Conservatories can completely transform your living space. An extension to entertain guests, or a spacious playroom for children (where mess is allowed), they can open up your home without having to spend an arm and a leg on renovations.
If you choose to build your conservatory, the first thing to consider is planning permission. In most cases, you won’t need to apply for planning permission, but if your DIY conservatory doesn’t fit within the sizing guidelines, it’s worth making an application before you start building. Authorities have the power to take down any extension that is unlawfully built (or without the correct paperwork to support it).
In this article we are going to tell you how to build a conservatory, whilst covering FAQ’s such as costings and timescales.
What tools am I going to need?
Before you even think about starting to build your conservatory, it’s imperative to have the right tools to hand to ensure a smooth process. Self-build or flat pack conservatories should come with all the nuts and bolts to secure it together, but they won’t supply you with the tools and ‘finishing touches’ to ensure your conservatory is watertight, secure and most importantly – level!
You’ll need the following as a minimum:
- Measuring tape
- Spirit level
- Screwdriver (electric preferable, manual may take a while)
- Sealant (read our recommendations here)
- Tarpaulin sheet big enough to cover area
- Rented skip for any rubbish/debris
- Damp membrane big enough for base
Please ensure that you check when you have ordered your conservatory the sizes (where possible) of the screws. Having an extra packet of these handy is something we highly recommend, as if there are any repairs that you need to do to your conservatory or screws become old/rusty, you want to be able to replace them immediately.
Step 1 – Building the base of your conservatory
The most common DIY base is concrete, due to its durability and cost. To build a concrete base, first you will need to measure carefully the area that you are looking to place your conservatory.
Ensure that the area is not close to large trees, shrubbery or fences as you run the risk of damaging the roots of the tree, and potentially causing issues with the foundations that have been laid for fencing and/or other obstructions. You’ll want to measure enough area to accommodate the conservatory, as well as have room for patio tiles for the entrance of the conservatory, too.
You’ll need to dig at least 1 meter deep which is the average recommendation, and ensure that this is as level as possible. Fill this area with your damp membrane, which will stop rising damp from penetrating the concrete, thus making your foundations unstable.
Please note that you’ll want to lay your concrete mixture on a dry day, to enable it to set evenly and for the soil to not be too soft.
Pour your concrete mixture in evenly until it reaches level ground. Ensure that you have used your spirit level to ensure that there are no lumps and bumps making the base uneven.
When the base has completely set, ensure it is dry and clean before erecting your DIY conservatory.
Please note, that if you have extra £ in your budget, you can put a thin layer of screed flooring on top of your base, which is durable and will give you shiny flooring which is primed either for vinyl flooring, or can be left on its own.
Step 2 – Building the DIY conservatory
A lot of DIY conservatories will come with instructions, but for the purpose of this guide we’ll give you a brief overview on the order in which you should erect it.
First, you want to start by building the walls of the conservatory, and ensuring that these are secure and sturdy, taking into account their measurements and how you are attaching them to your base.
Make sure that you have secured the doors (with a uPVC door handle) and secured with a conservatory lock before you have attached the roof. This leaves no error for incorrect measurements, and is a safer way to build your conservatory so the roof doesn’t collapse on you.
How to build a conservatory roof
As mentioned, DIY conservatories will already come with the roofing in place, but should you need to replace the roof we have a guide here on everything you need to know should you need to replace it. We cover how to build a solid roof on a conservatory as well as how to build a conservatory roof if you have never done it before.
Most DIY conservatories will come with an acrylic roof, which is easy to install and maintain. You’ll need to invest in a multi-purpose folding extension ladder to enable you to look after the roof with ease. Finally, we also recommend purchasing a UPVC roof cleaners and gutter brackets, too.
Step 3 – Flooring and finishing touches
Now that you have the whole structure erected, it’s time to add the finishing touches and ensure that everything is secure.
With your roof, you want to ensure that there is sealant on any area where air can enter, which will prevent any leaks from occurring.
Now, it’s time to pick your flooring. We have selected five of our favourite self adhesive vinyl floor tiles which will work perfectly with your concrete base, and will add the finishing touches to your conservatory.
Finally, you’ll want to select your patio slabs/tiles to go outside of your conservatory. These can be applied onto screed flooring or a thin layer of concrete.
Then, you’re ready to furnish! Have a look at some of our favourite wicker chairs with cushions here.
How much is it to build a conservatory?
It completely depends on the size of the DIY conservatory that you’ve picked. On average it can cost anything between £4,000-£8,000 to build a conservatory, but luckily the main components you have to worry about is the base as well as the tools needed to put it all together. You can calculate a rough estimate here.
How long does it take to build a conservatory?
It can take anything from 3-5 days to build a conservatory from start to finish, and that’s assuming you have a DIY conservatory flat pack to hand. If you are looking to build everything from scratch, it would take in excess of a week to have all of the components together and complete.