UPVCSaver Provide two types of conservatory bases concrete and steel. Below you can find information on both of these bases and how UPVCSaver provides hight quality materials and products for your conservatory needs! Also below you can find information on our DIY conservatories, Brick Charts and Accessories!
While we encourage and recommend steel bases, UPVCSaver appreciates that a number of its visitors will be interested in a more traditional approach to constructing bases for Conservatories and Sun Lounges.
For those visitors we are pleased to include some information on concrete bases for conservatories
What is the specification for the base? How do I put the conservatory together? Can you give my builder a guide?
Typical Base Construction Sections
Note - these sectional drawings are just typical sections - you or your builder/conservatory supplier may use different sections depending on site circumstances.
With example 1 we have a fairly typical section for the construction of a base and dwarf wall. This assumes that the site is reasonably level and without any major difficulties. As an example of a variation on the above - note that many suppliers prefer to "sit" the inside of the conservatory frame flush with the inside of the external course of brickwork. In our example the frame has been fitted slightly forward of the inside edge of the external course of brickwork in order to facilitate an easier fixing for the internal window board. Either method is OK in our opinion.
We again have a fairly typical example based on a site without many difficulties. As previous you may find that your supplier will fit the frame flush with the inside edge of the foundation. Also your builder may create a brick faced base rather than concrete faced base. In our example the conservatory Frame rests on top of a damp proof membrane. This is often used when using timber frames. However with PVCu frames it is more likely your builder will lay The PVCu frames directly down on foundation. (PVCu is after all a damp proof material). The usual finish then is to "lap" the membrane that's under the concrete floor up against the frame on the inside.
This shows a suspended floor detail often used where there is a significant difference in levels between the ground level and the finished floor level (FFL) of the conservatory. Note an air brick should be inserted at front.
We have a good example of one way to overcome a large variation between levels. You should remember with examples like this to allow for brick steps (plus other landscaping) in order to safely "step down" from your conservatory to the ground level.
You know your conservatory is going to be stunning when it is built - but no matter how attractive it is, you have to get down to basics. And nothing is more basic than the foundations it stands on.
Foundations have to be sound and solid. That’s why builders or installers dig to a depth of 450mm for the footings. The next step is to create the base with a mix of concrete, hardcore, screed and layer of damp proofing as well as building a low wall - if that is part of the design.
Advantages of Steel Conservatory Bases
One great advantage is that steel conservatory bases are equally good for the professional installer or the DIY home improver - both have found that they save time and money!
And here is why:
Being a custom-built base it will fit the specific design and size of the conservatory.
As the steel base is delivered in pre-constructed sections it can be installed in just one day - leaving the installer free to carry on with the construction of the conservatory.
With no need to dig foundations, the site remains much cleaner and there is minimal disruption to the surrounding area.
Most patios can remain intact - saving time and expense - as only slabs which coincide with the weight-bearing pads need be removed.
Low temperatures or bad weather do not halt the installation of steel bases.
Sandy or other difficult soil conditions are no problem as there is no need for major excavations.
Difficult and uneven slopes present no problems for steel bases.
They are ideal for terraced and linked homes, or those with difficult access as the bases arrives in pre-made sections which can be carried through the house if necessary.
No large scale cement mixing or building needed = less mess and less time.
No rubble for a conventional base = less cost.
Cost of skip hire (for things such as removal of soil) is dramatically reduced .
Manhole covers present no problems as they are accessed through a trap door in the floor.
Steel bases are ideal for mature gardens where the minimum of disruption will be welcomed.
Base is delivered to site complete with insulated floor, and all fixtures and fittings.
The insulated floor is suitable for laminate, carpets and ceramic tiles.
The design makes the base ideal for the installation of under-floor heating
Being a light-weight construction if can be used on flat roofs or balconies.
The base can be dismantled with the conservatory and re-erected elsewhere.
The steel-base is designed to BSI standard.
Steel conservatory bases can come with a 10-year warranty, the same as many conservatories.
Or there is a simpler and quicker alternative
A steel conservatory base gets rid of the need for all that, as well as any long wait for concrete to set. A steel base also has the added advantage that it can be installed even when temperatures are low or very wet - so no waiting around for the right kind of weather!
As the system does not entail removing lawns or patios to make way for the conservatory, it also means cutting bills for skips or waste removal.
A steel base can also offer the perfect solution when a location makes it difficult to use more traditional methods.
How does it Work?
A steel base is designed to the specifications of your conservatory and delivered to your home already constructed in sections.
Pre-welded bolts are used to bolt together the outer framework. Extra support and rigidity of the mitred corners is supplied by an internal brace - while screw adjusters level out the conservatory base.
The framework stands on concrete pads with spreader plates beneath their feet - they disperse the load over each pad. This has the added advantage that if the base is being installed over an existing patio only the paving slabs beneath the pads need to be removed.
The framework is then bolted to the house wall with rawl bolts. Steel floor joists located in the support brackets are welded onto the front and rear sill sections, and then bolted into place.
Any fear of the kind of bounce experienced with a suspended floor is eliminated by immediate supports inserted between each pair of floor joists.
No bounce means that most types of floor covering can be used even ceramic tiles - providing the correct adhesive is applied.
Will the base be at the right level?
There are virtually no restrictions to proposed floor levels, this enables an accurate and level footing to the full height conservatory. The sill fits directly to the outer beam of the base.
The base is then finished with an insulated floor.
