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What’s the difference between a Conservatory and an Orangery?

What’s the difference between a Conservatory and an Orangery

What’s the difference between a Conservatory and an Orangery?

The main difference between a conservatory and an orangery is the material the roof is made from and the way it is constructed. Typically an orangery will be constructed as follows:

1. Solid flat fibreglass roof with central glazed roof lantern

2. More brickwork to the front and side elevations than glass

3. Decorative cornice gutter instead of standard U shaped guttering

4. More brickwork to the front and side elevations than glass

5. Brick piers to front of the building with an internal perimeter pelmet

It is a question we get asked a lot from our customers and can be the source of a lot of confusion. If you were to ask your average person on the street you are likely to end up with whole host of difference answers. So what are the differences between a conservatory and an orangery?.

History and Origins of Orangery’s

The term orangery dates back to the Renaissance period of the 15th and 16th century and was used to describe a standalone permanent structure used to house and grow citrus trees. These often grandly designed buildings, usually built by the wealthy upper class, were often constructed with brick and stone walls to protect the plants inside from the harsh British winter with a glass lantern within the roof to allow the plants to receive sun light to help them grow. As time went on and agricultural technologies advanced these building were used less for growing oranges and became more a status symbol with members of the upper class adding them to the rear of their homes to connect their houses with their gardens.

History and Origins of Conservatory’s

Again owing their heritage to agricultural conservatories began being built during the 17th century and were used to grown tropical plants and fruits withing European countries such as here in England. Advancing upon the typical brick built design of the earlier orangeries conservatories were typically constructed from iron and single sheets of glass with sloping roofs to allow as much light and heat to enter the room to help the plants typically grown in warmer climates flourish. As technology in glass progressed and insulated double glazed units came into production around the 1970’s homeowners began building smaller domestic versions of the Victorian style conservatories and adding them to the back of their homes.

Modern day Orangeries and Conservatories

Fast forward to the 21st century and both conservatories and orangery’s are now very much common place within British households and come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and colour combinations and with new advances in glass technology and the thermal efficiency of the frames they have become more like glazed extensions rather then upmarket greenhouses.

Due to the similarities between the two it can be difficult for the average home owner to know the difference between a conservatory and and orangery which can be the source of a lot of confusion when deciding which of the two best suits their needs and requirements.

So, what is the difference between the two? We have outlined the main characteristics and benefits of both which hopefully will help to distinguish between the two and point you in the right direction


Main Characteristics

1. An orangery is typically constructed with a flat roof with a central glass roof lantern meaning that less then 75% of the roof area is glazed. Due to this as the structure is classed as a habitable room meaning you must apply for building regulations permission for its construction.

2. Internally the roof of an orangery is plastered and typically has down lights installed into the pelmet around the perimeter.

3. Due to the roof being flat orangery’s tend to have a decorative cornice around the top of the brickwork in front of the main gutter to give it an ornate finish.

3. Orangeries tend to be rectangular in shape or with additional brickwork to the front elevation entrance forming a T formation.


An orangery is a great choice for the homeowner who is looking for an extension on their home that has the added benefit of natural light brought in by the central roof lantern. Due to the construction of the roof, orangery’s do tend to be be more expensive than a conservatory of a similar shape and size therefore this is something to take into consideration when budgeting for your home improvements.


Main Characteristics

1. Unlike orangery’s conservatories come in a variety of shapes such a 3 or 5 faceted Victorian’s, rectangular Edwardian or a traditional Lean-to sun room.

2. Conservatories do not come under building regulations due to the roof being more than 75% glazed meaning it is not classed as a habitable room.

3. Although over the years homeowners has been requested more and more brickwork on their conservatories typically they are constructed with dwarf walls to the front and side flanks with windows and doors meaning they are made up mostly of glass


A conservatory is a great choice for the homeowner who is looking for a variety of options in terms of shape and design and is looking for a new room that seamlessly blends their outside space and their home.

Five Key Benefits of a Solid Conservatory Roof Replacement

Tiled Roof Conservatory

Adding a conservatory to any house comes with its numerous advantages, such as extra space, increased light and air flow, but many homeowners aren’t using them to their full potential. The problem often comes down to seasonality, as conservatories can be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, and with the UK’s famously unpredictable weather, this can also be a deal breaker for those looking to extend their properties and can result in the conservatory being unused.

By replacing your existing roof with a solid conservatory roof you can instantly transform you unused conservatory into a year round usable room. In addition to this solid conservatory roof replacements also offer the following benefits;

1) Thermal Efficiency

They are extremely thermal efficient with a U value of 0.16U which is fifteen times more thermally efficient than 16mm polycarbonate or conservatory roof glass used for conservatory that were installed some years ago helping you to save money on your heating bills

2) Building Control Compliant

By removing the glazing from your roof and replacing it with a solid panels or tiles the building is no longer classed as a conservatory and therefore requires building regulations. The good news is is the solid roof systems are all fully compliant with building control meaning that all that is required is a simple application form before the work starts and a visit from an inspector once completed.

3) Cost Effective

A brick built, flat roof extension can not only be very disruptive and take months to complete but they can also be proved to be very costly. By converting and making us of your existing conservatory you can achieve the same outcome for a fraction of the cost!

4) Add value to your property

By replacing your conservatory roof and turning your disused room into a new glazed extension that can be used year round you can potentially increase the value of your home and therefore recuperate the cost of the work.

5) Improved Acoustics

The added insulation not only keeps the temperature more consistent, it also improves the acoustics by keeping unwanted noise out so whatever the weather you will still have peace and quite in your new glazed extension

When getting quotes

The quality of products and overall packages can vary considerably. Hopefully the following will give you an indication of what to look out for when obtaining quotes. The difference between the products companies can offer and their quality can be vast. Research from consumer protection groups such as ‘Which?’ has shown the common misconception amongst the public is the larger the company the better the product. Always ensure you view first hand either a sample of product or request to see a previous installation. Also ensure the company has showrooms you can visit to enable you to view their products. What to look for when viewing the product: • Security – are the windows internally glazed? External glazed windows are a burglars dream • Are the transom bars below the fan lights welded? If not mechanically joined, then it’s a cheaply produced window • Insulation values – Is the actual window frame itself without the glass energy ‘A’ rated? • Did the company demonstrate with a heat lamp the ‘A’ rated glass? • Will you get an independent BFRC energy rated ‘A’ certificate on compensation of works? • Guarantees – Is the guarantee for ten or fifteen years? And deposits insurance backed? • Do you receive an independent insurance back guarantee from a recognised body like the CPA? Please be aware your FENSA certificate isn’t an insurance guarantee • Are the sealed units included for the duration of the guarantee? The British public are renowned for politeness with their manners which pushy salesmen have been known to us to their advantage. They also often employ dishonest selling tactics by offering so call fantastic offers such as: • “If you order now we can knock off ‘X’ amount” • “Just let me phone my manager to get you a discount” • “We can give you ‘X’ amount off for a show house if we can leave an advert board behind” • “We can do you a better deal if we put your order through as trade or commercial deal” • “You are in luck, to get our figures for the month then an order now will be ‘X’ discount”. As is usually the case, the so called discount has been secretly added on to the quote at the start Hopefully the above gives you a guide regarding what to look out for regarding quality and service. If you have any further questions, please contact us as we will be only happy to help on 01708 227777.


We have recently joined Checkatrade. They are a great organisation who are dedicated to stamping the cowboys out of the industry. Please see our page here http://www.checkatrade.com/TheKenRhodesWindowandConservatoryCoLtd/

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