October 15, 2013 Steven Murphy
So, you want to buy a conservatory, but you’re on a budget. You don’t want to sacrifice quality: if you’re going to end up with a conservatory you don’t want, you might as well not waste your money. Where you can save money is by erecting the conservatory yourself. From “Changing Rooms” and “Home Improvement” all the way through to the more grandiose plans of “Grand Designs”, there’s been something of a DIY revolution over the past 20 years. We’re all busy putting up shelves and curtain poles, so why should a conservatory bother you?
First of all, rest assured that doing it yourself doesn’t mean sacrificing choice. DIY conservatories come in all shapes and sizes, and most popular designs are available for home construction. These include the lean to designs popular for use with bungalows, as well as more traditional Victorian and Edwardian designs. DIY conservatories also offer the opportunity for you to design your own style of conservatory. Maybe you need something slightly smaller than the standard design, or a conservatory twice the size of any on the market.
You can adapt your design so you have a conservatory that maximises your available space. Many suppliers offer DIY conservatories with wall panels and skylights which can be built up around existing flooring. It also removes one of the trickiest parts of conservatory construction; digging the foundations and pouring concrete. A note of caution. You might be the world’s most confident DIY enthusiast, but before you go charging into the conservatory construction business, take a step back and ask yourself objectively, “Have I got the necessary experience?” We’ve joked about it, but it’s important to remember that building a conservatory is a construction job like any other and shouldn’t be taken on lightly.
Even if you have plenty of experience in similar minor construction jobs (e.g. erecting a garden shed, porch or treehouse), sit down and run through everything that you might need to know for the job. Do you know how to dig foundations? If you’re planning to add certain amenities, do you have the necessary experience and qualifications? Have you ever plumbed in a water supply before? Are you familiar with wiring? Remember, it is illegal for unqualified personnel to go messing about with gas supplies. If you do have the experience and are confident in your own abilities, then don’t let me stop you.
If, however, you realise your skills are lacking, then there is no shame in calling in a professional builder, electrician, glazier, etc. You can always order your dream DIY conservatory and then have a builder you are familiar with build it. That way, you will still make a saving on the astronomical costs of getting one firm to supply and build it. You might alternatively get help in for specific parts of the job. You might have all the necessary experience to erect DIY conservatories and fit blinds, flooring, etc, but get a spark in to do the electrics. The best suppliers will be able to give you additional advice during constructions, but its best to make sure they offer this service before you order from them.
It’s also worth noting that even the most confident of builders will need a couple of friends along to help with stages of construction. You can’t lift and fit an entire conservatory on your own.
Once it’s done, you can sit back and enjoy your custom-designed conservatory. And how much better will it feel knowing you built it with your own bare hands (or, at least, slightly fuller pocket)?
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