Should I replace my conservatory with an extension?

Should I replace my conservatory with an extension? It’s a question we’re hearing increasingly often as homeowners look to expand the functional space and value of their home. Although they date back centuries, conservatories saw a rise in domestic popularity after the second world war with innovation in construction and steel production making them more accessible for the average family. It’s estimated around 18% of British homes have one, but with several limitations and drawbacks we’re asking – is an extension better than a conservatory?

A huge consideration for many looking to add additional space to their home is cost. It is often assumed a conservatory is the cheaper option and although there are companies offering cheap conservatories, you’ll find many of these have basic construction and budget materials that won’t offer long term value.  The true cost of a purpose-built conservatory can be much higher, a T-shaped conservatory for example can cost upwards of £12,500. Even then you can only expect to add around 5% to the value of your home, whereas an extension can offer double that. It’s also important to note that many conservatory suppliers can only offer a life expectancy of between 10 and 25 years, not something that homeowners or prospective buyers need to worry about when you opt for an extension.

Although the initial cost is higher, extensions do offer a significantly bigger scope to improve your property. Conservatories are smaller, slimmer structures which helps avoid the need for planning permission (although you will require approval via permitted development), but you don’t get the same quality or versatile liveable space in your home. When working with a design team like Home Tales an extension can give you the opportunity to completely remodel your home. When extending your property, the design potential is far greater than what can be achieved with a conservatory. You may have the option to explore both a ground and first floor extension or to consider if your property will benefit from a rear or wraparound extension. You may want to use your extension to house a bigger kitchen or additional bathroom, both would be unsuitable for conservatories. Alongside the internal potential, the exterior of an extension can be constructed and clad in a variety of ways to suit your existing property – creating a more cohesive look both inside and outside of your home.

At this semi-detached family home in Croydon we replaced the conservatory with a 3m rear extension.  The conservatory was underused and outdated, primarily relegated to storage space. Our team were able to transform it into a spacious kitchen diner with features including large crittal style doors, a floor to ceiling window and a skylight above the dining area. Whilst we were able to create an open and modern kitchen with a family seating area, there was no compromise on natural light or views into the garden – the two features often seen as the biggest appeal of conservatories. For more information on this project and images of this stunning property, click here to visit our gallery.

Conservatories do offer a quicker construction time with less disruption to your home; however, they can be prone to fluctuating temperatures and require far more maintenance than an extension. With the primary material being glass, conservatories can be a time-consuming addition to your home that won’t offer year-round use. The natural light created by a conservatory can be a wonderful addition to your home, but glass panes often require cleaning and maintenance that you won’t find with an extension. It’s also worth mentioning that conservatories may not be the best option for homeowners in built up areas who risk their gardens being overlooked. A conservatory can’t offer the same level of privacy that a design team can achieve when creating a tailor-made extension to your home.

It can be tricky to control the temperature in a conservatory with the summer heat making the space impractically warm, whilst the lack of insulation making it costly and difficult to heat in the winter. With the UK facing high winds and storms lately it’s important to consider the noise that this weather creates in homes with conservatories. Rain and wind can be audibly disruptive particularly when a polycarbonate roof is used and damage from extreme weather is far more likely without the robust materials used to build extensions.

Extensions offer both structural integrity and design flexibility that you won’t find with a conservatory, they blend seamlessly into your home rather than being a visible add-on in the way conservatories are. If you want to learn more about home extensions or the benefits of replacing a conservatory, get in touch with our team today on 0207 043 2378 or email us at You can book a free consultation via our live diary here. We look forward to discussing your project in more detail.

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