arched windows

Just A Quote Free Design and Quotation service

Just a Quote offers a free design and quotation service for conservatories and orangeries.

Complete the form on this page and we will introduce you to up to three local companies who design, manufacture and install conservatories and orangeries.

We aim to ensure that you receive the best advice, best products, best designs and most of all the best deal.

Edwardian Conservatories - Edwardian Conservatory CAD Image
Edwardian Conservatories - Edwardian Conservatory - Finished Conservatory
Sun Lounge Conservatories - CAD Image
Conservatories and Orangeries, Sun Lounge Conservatories - Finished Conservatory