Okay, we should all know what a conservatory or a garden room is. You’ll see them up and down suburbia, made from uPVC, double glazing and a clear plastic roof.
But have you ever heard of an Orangerie? Just mentioning the word, conjures up visions of elegant, stately homes built in England between 1700 and 1900. You picture a wealthy aristocrat, tending the succulent orchids and tropical fruit that you can only grow in England using artificial warmth.
If you install an Orangery, you’re bound to be the envy of all the neighbours and you’ll increase your house value too.
In its basic form, an Orangerie is a room of your house, incorporated under the same roof as the rest, but with glass walls or picture windows on low dwarf walls.
So, how much does it cost to build an Orangery?
The average structure costs a minimum of £18,000 and a maximum of about £50,000, based on a generous cost per square metre of between £2,000 and £2,500. Although, you can build classy ones for £100,000 and over, they can be as cheap as £10,000.
This is still more than a conservatory but you’ll get far more use out of an Orangery all year round. If you don’t mind a small timber–framed Orangery extension rather than made from brick, you might even get one for about £8,000.
A cheap extension like this will probably mean the builder has chosen cheaper materials, which although not bad in itself, means you’ll also have to cope with more repair costs as cheap wood will warp and rot. However, more expensive hardwood will keep itself as good as new for many years.
For your Orangery, costs per square metre vary with many different factors:
- Size of extension.
- Traditional or contemporary design.
- Excavation depth and foundation thickness.
- The type of roof needed. Orangeries usually have a built-in roof lantern, to increase the sunlight.
- Floor insulation. You’ll certainly notice the difference in temperature in the winter.
- The type of wall. Whether you have fully glazed frames with brick pillars or dwarf walls with picture windows. You might even choose timber-frame.
- Heating, electrics and plumbing.
Remember too, that your finished costs will depend not only the type of materials and finish you choose. They will also vary with your location in the country. London within the M25 will cost most while Greater London and the South East will be a close second.
Contractors don’t often give quotes including VAT, so always ask for the full amount including tax.
Orangery Prices: Calculating Estimates
|Type of Orangery||Typical materials||Size||Estimated average price|
|Basic||White uPVC or softwood||–||£15,000 minimum|
|Small||Engineered timber||3m x 3m||£15,000 to £20,000|
|Medium||uPVC framing||4m x 3m to 6m x 6m||£18,000 to £30,000|
|Large||Various or composite materials||7m x7m minimum||£20,000 to £100,000 +|
The above prices are estimates based on the size only. Also, you can expect an average small Orangery to take about 5 weeks to complete. But, don’t forget to add on extra time for additional features as well as additional costs like scaffolding, plastering, and other trades.
An Orangery is built to order like an extension rather than just a standard assembly of a conservatory. As it’s bespoke you won’t easily find standard prices on the internet. At best, you’ll find a price per square metre for a basic structure, plus the extras depending on what you want.
Constructing an Orangery involves far more skilled building work than erecting a conservatory, so you’d expect it to cost a lot more. And, you wouldn’t be wrong. But, if you think of it as similar to a small extension then you can understand why the cost is so high compared to a conservatory.
Orangery Design Ideas
You can choose from plenty of different designs for your Orangery. You should begin your main design choice by looking at the different types of framing and finishing available. Many different countries have a preference for construction materials. So, here are those that are most popular in the UK.
- uPVC. These frames need no maintenance except for an occasional wash. They’re resistant to UV light and usually have about a 10–year guarantee. The double glazed windows might have a 15–year guarantee.
- Timber Frame. You have a choice of framing your glass with either softwood or hardwood. Softwood is much cheaper but needs more maintenance and has a much shorter lifespan. It’s usually painted whereas hardwood has a coat of clear or stained varnish, oil or another clear finishing liquid. Not surprisingly, timber frames are one of the best insulation material for windows.
- Aluminium. Thankfully, we no longer have to suffer high–condensation aluminium windows only available in metal finish. Irrespective of construction material, whether it’s plastic, metal or wood, all windows must achieve energy ratings of A, B or C in current building regulations. Aluminium windows are powder coated to almost any colour and need virtually no maintenance.
- Composite framing is usually a mixture of wood and aluminium. They can last for up to 85 years with the aluminium layer exposed to the outside weather and the warm timber on the indoors side. This gives the best of both worlds.
Orangery vs Conservatory: What Are The Differences?
The former is part of the house and is included into its thermal envelope, while the latter has it’s own heating system and is closed off from the rest of the house by an external door. Because it’s under the same roof and is part of the house, you will have full use of an Orangery during the winter, while a conservatory, loses heat very quickly when it’s cold outside.
