New conservatory,air conditioning v ceiling blinds

  Brumas 13:02 20 Nov 2010

We are having to replace the shanty outside our backdoor, which pretended to be a conservatory, as it is literally falling to pieces. The old chap, from whom we bought our tiny bungalow, was a bit of a ‘jerry builder’. He must have seen two wooden double glazed window units sitting in a skip and built a ‘conservatory’ around them! It was approx. 7 foot x 8 foot and was really just a repository for an old dresser and a small table and chair. It couldn’t/wasn’t used in the winter as it freezing cold and in the summer it was like a small oven!

As our bungalow is so small, we have to eat our meals on trays on our laps, we have decided to have the new conservatory run the full width of the bungalow thus enabling us to actually have a dining table and chairs! The problem is I do not relish the thought of sitting in a 20 foot x nine foot lean to greenhouse, which in effect it will be!

We are obviously going to have window blinds and had thought of ceiling blinds also which would hopefully block out the full heat of the sun. We have as yet to find out the cost of ceiling blinds but online research tells me that they will be expensive and the pot is nearly empty!

I thought air-conditioning might prove to be a more workable/economic solution so I would like to know have if any of you have similar experiences and what was the best solution.

Air-conditioning or Ceiling blinds, pros & cons, effectiveness & running costs?

  Brumas 13:13 20 Nov 2010

I have looked at Polycool but think it might be a bit fiddly to install.

  jakimo 13:20 20 Nov 2010

'He was a geriatric builer then'

  Brumas 13:28 20 Nov 2010


  Quickbeam 13:46 20 Nov 2010

Air con has running costs, blinds don't.
Air con doesn't shield you from excess direct sunlight, blinds do.
Air con doesn't offer privacy, blinds do if fitted on the sides as well.
If you intend to use it all year round you need heating not cooling.
Top opening lights on all sides give secure through ventilation which will lose most of the excess heat for free.

You pays your money etc... the down side is that both cost about the same, good blinds aren't cheap.

  Brumas 14:20 20 Nov 2010

We will have radiators run from the central heating system, but I take your points.

  Brumas 14:42 20 Nov 2010

Blackhat - I would welcome your opinion.

  Quickbeam 14:56 20 Nov 2010

too much sun light will badly fade your postcard collection!

  Forum Editor 15:18 20 Nov 2010

Your new conservatory should have double glazing units in windows and on the roof that comply with the building regulations.

This means that on the roof you must have the outer leaf toughened and the inner leaf laminated, and the inner leaf should be Low E glass.

All window units must also have Low E glass on the inner leaf, and if any glazing is within 600mm of the floor it must also be toughened. In practice the makers of double glazing units tend to make all of them with toughened glass by default.

Make sure the floor is insulated - with rigid foam (100mm thick) beneath a floor slab if it's concrete, and 75mm foil-backed foam (kingspan or Celotex) between the joists under the boards if it's a suspended timber floor.

Window and roof blinds will be very effective against solar gain, although they aren't cheap and will tend to fade in time, so choose a pale colour to start with. Air conditioning will have running costs, be noisy, and looks ugly unless you spend a great deal of money.

Polycool is only for use with polycarbonate roofs, and if you can afford it you should choose glass. It looks far nicer, will last longer, is stronger, and dougle glazed units are more efficient in terms of insulation.

  bjh 16:42 20 Nov 2010

Although retrofitting ceiling blinds is marginally more difficult than fitting at the time of construction, you may well find you do not need them, or would find the price not worth paying for the few days you do need them. We've got a large south-facing conservatory here in Kent, and it does heat up rather, but not too much. Having as many window openers as possible is always a good idea, and doesn't add much to the build cost. Personally, I wouldn't go for roof openers; they seem prone to fail, and getting conservatory guys back once they have your money seems v.difficult, in our experience.

We've also got two simple fans in ours (not air conditioning), and they help vent the air enough on all but the hottest moments of midsummer - and we are sitting in the garden then, anyway. We aren't overlooked, so no need for blinds for privacy.

If it's for all-year use, heating in winter is likely to be the bigger problem. Ours is fine at the moment on a sunny day for lunch and early supper, but you'd need heating for anything earlier or later, and it'll be expensive. Wooly hat and mittens?

Certainly ensure the floor is well insulated, walls too, if the glass is not full length. I'm not a fan of the self-clean glass that gets offered, as it seems to require a decent amount of sun then rain to work, and I believe it may be prone to scratching. Reflective glass is better, but the tint may irritate; it does irritate me, anyway.

Oh, and we went for white marble flooring - mistake.... it's dazzling in the sun, even if it does look pretty!

  caccy 16:57 20 Nov 2010

I agree with BJH about use in the winter.
Ours is open plan into the dining room and living room but this time of the year the curtains are drawn across the opening in the evening even though there is some heating in the conservatory. ( There used to be french doors between it and the main house.)

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