Date posted: 03rd January 2018

Adding cost-effective space to your home

Is your home creaking at the seams? A lifetime of your own ‘stuff’ now vying for space with your kids’ collection of soft toys and Christmas presents?

With a growing family space can very easily become a premium. And it’s not just the things that we have which can make life become uncomfortably cosy. We’re changing the way that we live our lives.

The statement that the kitchen is the heart of the home has never rung more true. We want open-plan and open space – space to cook, to entertain, to do homework and to play. With life busier than ever, kitchens are the place where we snatch family moments and unwind at the end of the day with friends.

That’s why according to a recent survey by market research company Bilendi, of the 14% of UK households that are currently considering home improvements, 36% were planning a new kitchen, while 34% wanted a home extension.

But extensions cost. A minimal 5m x 4m extension will start at the bottom end of the price scale at around £1,600/m2 – and that’s with a very limited specification. The upper-limit is significantly higher but £60,000 plus shouldn’t be a surprise.

That’s where a little lateral thought can pay off. Glazed extensions bring space and light into your home but do so at the fraction of the cost of a traditional ‘brick & mortar’ construct.

They’re built around a conservatory frame but feature more brick-work, internal boxing and are even available in a solid roof format, all of which combine to create a much more substantial feel.

At the same time they throw more light back into your property, providing a flow and connection between the original house and your new living space.

Things to think about when planning a home extension:

  • Take time to understand how your new extension will work with the rest of your property. Will it make existing rooms dark and uninviting? A glazed extension will throw light back into your property
  • How do you intend to use the room? Carefully map and plan your space. If you’re intending to use your hybrid conservatory as a kitchen, think carefully about how you’re going to use it and the placement of large features like islands.
  • How is your extension going to connect to the space outside? It’s not just about decking and paving but how your room opens up onto the landscape beyond. Bi-fold and inline sliding doors are a great way of maximising space by opening up your room to the outdoors.  How will this impact on your design?
  • Your supplier – it’s a big investment and one you’re going to have to live not only in but with! Work with an accredited and trusted supplier who will make time to understand your design ideas and help turn them into a reality.                                                  

The Ultraframe LivinRoom is a great example. It adds an internal steel work ladder system to the eaves and glazing bar positions of a classic conservatory glazed roof. This is the foundation for a screwed to steel plasterboard framework, which forms the basis of a ‘traditional’ internal plaster ‘soffit’ perimeter ceiling. 

What that means is that while installation and purchase costs come in at only a little more than a standard conservatory, you get a far more substantial orangery-type feel – and most importantly the flexibility that goes with that.

This make the Ultraframe LivinRoom suitable for a wide variety of uses from kitchens, to gyms and playrooms. The addition of bi-folding or inline sliding patio doors, also provides a great flow out to your garden, seamlessly connecting indoor and outdoor spaces. 

The LivinRoof, again from Ultraframe, moves things on further allowing you to combine high-performance glazing units with highly insulated solid aluminium panels. This gives the LivinRoof a U-value of just 0.18w m/2k, making it an incredibly energy efficient choice.

If you want an even more solid construct for your low-cost home extension, you might want to consider the Ultraroof380. It’s a lightweight and ultra-energy efficient tile roofing system, which has been designed to replicate traditional baton and tile systems.

This uses Kingspan Unidek Aero structural insulated panels to deliver exceptional thermal performance, while tough engineered copolymer interlocking roof tiles, offer a strong aesthetic match to traditional roof tiles and slate finishes.

Inside, the addition of plasterboard forms an airy vaulted ceiling, with internal soffit, for housing down-lights and internal cabling. Depending on your roof, it can also be designed to accommodate Velux-type roof lights or lower cost fixed window lights.

Do I need planning permission for a conservatory extension?

The other great thing about glazed extensions over traditional builds is that within certain limits, you don’t need to apply for planning permission as its classed as a permitted development.

The general rule is that any extension is limited to a single storey and the height of that extension cannot exceed the height of the roof of the existing property or a maximum of 4m. In most cases they’re also exempt from building regulations. Read our guide to conservatory planning permission here.

Can I replace my conservatory roof?

If you have an older conservatory you may find that you can breathe new life into it through a replacement roof. The roof material type in most cases is the root cause of the common problems associated with older conservatory installations i.e. they’re freezing in winter and too hot in summer!

This is because polycarbonate roofs and early glazing offer little to no insulation. Replacement with a high-performance roofing system could provide a very low-cost solution, allowing you to transform an unloved room into a new family living space.

This could even include replacement with a solid-roof system. The Ultraroof380 weighs in at only a little more than a traditional glass roof at 38KG/m2. This means that in the vast majority of cases, it can be installed as a direct replacement for your old conservatory roof.

KJM Group offers a complete range of conservatory options and we can support you through the whole process from concept design to delivery.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out more by calling 01264 359355 or emailing email sales@kjmgroup.co.uk