Conservatories & Orangeries

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Just a Quote: Expert advice without the hard sell

Looking back at the Victorian origins of Conservatories and Orangeries we can understand how they became the popular method of extending domestic and commercial properties that they are today. But in addition to the origins of modern day glass rooms we will also consider the different materials being used for the framework of conservatories and Orangeries and which is the most appropriate, or the most popular – PVCu, hardwood, softwood or aluminium.

Since most conservatories and orangeries constructed in the United Kingdom are now built using PVCu profiles, we will explain exactly what PVCu is and consider the different types of PVCu profile available.  So if you are looking for a conservatory quote or an orangery quote you have come to the right place.

Just a Quote for Conservatories and Orangeries

Conservatories and Orangeries - White PVCu Edwardian Conservatory

White PVCu Edwardian Conservatory

Conservatories and Orangeries - White Hardwood Orangery

White Hardwood Orangery

Conservatories and Orangeries: a brief history

Back in Victorian times conservatories and orangeries tended to be glass structures built onto large country houses designed so that wealthy travellers could admire and protect tender plants which they had brought back from their overseas trips. The exotic nature of plants such as orchids was reflected in the increasingly ornate nature of the glass structures – and this resulted in competition for the most diversified plant collection and also the most elaborate conservatories and orangeries. As citrus trees such as orange and lemon were included in the vast collections, the less than humble conservatories became more commonly known as Orangeries.

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PVCu, hardwood, softwood or aluminium?

If you are considering quotations hardwood conservatories and orangeries, good quality hardwood is generally the most expensive product used to manufacture the frames and roof for conservatories and orangeries but it is also considered to be the best in terms of appearance.  The availability of poor quality hardwood has not helped this argument in recent years however, and although many traditionalists would never contemplate anything other than hardwood windows, PVCu has many advantages, not least cost and ease of maintenance.

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What is PVCu?

PVCu is the abbreviation of Un-plasticised Polyvinyl Chloride and is exactly the same product as uPVC.  In ‘day to day’ use the terms have become interchangeable but officially ‘PVCu’ has been used since the late 1980’s, bringing the UK into line with the rest of Europe.  This is simply because in most European languages the noun (PVC) is placed before the adjective (unplasticised).


How many different types of PVCu profile are there and how do I tell which is the best for me?

There are hundreds of different types of PVCu frame extrusions for window and door frames used in conservatories and orangeries, the more common ones being manufactured by Deceuninck™, Duraflex, Rehau™, Synseal™, Profile 22™, Network Veka™, Plastmo™ and Kommerling™. Each manufacturer has a number of different ranges to serve both commercial and residential customers and within each range there are individual profiles for doors and windows. Breaking it down even further, different shaped extrusions are required for window and door outer frames, sashes, casement vents, beads, bay poles, sills, mullions and transoms.

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Conservatories and Orangeries: Too much choice?

When you are considering conservatories and orangeries, too much choice can cause confusion. When you invite a sales representative into your home to quote for new windows, doors or a conservatory, you may be impressed by the level of knowledge they have and the care that goes into the design. What you will not get though is objective, unbiased advice because for all of the friendliness and empathy the sales representative imparts, they are there for one purpose only – to sell his company’s products, at the highest price he can get away with!

Security and Insulation
Conservatories and Orangeries - Shoot bolt and hook bolt locking system on a PVCu door
Hook bolt locking mechanism on a white PVCu door

Security systems on PVCu windows and doors on conservatories and orangeries have progressed from externally beaded frames with little reinforcement and cockspur handles to internally beaded profiles, full steel or aluminium reinforcement and shoot bolt locking systems. The insulation qualities of the latest ‘A’ rated windows could never have been imagined back in the 1960’s when double glazing in aluminium frames was introduced to the United Kingdom. There are even PVCu windows available which replicate traditional timber sliding sashes, with spiral balances in place of weights and pulleys but with the modern advantages of excellent insulation and security built-in.

Just A Quote free quotation service

Just a Quote offers a free online quotation service for conservatories and orangeries.  Complete the form opposite and we will introduce you to up to four local companies who design, manufacture and install conservatories and orangeries. We aim to ensure that you receive the best advice, best products, best designs and most of all the best deal.

Consider this…..first, the bad news…

There are fewer industries that have been criticised in the way that the replacement window and door, conservatories and orangeries industry has been in the United Kingdom. The stereotypical ‘double glazing salesman’ is disliked and ridiculed along with tax inspectors and second hand car salesmen, and sometimes for very good reason. Most home owners have heard stories of dubious sales techniques; false discounts, poor quality installations and non-existent after-sales service.  And the statistics don’t help either. There are approximately 17,500 window, door and conservatory installation companies in the United Kingdom and they carry out over two million separate installations every year.

In the year to March 2011 Consumer Direct received approximately 85,000 complaints regarding home improvements, with approximately 15,000 of those specifically about windows, doors, conservatories and orangeries.

Now the good news…

There are however, some excellent, well-designed products available which are diligently installed by experienced craftsmen who take pride in their work and who are employed by companies which genuinely do care for their customers. Major advancements have been made in the technology and design of new conservatories and orangeries over the past few decades which have resulted in a much better offering for customers. Alongside this, regulations governing the standards which good quality windows and doors should meet have been strengthened and policed to help improve the industry generally. PVCu products which are designed to resemble real timber are much more realistic and durable than the early versions which not only looked false, but faded badly in sunlight. Equally, composite windows and doors, which are now available in a wide range of colours and wood grain effects, mean that the days of ‘any colour you want as long as it’s white’, are long gone.

If you are considering conservatories and orangeries for your home, Just a Quote aims to offer the best advice, best products, best designs and the best deal.  Complete the form today and one of our authorised installation companies will telephone you to discuss your requirements.  They will only visit your home to carry out a survey if you invite them.