Are orangeries better than conservatories in Colchester and Chelmsford?

If you’re planning an extension to your property, you might be forgiven for getting confused with the amount of choice out there right now. The days when a home extension was a square, brick-built structure with a flat roof are long gone. Now, there are many options on the market to suit properties large and small, old and new.

At SEH BAC we are the experts in helping you navigate through these choices. Properties in Colchester and Chelmsford range from solid Victorian terraces and elegant Edwardian villas to cool, contemporary new-builds and even the occasional medieval building! As the top home improvements company in Essex, we know exactly what our customers want, and we have all the professional skills and experience to help them.

Two of the most popular extensions now are orangeries and conservatories. SEH BAC specialises in both of these, and they’re very popular among our Essex customers. But is there a difference between an orangery and a conservatory, and if so, which is the better option for you as a prospective customer?

What is an orangery?

Hundreds of years ago, orangeries were built to grow fruit, hence the name. When glazing became easier to produce in large quantities, orangeries became fashionable among the very wealthy. Today, orangery extensions have larger areas of brickwork with windows and a glazed roof, giving an interesting and attractive structure that feels solid and is thermally efficient all year round.

What is a conservatory?

Believe it or not, conservatories were originally designed to store food until they became popular for housing tropical plants. Today, they’re a place for humans to bask in all year round, thanks to advances in glazing technology. A conservatory traditionally has a lot of glass, making it an excellent place in which to soak up natural light.

white pvc conservatory with glass roof

So which is better, a conservatory or an orangery?

Well, that is very much down to taste and circumstances. It’s true that an orangery will be more expensive to build because it has solid walls. On the other hand, it is those very walls which might save you money in the long run because they will be more thermally efficient than glass and won’t make as big a dent in the fuel bills.

A conservatory features more glazing and will be cheaper to build as a result. The extra glazing is great if you’re a natural light lover but that extra glass might just make the building feel a tad cooler than an orangery. That said, double glazing technology now has great thermal performance. For example, our uPVC conservatory range boasts A+ rated glazing options that provide U-Values of up to 0.8 W/m2K, significantly outperforming standard building regulations.

Choosing between a new orangery and a conservatory might also depend on the age of your house. A contemporary dwelling with architectural designer flourishes may be better suited to the brickwork-and-glass integrated looks of the orangery, particularly one made from high-performing aluminium. Chelmsford and Colchester’s Victorian housing stock might be better suited to conservatories that traditionally have Victorian or Edwardian stylings. For a conservatory, an Edwardian style or Victorian style would be perfect, while for more modern houses in the area, styles such as Lean To, P Shaped and Gable conservatory will be more suitable.

Sage Green Loggia conservatory installation

All this said, there are no hard or fast rules. Orangeries can incorporate some of the stylings of the conservatory, especially around roof design, and the reverse is also true. Whichever extension you choose, you can be sure that SEH BAC is here to answer all your questions and guide you through the process of giving your home the valuable extra space that it needs.

We are always keen for you to visit our showrooms across Essex, seek our expert opinion and see for yourselves what we do, and how we can help you realise your vision. We’re always available to chat, either in person, online or by phone, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss your project.


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