What will the new addition be used for?
What purpose will your conservatory or extension serve?
A conservatory is typically used for lounge areas, sunrooms and dining areas but they aren’t particularly suitable as downstairs bedrooms, bathrooms, storage area, kitchens, dining areas, workspace or utility rooms. If you are planning to add one of these spaces, an extension may be the more suitable choice.
Conservatories can bring the outside into your home as an ‘indoor-outdoor space’, as you can feel as if you are outdoors without directly experiencing the often unpredictable British weather, however, it is possible to replicate this environment with a bricks & mortar ground floor extension using well placed rooflights, doors, and windows, which can all be a great source of natural light, while framing views out to the garden in a more curated fashion.
Which is more versatile?
Which of a conservatory or extension has a better chance of suiting your property?
Conservatories can be fitted with either solid or tiled roofs to blend with the original structure, and extensions can seamlessly merge with the original structure and connect to your home. Both can therefore be viewed as versatile.
However, extensions can be directly connected to your home’s electricity and plumbing and can therefore satisfy many needs, edging them ahead of conservatories in terms of versatility.
Additionally, conservatories can also only be added at ground level on either the back or side of your property, but extensions can be added to most areas of your property, extending outwards or upwards if you choose. Extensions give the opportunity to go as far as adding extra storeys to your property, which you can’t do with conservatories.
Which adds more value?
An extension will typically add more value to your home than a conservatory, making them better long-term investments.
The number of bedrooms and bathrooms within your property are considered as super valuable to estate agents, and extensions can provide both. Adding a bedroom to your home can add upwards of 10% to the property value, and a bathroom can add around 7%. A conservatory can add around 5% of value onto your property.
If you are considering selling your property soon after your extension is built or conservatory is installed, it is important that the financial outlay required for the work is less than the value your property will gain post-completion.
Which is more expensive?
What costs more, an extension or conservatory? Conservatories are typically far cheaper than extensions.
You can get a small conservatory in the UK for as cheap as around £5000. However, conservatories can be super expensive. For the most high-end types of conservatories, you could be looking at spending up to £50,000 or higher.
For extensions, you can expect the cost per square meter to be anywhere between £1250 and £2500 depending on where you live. A large extension will therefore almost certainly set you back tens of thousands.
It is not uncommon for unforeseen circumstances during the process of building an extension to lead to extra costs that could take you out of your budget. To avoid this, hiring contractors who provide a fixed price is key.
Which causes more disruption?
Both during the building process and post-completion, disruption can be expected with both conservatories and extensions.
The process of having an extension built can take months to fully complete. It is very possible that you will end up living on a building site if you choose to have one built. Windows, walls, insulation systems and doors will all most likely have to be removed and installed which will most likely cause a good amount of disruption.
On the other hand, conservatories don’t create as much disruption as an extension, as they are far less complex to build and are much easier to install. Post-completion of your conservatory, depending on the type of roof you have fitted, you may experience noise from heavy rain, hailstones or snowfall. Researching and consulting with experts is key if you are to avoid this.
Which is easier to regulate the temperature in?
Conservatories are typically more difficult to heat than an extension. They need to have a good system of heating and ventilation for temperature control. In the colder months, heating can become expensive for conservatories, but the installation of the latest glazing technology can hold heat in.
They can also become very hot in the summer when the sun is beating down, emphasising the need for good ventilation. If the adequate infrastructure is in place, then conservatories are great all year round.
Plumbing can be extended into an extension, making heat regulation far easier than with a conservatory.
Do I need planning permission for an extension or conservatory?
Conservatories normally fall within permitted development rights so you most likely won’t require planning permission, but you will need building regulations approval.
Permitted development rules for extensions were relaxed in 2021, allowing extensions of up to eight metres if your house is detached, and six metres if it isn’t. If you don’t meet these requirements, you will require planning permission. As with conservatories, you will need building regulations approval.