While some conservatories can cost as much as £40,000, the average cost of extending with a conservatory is around £15,000, according to a recent Which? survey of conservatory owners.
We spoke to Which? members to find out how they had found the experience of adding a conservatory, and ask them what they had paid. While some of the people we surveyed did pay top whack – more than £40,000 – for their conservatory, the highest proportion (30%) paid between £10,000 and £15,000, and around a quarter of people paid between £5,000 and £10,000.
As well as asking Which? members about their conservatories, we’ve also worked with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to get cost guidelines for different types of conservatory. RICS publishes average building work and repair costs from across the UK – visit our page on conservatory costs to find out more.
Five ways to save money on your conservatory
1. Choose a cheaper type of conservatory
There are a lot of options when it comes to the type of conservatory you get and the materials you choose. If you want a conservatory that is more like an extension – with a fully tiled roof and partial brick walls instead of all glass – then expect to pay more.
But if you’re looking to extend on a budget, there are some basic types of conservatory that won’t break the bank. Simple lean-to frames can even be bought from stores such as Wickes and Argos and constructed yourself.
Visit our full page on the types of conservatory to find out more.
2. Decide how you’re going to use it before you start
Be clear on how you will use the conservatory – this will help control costs from the outset, as there’s no point in paying out for unnecessary features you won’t need.
Think about what you’ll use it for and when you’ll be spending the most time in it. If you’ll only use it for reading in on hot, sunny days, you may not need many electrical sockets; if you’ll be using it for entertaining throughout the year, underfloor heating might end up being an essential.
Bear in mind that smaller conservatories that aren’t fully integrated with your house are cheaper than those for which you need to knock through your external walls.
Our page on conservatory interiors runs through all the elements you need to think about, and the features experts and owners think are worth paying for.
3. Negotiate the price of your conservatory
If you’ve got a few different quotes – ideally a minimum of three – you’ll have leverage to negotiate on price. Faced with a rival quote, your suppliers may be able to add in extras, such as more features or upgraded materials.
If you can, it’s worth considering building your conservatory out of season. The spring months are most popular for conservatory installation, so buying off-peak in autumn or winter could mean snapping up a discount.
4. Consider building your conservatory yourself
If you’re a confident DIYer, you could consider building your conservatory yourself, or getting involved in parts of the construction. You can buy ‘off-the-shelf’ conservatories from DIY stores, that are designed to be assembled at home.
Think carefully before you take the work on – it might be a bigger job than you think. You’ll need to have knowledge of building and building regulations, so it’s only really a job for DIY experts. Alternatively, you might be able to leave the building work to a professional company, but then tackle the interior decoration yourself to cut costs.
Our step-by-step guide to conservatories will give you more of an idea of what is involved and what you’ll need to think about.
5. Make sure everything is in place ahead of the build
Delays and setbacks can push costs up as time ticks on. You’ll need to make sure your traders know what they are doing and how they will gain access to your house well ahead of time. Things like waiting for a skip for debris can cause hold ups if you haven’t considered them in advance.
Having everything in place before work starts will help everything run smoothly. Our handy project checklist summarises everything you need to think about before embarking on a home improvement – download it by clicking the image below.
If you’re considering installing a conservatory, visit our comprehensive conservatory guide to find out everything you need to know, including the things conservatory owners wish they had done differently and whether national or local companies are best rated by their customers.
(*In March 2018 we asked 118 Which? members and conservatory owners about their experiences with the conservatory they bought in the last five years. RICS costs from September 2017.)