Conservatory FAQs

When it comes to choosing the right conservatory there are so many decisions to make, and questions to ask. We have started to answer several here, but do get in touch if you still have unanswered questions.

Planning

Will I need building regulations?

Only if the conservatory is over 30sqm and/or open to the house (i.e. there are no doors between the house and the conservatory). If the conservatory is on the first floor or over 4.0m to the eaves, it will also need building regulations.

Will I need Planning Permission?

Adding a conservatory to your house is often considered to be a permitted development, even within designated areas such as conservation and AONB. Planning Portal is a good source of information and will give you up to date guidance regarding planning. Should your particular circumstances require a stand-alone application to be made, Alitex can offer you a stand alone planning service where we can submit a householder's application on your behalf.

Listed consent will also be needed if the conservatory is to be attached to a listed dwelling. It is not necessarily required if the conservatory is to be a freestanding garden room within the grounds of a listed dwelling.

When it comes to planning, Alitex can certainly advise on the best route forward. Our team of experts are continuously working with various planning authorities across the UK and will work with you or your chosen architect to try and satisfy the various criteria.

Size and shape

Can I have a conservatory any shape I want?

Pretty much! Our system is very flexible with a large range of configurations available, e.g. faceted ends, hips, roof angles standard doors and bi-fold doors.

Aluminium and paint

What sets Alitex apart from other aluminium conservatories?

The integration of traditional looking window, door and roof products in aluminium, which we believe is unique.

We can also turn our hand to more angular, contemporary designs.

Fully profiled sections to roof, gutter, doors and windows throughout.

We can manufacture large spans of up to 5.0m with decorative portals (not box portals).

What are the advantages of aluminium over timber?

Aluminium doors and windows have weather test ratings as timber products do. The main advantage is that aluminium will maintain its initial weather integrity over the entire course of its lifetime whereas timber will not.

Our windows and doors meet BS6375:pt1 severe exposure category 2000. You can see all the British Standards that we build to here. You will obviously also benefit from the reduced maintenance. A regular wash down is all that is needed – no re-paints.

Finally, it provides reduced expansion and contraction, which with timber leads to warping that will affect (affect) weather tightness in the long term.

Isn’t wood better for a conservatory, isn’t it warmer?

As a heat insulator, timber is better than thermally broken aluminium - but the frame is only a small percentage of the overall structure. The glass has the biggest effect on the heat loss so selecting an Alitex double glazed unit is most important.

Does aluminium suffer from condensation?

Our system is fully thermally broken (i.e. the inside face of the aluminium is separated from the outside face of the aluminium with a polyamide, plastic thermal break). It is not 100% condensation free (the correct balance between heating and ventilation will be needed to keep condensation at bay), but the system reduces condensation.

In most conditions, aluminium will be as condensation free as timber. However, in very humid conditions (with cold conditions outside) aluminium is more likely to condensate than timber (as will the glass). But it is important to remember that if you do get condensation, an Alitex conservatory will not rot, whereas timber will.

Can I have my conservatory any colour?

Yes. We have the entire international RAL palette available to us and can even create special mixes to match existing paintwork. We also offer dual colour (where you can have a different frame colour inside and out) as well as metallic and textured finishes. 

Wood and restoration

My existing double glazing is starting to fail. Do you do replacement doors and windows?

We are primarily conservatory designers, manufacturers and installers so would not normally consider this unless they were in addition to a conservatory order, with the windows and doors to be replaced at the same time as the conservatory is built.

NB: We cannot replace only the double glazed unit (i.e. the sealed glass panes) into existing frames. We can only supply and fit replacement windows and doors in their entirety, including the frames.

Glass

What options are there with window openings?
  • Top or side (i.e casement) hung options
  • Trickle ventilators
  • Window locks enable partial “open-but locked” position (with optional limiters)

 

What is the u-value of your double glazing?

The u-value on our windows is 1.6 W/m2K and on our double glazed doors it is 1.8 W/m2K. The lower the value, the better the insulation. Current building regulations state that windows must have a u-rating of 1.6 W/m2K or less and doors, 1.8 W/m2K or less.

Can you do solar control or self-cleaning glass?

The short answer is yes of course we can. There are many options and we would suggest the use of either is best debated with your designer and your specific site in mind.

If you are planning a plant filled conservatory, it is worth mentioning that solar control glass reduces light transmission by 55% as well (the normal glass units with low-e glass only cut out 20%). Although normally there is plenty of light from the sides of the conservatory, this can be problematic in winter. For those considering growing a specialist plant collection, we would advise blinds that can be rolled up in winter to increase light levels rather than solar control glass which may inhibit plant growth.

What kind of glass do you use?

We use “low-e” (short for “low-emissivity”) glass. Our double glazed units have a 4.0mm toughened outer pane, a 14/16mm air gap and a 4.00mm toughened inner pane. In the roof the inner pane is 6.4mm laminated glass. This will remain in situ should the outer pane be broken. The air gap can also be argon filled to increase the thermal efficiency of the double glazed unit.

What about safety?

All glazing is to Part N of building regulations, which is a compulsory safety standard.  We use toughened glass inside and out on all doors and windows, with a laminated inner pane in the roof for ultimate safety. If broken, the outer pane will shatter and the inner pane will potentially crack, but will still hold the pieces of the broken outer pane so glass does not fall to the floor.

Security

How secure is the conservatory?

We fit high security concealed shoot bolts on all doors and opening windows. Designed-in security on glazing frames with the use  interlocking beads and internal wedge gaskets means all our windows and doors comply with British Standards (BS7950).

Automatic roof vents (if fitted with rain sensor and/or temperature controlled) should be fitted with a manual over-ride so they can be left closed when the house is unattended.

Examples of work

Where can I see examples of your work?

We have a number of display structures at our premises in Hampshire and have also built several in Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex as well as the Channel Isles. We have customers nationwide so may well have a structure nearer to you. Please get in touch and we will let you know.

Enquiries from abroad

Do you provide conservatories abroad?

We are starting to supply them to Europe. However, we would request that we see drawings and photographs before any site visit is arranged. In this instance a site visit prior to the order would be at the customer’s expense.

Costs and timings

How much will it cost?

This very much depends on the nature of the design. However as a very rough guide, £2,500 excluding VAT per sqm should be allowed for the aluminium and glass framework. This includes delivery and installation but not the preparation of the walls and floor.

What is your lead time?

Around 4-5 months from confirmation of order and receipt of planning permission (whichever is the later).

Arranging an Alitex visit

Can I arrange for Alitex to visit me?

Of course. Give us a call - 01730 826900. 

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