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Victorian Conservatory: Benefits, Costs & Ideas

For anyone considering a conservatory, it’s important to know that there isn’t just one type of conservatory. In this article, we’re going to be looking at one of the most popular styles of conservatory: the Victorian conservatory.

What is a Victorian conservatory?

As you might expect, a Victorian conservatory is so named because the Victorian era was when conservatories first came about.

In Victorian times, people developed a love of indoor plants – and exotic ones in particular. It was hard to grow these during the winter months and so people looked for ways to keep them alive when it was cold outside.

There has been a number of historic styles used for conservatories and garden rooms, but the ones based around Victorian architecture continue show a tremendous amount of popularity today due to the classical appearance, ornate detailing, while being made of modern materials.

Victorian style conservatory

The popularity of Victorian conservatories

Victorian conservatories are the most popular type of conservatory and they suit any house.

The Victorian conservatory is reminiscent of Gothic-style architecture and features finials, intricate cresting, and a steeply pitched roof. They complement any style of home, from the period property right up to the new build. What’s more, you can adapt a Victorian conservatory to any space available, including small patios and large gardens. For these reasons, Victorian conservatories are a very popular style.

Victorian conservatories are frequently seen attached to all styles of houses and bungalows. They’re a great way to add light, comfort, and value to a home, while also adding an extra room. Many people choose a Victorian conservatory as it provides an airy and tranquil space to enjoy the outdoors no matter what is happening outside with the weather.

The features of Victorian conservatories

Typically, Victorian conservatories have steeply pitched rooves, bay window fronts, finials, and cresting.

There is no “one size fits all” Victorian conservatory, and there are plenty of customizations available.

Victorian conservatories can be built according to your preferences and dimensions. There is also a choice between doors, roofs, frames, and glazing.

The majority of Victorian conservatories will have a small wall called a “dwarf wall” that runs around the base of the conservatory. However, some will be full glass.

Types of Victorian conservatories

As this type of conservatory is customizable, there are lots of different styles available.

Typically, a Victorian conservatory will have three or five facets (sides) and a glass roof. Here are some examples that are available:

  • 3-facet Victorian
  • 3-facet Victorian P-shape
  • 3-facet Victorian T-shape
  • Hipped back 3-facet Victorian
  • Hipped back 3-facet P-shape
  • Hipped back 3-facet T-shape
  • 5-facet options

The benefits of a Victorian conservatory

Not only is a Victorian conservatory a way to add space to a property, but it also provides lots of other benefits for homeowners.

With a Victorian conservatory, the garden and home are brought together through panoramic views of the outdoors.

If you want that extra space but don’t have the funds for an extension, a conservatory is a great addition. You will add value to your home, gain living space and don’t have to worry about complex planning permission regulations.

Inside conservatory

Victorian conservatory style door choices

It’s important to choose the right door for your conservatory space. The door you choose will impact how the space is used, which is important for smaller Victorian conservatories.

If the space is smaller, it will probably be best to choose a door that opens outward so that you don’t have a problem placing furniture in your room.

A popular door choice on a Victorian-style conservatory is French doors. These open outwards and can go on any side.

If your conservatory is larger, bi-fold or sliding doors might be an option. P-shape conservatories often have this type of door on their longest section.

Victorian conservatory roof options

The roof of a Victorian conservatory slopes steeply and is a huge part of its look and design.

Poly-carbonate roof

Some Victorian conservatories have roofs made of polycarbonate sheets. These are lightweight and low-cost. They are one of the easiest conservatory roofs to clean, but aren’t great at keeping the heat in or the noise out.

Glass roof

With a modern Victorian style conservatory, you could choose a roof that is fully glazed. A glass roof is great at insulating the conservatory space and are effective at managing the temperature. At the top of this range would be sealed units filled with an inert gas (argon). It’s also possible to get self-cleaning glass but, again, these would be at the top of the price range.

Solid roof

As people are tending to ditch the poly-carbonate roofing, you’ll find there are more and more Victorian conservatories with solid or tile roofing. With a tiles or solid roof, you will, of course, lose natural light. What’s more, the conservatory will appear more like an extension to your property rather than a sunroom – but this might be what you want from the space.

Victorian style conservatory – primary construction materials

Everyone knows that most of a conservatory is actually glass, but did you know that you can choose the frame materials?

There are three main types of construction materials used in a conservatory. These are UPVC, timber, and aluminium. Whether you’re thinking of creating a Victorian lean to style conservatory or with a different structure, these will be the main materials you’ll be able to choose from.

UPVC frames

UPVC frames are strong, long-lasting and light. The majority of conservatories are built with UPVC frames in the United Kingdom.

When people think of UPVC, they often think of white plastic frames. However, there are lots of different colours available.

Wood frames

For a more traditional and natural look, timber frames are a good choice. Usually, these are oak or another traditional hardwood. You could even choose something a little more unusual like idigbo, an African hardwood with a lighter colour like teak.

Aluminium frames

Finally, for a strong frame with a slim profile, you could choose aluminium frames. These have an excellent finish and are very light. They’re not a cheap option, however.

Don’t be mistaken – aluminium frames aren’t just a silvery colour! There are hundreds of different colour options of aluminium frames available so there really is lots of choice.

Modern Victorian conservatory

Do you need planning permission for a Victorian conservatory?

Most conservatories in the United Kingdom do not need planning permission. To know for sure, you need to check whether the conservatory fits the “permitted development” description.

For example, you don’t need planning permission if your conservatory takes up less than 50% of the land around the original property. You would need planning permission, though, if the conservatory is on the front of the property where the road is.

Are building regulations required?

Victorian conservatories don’t need to pass building regulations as long as they:

  • are less than 30 square metres
  • are not built above ground level
  • have windows or an external wall separating it from the house
  • have an independent heating system that can be turned off
  • have building regulation compliant electrics and glazing

Conservatory security

Whenever you’re adding to your home, it’s vital to have adequate security. There are ways of making a Victorian style conservatory secure.

Glass security

Firstly, modern Victorian conservatory styles should have internal beading on the glass. This prevents anyone from removing the glass from the outside. You should also ensure the glass roof is made from toughened glass to prevent it from being broken.

Door and window security

Secondly, the doors need to be secure. They should have a multi-point locking system and force-resistant hinges.

Finally, for maximum security, the windows (ideally double glazed) need to have force-resistant hinges and shoot-locking mechanisms. With this locking mechanism type, two bolts move into the window frame to secure it. Don’t forget – if you have an existing house alarm, you can add alarm sensors to your conservatory too.

Victorian conservatory styles and estimated costs

It’s difficult to put a price on bespoke conservatories and the price of your conservatory will completely depend on the size and materials used. A small Victorian conservatory will obviously cost a lot less than a larger one. However, as a rough estimate, for a Victorian conservatory design that is roughly 3500 mm x 3500 mm, you’re looking at £11,000 to £12,500 if you want a poly-carbonate roof. For a conservatory of the same size with a glass roof, you’re looking at an extra £1000.

The average cost of a conservatory with a wooden frame will be more expensive again.

Final thoughts on Victorian style conservatories

No matter the style of your property, if you’re considering extending your indoor space, this conservatory style will work for everyone. With the Victorian conservatory style, you have extra space and light added to your home without the need for planning permissions and building regulation inspections.

It’s hard to put a price on a bespoke conservatory, however, there are so many different options available in terms of frame materials, door style, and roof materials, that there is usually something available for everyone’s budget.

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