What is the Difference Between a Glass Extension and a Conservatory

Modern extension with sliding pocket doors
Glass Box Extensions by IQ Glass
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From aesthetics to planning and practicality, a glass room can often be a better choice than a traditional conservatory.

Glass Room added to a listed property
Glass Room added to a listed property

When considering a beautiful glass room, one of the most common questions people ask is how they differ from a standard conservatory. Certainly, there are plenty of similarities; both provide a bridge between indoor and outdoor living, allowing you plenty of natural light while protecting you from the elements. They both act as an extension to your home; a place where you can relax and enjoy the garden view. Apart from that, there are some very notable differences…

Aesthetics

Unlike a conservatory, a glass room aims to create a smooth transition to the outside with full glazing, providing unobstructed views. Where conservatories have large clunky frames, a glass room is made of frameless glass panels, giving it a clean minimal look with more light and visibility. Depending on the design, some glass extensions have sliding glass doors or bi folding doors that open completely, transforming home extending the living area.

Achieve your dream glass extension
Achieve your dream glass extension

Planning Constraints

A conservatory or a glass room is an extension to the house, meaning it requires a building permit and must comply with statutory regulations regarding air-tightness and insulation to ensure it complies with energy efficiency values. However, you can build various single storey extensions without planning permission, providing the extension accords with the following:

  • The extension does not sit forward of the principal elevation.
  • Where it is within 2m of any boundary, the eaves cannot be higher than 3m, and no more than 4m in height otherwise.
  • Rear extensions — no more than 4m in depth (detached house) or 3m in depth (semi-detached or terrace).
  • Side extensions — the width of the extension must not be greater than half the width of the original dwelling.

Glass box extension

Glass box extension

Cost

Glass rooms are generally more expensive than a conservatory to construct. However, the quality and durability of the aluminium construction versus uPVC conservatories quite clearly account for the higher price.

Contemporary glass extension
Contemporary glass extension

Workmanship

Glass Box Extensions are all designed and made to measure by the millimetre before the frames are constructed and the glazing is cut with laser precision. This means installation is quick and efficient with few errors. Issues commonly faced by conservatory builds, such as tightness gaps and condensed water, are not common issues with glass extensions and glass room installations.

Glass extension to a grade II listed house
Glass extension to a grade II listed house

If you would like to find out more about glass rooms and glass extensions, please give the team at IQ Glass a call on 01494 722 880 or email us at hello@iqglassuk.com.

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Rebecca is Head of Marketing at the IQ Group and has worked in glazing specification for many years. She has a broad range of technical knowledge about all our glazing products and offers technical advice and guidance to architects for specification. Her easy to digest technical advice is often quoted in magazines and publications. You might also recognise her as one of the IQ Glass CPD presenters.