There's a manhole cover where i want my conservatory
Unlike conventional bases manhole covers present no problem to a steel frame base. They remain in situ and are accessed through a trap door and removable floor joists, built into the design - it’s that easy! No need to re-site the manhole or drains.
Drainpipes can also be left untouched as there are no foundations to disturb them.
But I really wanted a wall at the base
If you want a low wall you can have one.
One solution is to build a normal cavity wall, OR there is even a simpler solution!
A steel-base can include a strong galvanised frame with a profiled building board made to fit exactly. Clay brick tiles can be bonded to this to produce a lightweight wall which is also hardwearing.
You have a wall without having to employ a bricklayer.
Will there be lots of cables on display?
The insulation and flooring laid on top of the steel base has a hollow frame ideal for carrying cables and any plumbing that might be needed.
Steel Conservatory Bases - Any Size - Any Shape - Anywhere - In a day!!!
Please note that in addition to attaching the Modular Wall System to the Steel Conservatory Base it's possible to build "normal" cavity brick wall construction on top of the steel conservatory base. In addition, the outer skin of the wall can be extended by up to 600mm below DPM overcoming difficulties experienced on most sloping sites.
The Choice of DIY
If you are a competent DIY enthusiast then constructing your own conservatory could be for you. It offers several benefits to an experienced amateur who has the knowledge needed to undertake such a large project.
Does this sound like you?
I know I am equal to the challenge of constructing a conservatory
I know this option will save me money
I know doing it this way will give me more for my money
I know I will get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing a job well done, and
For the more adventurous and knowledgeable - this could be the opportunity to design my own conservatory.
On that last point - it isn’t just a case of a drawing on a fag packet - you need to know a great deal about the materials, how they work, load bearing, getting the structure watertight, good standards of insulation… there is quite a list but - there are also companies who will help you overcome these and they are well worth looking for.
This is usually one of the biggest reasons for undertaking any DIY project.
Let’s see how it works out.
Comparing prices between DIY models and those offered with the planning and building services built into the price can make interesting reading.
DIY versions can start from around the £1,500 mark. But you do need to take several things into consideration:
Do you plan to use this room all year round? If so you need good standards of insulation.
What use will you be putting it to? That could help determine the size, whether heating is required and what kind, and
What material will the frame be made from. The most popular is PVCu as it is hard wearing and needs little maintenance. But if you live in a conservation area check that local planners will allow this.
GO FOR QUALITY
Generally, like any big purchase, it is best to compare very carefully what one company is offering against another.
Look for the quality of the materials used. If anyone tries to fob you off with ‘they are all standard, companies don’t differ’, walk away. They aren’t - cheaper conservatories may use single glazed panels or inferior PVCu - they are not a good long-term investment.
All PVCu frames should have a thickness of at least 55mm, the thicker the wall the more strength it has.
Ask to see a cross section of the wall. You may be surprised to see that it isn’t solid but has a multi-walled or chambered construction. That multi-wall must be strengthened with aluminium or galvanised steel to add extra strength and load bearing properties.
If your conservatory is to have a glass roof rather than a polycarbonate - then good load-bearing walls are essential. If you look around you will find that some company’s frames are nearer 80mm in thickness, which is all to the good.
You need to ensure that you are being supplied with genuine conservatory panels and not being fobbed off with windows made to the size you require - these will not be robust enough for your conservatory.
If polycarbonate is to be used for the roof look at the very minimum for a 16mm version - don’t accept less - and remember that 35mm is far more preferable, in terms of length of its life and its thermal properties.
Glass can have special coverings which help to retain heat in winter, and although it sounds contradictory - help to keep some of the heat out in summer, together with damaging rays which fade furniture.
SELF- MANAGING THE PROJECT
This version of DIY holds a great deal of appeal to those who want to save money by not buying the complete package of conservatory and installation from a supplier.
It offers several options even for those without good DIY skills:
Choose how much of the work you want to do yourself - such as digging our foundations
It can give more control over timescale - fitting it around other commitments, or the bonus of not having to wait until a supplier has an installation team free to do the work
You can arrange the work to fit in with your budget - for example lay the base and then start saving again for the conservatory, and
You can chose tradesmen you know and trust and negotiate a deal to suit you
Also be aware that:
Just because you aren’t doing all/some of the work yourself - if won’t just happen. You will have to plan carefully what help you need and when. It’s no good having the cement for a base poured if you needed a plumber in first laying underfloor heating.
You will need to have a very good idea of what you can expect each trade to do for you. Remember that even if you undertake electrical work for yourself it has to be checked by an expert at the end.
Legislation which came into force on October 1 saw much of the planning permission previously needed for conservatories put to one side.
It is worth checking that you are ok to go ahead with the project. Rules such as not being able to place a conservatory on the front of a building still stand, as do restrictions in conservation areas and how much the original building can be increased in size.
It is well worth taking time out to check that your plans meet the current legislation. If you are in any doubt call the planning department of your local authority. They are the experts, and the people that will enforce any steps to be taken against someone who has overstepped the mark, or broken the rules.
Making the decision to make your conservatory a DIY project will mean that you don’t get the cover-all guarantee given by a company who manufactures and installs the product.
But you are entitled to a guarantee on any work carried out for you, and you should look for at least a 10-year warrant or guarantee on the conservatory you buy.
You also need to check out the standard of after sales service that is given by the company you buy from - if you find that components aren’t up to the mark you want to know they will be replaced promptly.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
Choose your suppliers, tradesmen and conservatory carefully, but also enjoy the experience. You will have the satisfaction of knowing you had a big hand in creating the lovely new living space which enhances your home.