Choosing between a veranda or a conservatory is a big decision. Conservatories are very traditional ‘home extensions’, while verandas are more modern, stylish structures that serve quite a different purpose. Want to know the difference between a veranda and a conservatory, and which one you should choose? Keep reading for an overview of the pros and cons of a veranda vs a conservatory to help you decide!
What is a Conservatory?
A conservatory is a small building that’s usually attached to the side or rear of a property. By legal definition, they must be made from 50% glazed side walls (i.e., windows) and at least 75% of the roof has to be made from either glass or polycarbonate. You can usually get a conservatory built in an Edwardian, Victorian, Gable-End or Lean-To design.
Pros of Getting a Conservatory
Conservatories originally became popular with homeowners in the seventies as a way of creating extra living space. However, their designs haven’t changed much since then. Installing a traditional polycarbonate or glass-roof conservatory isn’t quite as desirable as it once was. But there are still some benefits to getting a conservatory.
1. They Provide Extra Indoor Living Space
One of the main reasons people install a conservatory is because they provide extra indoor living space. Most people use a conservatory as a reading area, kids’ playroom, or just an extra storage room.
However, a conservatory isn’t a home extension, so while they provide extra living space, it’s often unusable or uncomfortable most of the year.
Since they don’t have the insulation or glazing to regulate temperatures in the same way a home extension can, one of the biggest complaints of a conservatory is that they are always too hot in summer and too cold in winter.
2. They Can be Cheaper Than a Home Extension
Since they provide an extra room in a house, conservatories are often confused with home extensions.
They are actually a ‘permitted development’, which means they can’t be too big and they have to be separated from the house by an external wall or door.
However, they still serve a similar purpose. The difference is that an average UK home extension can cost around £15,000 to £40,000 to install (source) and a conservatory starts at around £9,000 (source), so they are considered a cheaper solution.
Cons of Getting a Conservatory
Despite the benefits of getting a conservatory, there are some cons to consider, especially when comparing these structures to a veranda.
1. They Can Obstruct Garden Views
Unlike a glass or polycarbonate veranda, a conservatory can actually obstruct the view of a garden as opposed to favouring it.
Since countless windows line the walls, the frames can get in the way of providing a clear view of the garden. This means they aren’t the best spaces to sit and enjoy the view of the trees, birds, or your kids playing outside.
It’s also not considered an outdoor seating area like a veranda is, as you can’t open them up to get a clearer view of the garden. Most people will therefore still have a patio area as well as a conservatory.
2. It’s Difficult to Regulate Temperatures
One of the biggest complaints about conservatories is that they are too hot in summer and too cold in winter.
As mentioned earlier, traditional conservatories aren’t usually insulated or fitted with double-glazed windows. They also have to be on their own separate electrical heating system.
This makes them terrible at regulating temperatures, as it’s difficult (and expensive!) to keep them warm in cold weather and cool in summer.
3. They Can Look Dated & Unappealing
A conservatory is a very traditional way of extending a property. Ever since they were approved for use as a ‘home extension’ in the seventies, the designs have barely changed.
You can only choose between a few shapes and sizes (like Edwardian, Victorian, Gable-End and Lean-To) with polycarbonate or glass roofs.
Some of these shapes and roof types can look dated, especially if the roof is made from polycarbonate. The material is often dull and gets dirty easily, which can actually block the natural light in your home rather than enhance it (like a glass veranda can).
What is a Veranda?
A veranda is a modern indoor-outdoor structure that can either be fitted to the rear wall of a property or freestanding in the garden. They can be transparent, with glass walls from floor to ceiling, or opaque, with bronze or opal polycarbonate used for the structure.
Most verandas have sliding doors, so you can open them fully to enjoy the fresh air or close them to feel protected from all weathers.
Having one of these structures is often considered a stylish and luxurious way to extend your living space. They provide unobstructed views of the garden and a versatile outdoor seating area.
Because of their universal design, they are usually used to entertain guests or as an extra lounge room.
Pros of Getting a Veranda
As a more modern addition to the garden, a veranda offers many benefits to homeowners.
1. They are Flexible & Customisable
Unlike a conservatory, a veranda is fully customisable. You’ll have flexibility in terms of the shape, colour, style, and finishing.
You’ll also have flexibility in how you use the space. You can open the doors fully to enjoy the fresh air, partially close them to gain shelter from the sun, or use the space as an indoor seating area (much like a conservatory operates).
By adding plants, comfortable furniture, LED lights and a heater, it’ll feel just as cosy as a conservatory when closed, and like a fashionable, functional outdoor seating area when opened.
2. They Can Add Value to Your Property
Any outdoor entertainment area that’s dressed as an additional room can add up to 10% to a UK property’s value (source).
Because a veranda is lockable and secure against thieves when closed, it’s classed as an additional room. You (or potential buyers) can use the extra space for anything, like as an extension to your living room, a new dining area, a playroom for kids, or even a home office.
Plus, since the sliding doors can open fully, it doubles up as an outdoor seating area, which can make your property even more desirable.
3. They Provide Unobstructed Garden Views
Unlike a conservatory, which is full of windows and frames, a veranda with clear walls from floor to ceiling provides unobstructed views of the garden.
You can enjoy this when you’re sitting in the veranda or when you’re in your living area at the back of your house. It can make you feel closer to nature in a space that’s full of natural light and greenery.
You’ll also be able to enjoy activities like bird watching or sitting under the stars – without ever needing to step foot outside.
Cons of Getting a Veranda
There aren’t many downsides to getting a veranda, but there are some things to consider before you install a glass or polycarbonate room in your garden.
1. It Can Get Cold
Glass or polycarbonate verandas are best enjoyed in hot weather, as they can get cold in the winter or during the evening.
Since there isn’t the same insulation in a veranda as there is in a home extension, it may not be as comfortable as sitting indoors will be. This isn’t too dissimilar to a conservatory, as they also suffer from poor insulation in cold weather.
However, the difference with a veranda is that you can install heaters (wall-mounted or freestanding) to make the space more comfortable in the evening or during cooler weather.
2. It Can Get Hot
Glass rooms at Fleming Verandas are fitted with 8.8mm laminated glass that conforms to all industry guidelines and offers premium quality, strength and security. Our polycarbonate verandas are just as durable, with a 16mm triple wall profile.
Just like a conservatory, a glass or polycarbonate veranda can get warm when the sides and roof are closed. However, unlike a conservatory, it’s much easier to cool down a veranda.
By opening the sides or retractable roof, you can quickly air out the space and make it more comfortable on warmer days.
Summary: Veranda vs Conservatory?
Getting a conservatory installed isn’t as popular as it used to be. These ‘home extensions’ were highly fashionable during the seventies as a cheaper way to extend your living space. But they were poorly designed.
Over time, the designs haven’t changed. So, while you’ll often see a property with a conservatory, installing a new, traditional design isn’t quite as common.
On the flip side, verandas provide a very different, more modern way of extending your living space. Their bespoke, fully customisable designs make them ideal for almost any property to create a stylish indoor-outdoor seating area.
Even though they can get warm or cold just like a conservatory can, you’ll have much more flexibility in how you can heat or cool the space to allow you to fully enjoy it.
Ultimately, choosing between a veranda or conservatory depends on what you’d like to get from your extended living space.
If you’re not sure which one is right for your home, Fleming Verandas provide expertly-installed glass rooms and verandas across the UK. Our friendly team are happy to help you decide if a veranda, awning or glass room is right for you.