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Thomas Sanderson

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Conservatories Today, Traditional designs with modern technology.

Conservatories and sunrooms have come a long way in the last ten years. Modern manufacturing methods ensure that we now have more choice and more reliable alternatives.

Your conservatory need not be a cold damp space when it's winter or an unbearably hot HOT HOUSE in the summer. With modern additions such as Pilkington "K" glass and "Anti Sun" glass you truly can have an all year round room.

However, far too often Conservatories and Sunrooms are sold as though they are the same as brick-built extensions in terms of insulation and use. I am speaking personally when I say this - but I'm afraid this is just not the case. Here in the UK (and most places in the world) we have BUILDING REGULATIONS which apply to the building of extensions etc. These regulations do not at present usually apply to conservatories (the notable exceptions to this are conservatories covering more than 30 square metres and any situation where you have to knock through from your main living space with no partitioning doors in between). Building Regulations, amongst other things, stipulate various minimum standards for insulation which frankly your "typical" conservatory with standard double glazing and 16 mm polycarbonate will not comply with.

To have anything close to the insulation and therefore the all year round usability of a brick built extension, you will need to consider some of the extras/enhancements below.

Pilkington K Glass
Of all the "extras" I could recommend, Pilkington "K" glass would be No1.

Pilkington "K" Glass: This glass varies from normal Pilkington clear glass in that one side of the glass has a special metal coating, technically known as a low emissitivity, or Low E. coating. This microscopic metal coating (which is almost indistinguishable from normal clear glass) allows through short-wave radiation, like sunlight, but reflects long-wave radiation, such as heat from fires and radiators, back into your conservatory making it easier to keep warm. As the Low E. coating on the glass actually makes the surface warmer to the touch, condensation is also reduced. We especially recommend this option if you decide to have a double-glazed roof.

Argon filled Units: If you are looking for the ultimate in glass insulated units you should seriously consider adding "gas" or Argon filled units to your specification. Argon combined with Pilkington "K" or Low E glass is just about as good as it gets in terms of insulation. We are now talking as good as or better than most brick built extensions in terms of insulation. Not particularly expensive in my experience (only 10 -15 per sealed unit in the UK) and well worth the extra expense. Please note, I only really recommend Argon filled units when combined with "K" or Low E glass. On its own the benefits are only marginal.

25 mm Polycarbonate: Most standard conservatories come with 16mm polycarbonate (a few only come with 10 mm polycarbonate). For a little extra you can upgrade to the better insulating option of 25 mm polycarbonate. With it's six skins and reinforcing webbing, it provides perhaps the best insulating roof option for conservatories today. For the technically minded, it has an approximate "U" value of 1.6 as opposed to 2.3 for 16 mm polycarbonate. It is available in clear, bronze tint and opal options.

Example of glass roofGlass Roofs: An essential for those of us who like to see the stars at night! A fair amount more expensive and much heavier than polycarbonate. You will also almost certainly need some form of shading. That said, it is no doubt one of the best options - very classy and inspiring. I especially recommend the Pilkington "K" option with this. There is also the option of "anti-sun" glass for that "tinted" effect.

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