So, why don’t more people have an Orangery built rather than a conservatory? The simple answers are that a conservatory can be easily built on afterwards and is cheaper, while an Orangery needs proper plans, major alterations to the house and will comply with Building Regulations like the rest of the house.
How Long It Takes To Build?
It’s impossible to give an accurate timescale to build something like this unless you know all the factors. However, in general, the time it takes to build an Orangery or extension is very similar. From digging the first trenches for foundations, laying the concrete and getting the footings out of the ground, you‘re talking about one week. From then on, the duration depends on the style, size and what type of finish you want. For example, a brick Orangery will take between 1 and 2 weeks to complete all the brickwork, whereas if you use timber–frame walls you can get them up and start on the roof in a few days.
As an estimate, you could say that the total time for an average Orangery will be about four or five weeks.
If however, you want to convert an existing conservatory to an Orangery, it won’t be as easy as you think. Conservatory walls and roof don’t usually weigh a lot, so the foundations tend to be quite shallow. On the other hand, because of the weight of the walls, pillars and substantial roof, the foundations for an Orangery must be similar, or in some cases deeper than the existing house. You’ll, therefore, have to add deeper foundations before you build the brick piers that support the roof.
If you want an exact duration and cost, it’s best to seek advice from a professional contractor or specialist company. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can get 3 or 4 quotations just by filling in the form on this website.
Planning Permission & Building Regulations
You don’t usually need planning permission for an Orangery as it’s classed as permitted development. However, this and any other domestic extension must comply with the same rules.
- Must cover less than half the area of land around the existing house.
- It can extend no more than 6m from the rear wall of a detached house, or 4m for semis and terraced.
- The roof must be no higher than the existing roof height.
If you aren’t sure whether you need planning permission, contact your local authority’s planning office for advice.
Building Regulations apply to all extensions, whether they’re a conservatory, Orangery or brick extension. However, if you comply with certain requirements, you may be exempt from others.
- Floor area is less than 30m2 and a single storey.
- External quality door, walls and windows separate it from the main house.
- Glazing and fixed electrical installations comply with the relevant Building Regulations.
- It’ll have an independent heating system with separate controls and thermostat.
Once again, if you aren’t sure about this, contact the Building Control Officer for advice. To find out your borough’s contact details, visit the Local Authority Building Control.
Orangery Cost Q&A
Is an Orangery cheaper than an extension?
An Orangery will usually be cheaper than an extension of equivalent size and quality. On average, an Orangery costs between £2,000 and £2,500 per square metre whereas a ‘solid ‘ extension costs somewhere between £2,000 and £3,500 per square metre.
How much value does an Orangery add?
You can add almost as much to the value of your home as if you built an extension. The actual value, of course, will depend on the quality, size and finish to the structure as well as where you live.
Are orangeries warmer than conservatories?
Because they both have a lot of glass in their construction, they are warm in the summer and colder in the winter. However, because the Orangery has a traditional roof and more traditional wall area than a conservatory, they will retain their heat better in the winter and not get so hot in the summer.
Are orangeries warm in winter?
This depends on the weather. In the UK we often enjoy sunny winter days and these can make an Orangery warmer than the rest of the house. Otherwise, they retain more heat than a conservatory, but less than an extension. Use heat–retaining glass for the best warmth in winter as well as incorporating other heating accessories such as
- Underfloor heating.
- Warm rugs.
- Radiators and other types of heating.
- Blinds and curtains.
Do orangeries need foundations?
Orangeries need foundations just like any other building extension. And, these foundations must comply with the UK Building Regulations.
Can I extend my kitchen with an Orangery?
Yes, because orangeries are an integral part of the house, and within its thermal envelope, you can extend just about any room with one. While it’s unusual for an Orangery to be used as a bedroom (mainly because of privacy and too much light), a kitchen extension would be ideal.
How To Go About Hiring The Right Builder For The Job
Okay, we now know that an Orangery is more versatile than a conservatory and you can use one all year round without enduring extreme temperatures. But, with those advantages comes a slightly higher cost which varies depending on style, size and whether you have other features.
So, if you want to find out the true price, consult a specialist company or a qualified builder who’ll tell you exactly how much an Orangery costs, depending on your house, location and designs. You could probably find someone local to give you a quote, but are they good at their job? There’s no way of knowing unless you do a lot of research. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of qualified and professional companies who are good at their jobs and can build you an Orangery. Just fill out the form and you’ll receive 3 or 4 quotes from people who we’ve already vetted.