Timber conservatories are much sought after; and although they tend to be more expensive than uPVC conservatories, they are still a popular choice amongst buyers.
A wooden conservatory is often much more sympathetic to the overall aesthetics of a property, and elaborately detailed traditional style hardwood conservatories can add a touch of style and luxury to a home.
An advantage of the timber conservatory is that wood is a sustainable material.
In these energy efficient times, it is reassuring to know that new trees can be planted to replace those which were cut down and used to build your conservatory.
If the cycle is complete then the wood as a material is effectively carbon neutral, as the new trees absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide as the old trees would have. It is worth checking with suppliers that the wood you use is from sustainable resources.
Design and style
The most elegant of conservatories include the traditional Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian styles. These styles lend themselves to timber conservatories as they are regal and ornate in their design.
Victorian style conservatories have a pitched roof and features such as faceted fronts and bay windows. The Georgian and Edwardian styles are more geometrically shaped, with pitched roofs and flat fronts; they have the same level of ornate detail as Victorian conservatories but have more floor space due to their shape.
A hardwood conservatory can also be constructed in any design from the humble lean-to conservatory, through to contemporary gable fronted conservatories. And if you require an irregular shaped conservatory, or it will cover a particularly large area, you could also design your own bespoke conservatory.
Although most conservatories are not covered by planning permission, it is required for buildings, which are on designated land; this includes houses in conservation areas and land earmarked as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The general rule is that the appearance of a dwelling should not be altered so as to change the look of the property and uPVC conservatories are not permitted. In most cases a conservatory would have to be constructed from hardwood to receive planning permission in one of these areas.
The most popular choice for conservatories in the UK is English oak, although there are many other types of wood, which can be used for the framework of a conservatory. Cedar, cherry, pine and mahogany can also be used for conservatories, while lesser known woods such as idigbo have also been used.
Generally the best hardwoods are considered to be ‘close grained’, and it is worth taking the time to speak with your supplier about the type of woods they use and the closeness of the grain.
It is also important that the wood used is well seasoned and prepared for use in construction. Your supplier should be in tight control of the quality of their wood, as poor quality could lead to warping and cracking at a later date.
Modern conservatories are usually double glazed, and there are a variety of options that can be used with hardwood conservatories. It is advisable to fit a conservatory with toughened glass to protect against impact, particularly if young children live in the property.
Laminated glass is also available for this purpose, which has a sheet of plastic in-between the two panes of glass to make it shatter-proof. Although a conservatory may not fall under building regulations, the windows must still meet the regulations for glazing, and must achieve a certain value for heat loss.
Wooden conservatories are not the cheapest option, and when it comes to choosing a timber conservatory, the cost will be an important factor. An installer could charge anything from £1000 – £1,500 per square metre for a top of the range hardwood conservatory.
The price could increase if the design is particularly complex or the conservatory uses a variety of different styles. For a more mid range conservatory, you could expect to pay around £750 per square metre as a minimum.
Hardwood Conservatory Maintenance
An oak conservatory can be left to mature and weather of its own accord, while other wood types may require staining and maintenance. Oak develops a natural silvery hue as it weathers, which can look very pleasing as time passes by, this is one of the reasons oak is such a popular choice.
Other hardwoods are often stained in deep mahogany colours or light oak colours, but can also be painted with specialist paints in brown, green and cream colours. As time goes by, the hardwood will need to be re-stained to keep it weather-proof and protected.
This may need to be done on a three or five year basis depending on the type of wood and the local conditions.
Adding a conservatory to your property will add value to the house, and will give you extra living space. If you are planning to install a conservatory, one of the key decisions is what type of material to use.
Not only is it important in terms of strength and structure, but also in terms of the style and look of the conservatory, and how well it blends with the rest of the property.
There are many reasons to opt for a wooden conservatory; they tend to suit older properties and may be in-keeping with the style of your home. You may live on designated land and have no other option but to use hardwood frames, or you may just have a personal preference for wood over plastic.
Whatever your reason for choosing timber, it is important to weigh up all the factors when settling on a final design. Think about what type of wood finish you like; do you like the appearance of oak?
Or would you prefer a darker mahogany shade? Think about the style of the current door and window frames on your property; will the hardwood you are going to use match them and enhance the look of the house?
Try to build up a good picture of the type of conservatory you are going to install, the size and shape of it, and how it will look in different finishes of wood. This should help you to come to a final decision on the type of timber to use for you conservatory.