Ever Considered a Conservatory Kitchen?

If you’re the type of person who likes a lot of light around them in the house then you have no doubt considered investing in a conservatory in the past. There is no better way to embrace daylight and the sun’s rays, after all.

And that’s why it’s understandable many families these days are opting to combine open plan living with the addition of a conservatory kitchen. Not everyone wants – or can afford – an extension, after all. So, how do you go about fashioning a kitchen conservatory? Well, here are some expert tips right here:

Check you have planning permission

You wouldn’t normally need planning permission if your conservatory isn’t too large (ie more than three metres beyond the rear of the house if attached, or four metres for a detached property). If you’re planning something bigger or with two storeys this would be considered an extension and requires approval from your local planning department.

Who will, however, certainly need to check with the Council’s Building Control team for a conservatory kitchen. They will want to ensure that your drainage is in line with their regulations and that electrical works are similarly fitted in an expert fashion.

If the property is a Listed Building you’ll need permission from Historic England to make any changes at all. The same applies if your home sits in what is termed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Design aspects of a conservatory kitchen

  • Talking of location, where the conservatory is added to your home obviously depends on its current situation (a conservatory is usually at the back or side of a property). If the back of your home is south facing then consider getting special solar responsive windows. This ensures the conservatory kitchen isn’t too warm – especially when you’re cooking!
  • Forget cooking with gas – it can be too complicated to connect pipes in a conservatory kitchen. There are some terrific electric appliances around today anyway, such as induction cookers. Just make sure you have enough sockets for all those plugs!
  • Obviously plumbing is crucial for your kitchen. The length of your current pipes could dictate where your sink, dishwasher etc will go – unless they can be easily extended. It’s perfectly possible to plan the rest of the kitchen design around the fabled Kitchen Triangle (ie the sink, cooker and fridge all being within reach from one position).
  • Having so much glass makes you very visible in your conservatory kitchen. Invest in some vertical fabric blinds or pull-down versions. You could have curtains too for a cosier feel.
  • You are going to be doing a lot of cooking in this space, and there’s going to be lots of warmth – especially in the summer. So, in order to avoid the room becoming too stuffy and uncomfortable to sit in, place adequate ventilation. This could be in the form of ceiling fans, opening roof vents or sliding doors which can be left ajar.

Get in touch today

If you’re considering a conservatory kitchen then do get in touch with the team here at Sovereign for a no-obligation chat. We will be happy to discuss options and come up with recommendations unique to your situation. Call us on 01277 810 910.


A Compelling Case for Composite Doors

Thinking of investing in a new front or back door? If so, experts agree, composite doors should be your first choice.

Why? Well, they don’t just look good thanks to a wealth of contemporary designs and colours, but security-wise they are well above standard. And the latter is nothing to be complacent about. Figures from the government’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) show there were 291,816 residential burglaries in England and Wales between June 2018 and June 2019. Not surprisingly, when the nights are darkest (October to February) the number of break-ins increase by more than one third. This begs the question, how secure are your doors and windows?

What makes composite doors so strong?

The main reason composite doors get such high praise from those in the home security realm is because of the way they are constructed. Unlike timber and uPVC glass doors for instance, composite doors are capable of withstanding salt erosion (perfect for those who live near the sea), chemicals and UV light (which can quickly fade colour in ordinary doors).

Composite doors are also twice the thickness of uPVC doors. That’s because they comprise either a thick foam core which is coated in Glass Reinforced Plastic (GPR) or a solid timber core with an inner thermo-plastic. Here at Sovereign Home we are proud to be able to announce that our own 48mm thick timber composite doors are around 10 per cent thicker than our nearest competitors, making them the most secure on the market.

Hardly lacking when it comes to locks

Shockingly, a recent survey by the online consumer site MoneySupermarket showed that five per cent of house burglaries are caused by the thief simply walking in through the front door! But if you’re not the absent-minded type and do actually remember to secure the door when you go out – is your current lock good enough? After all, the same survey showed that thieves got in by the front door in almost three quarter of burglary cases in England and Wales.

Our composite doors are all fixed with the Ultion system of locks to ensure once you’ve turned the key, it can’t be picked. That’s because if a burglar does attempt to prise open the door by tampering with the lock a second, hidden lock springs into action. This provides double protection – regardless of whether you leave the key in the lock overnight or not.

Household items most regularly stolen

Those burglars that do manage to penetrate a home’s defences usually look for cash, says the MoneySupermarket survey. Next most popular items are laptops and other electronic devices. Almost one third of burglars also make off with jewellery, including watches. Make sure it’s not yours they’re after…

Get in touch for your peace of mind

At Sovereign Home we offer a choice of up to 256 different colour combinations of doors. They range from contemporary shades to beautiful and realistic woodgrains. To find out how a composite door can improve your home security and, at the same time, enhance the appearance of your home, get in touch today. Call 0800 1777 771 or email us at info@sovereignhome.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!


Are Conservatories Cold in Winter?

Some conservatories – particular older structures built more than a decade ago– can certainly be cold in winter (and conversely too hot in summer). But certainly not all conservatories – and especially the newer-built models that we provide here at Sovereign Homes. The reason for this is mainly down to the superior glazing used today ie solar reflective glass.

Rework your roofing

Advanced technology in glazing means it’s possible to have a tiled roof with thermal insulating properties meaning it’ll be warmer during the winter and keep out heat during the summer months. And the best bit? This type of light-weight roof can also be retro-fitted, provided the existing structure is strong enough to support it.

But you don’t have to do away with glass in your conservatory roof completely. Not, that is, if you go for a hybrid option ie a roof that has both tile and glass panels. Vaulted powder-coated aluminium roof panels and insulted glass panels can work well together to regulate temperature in a conservatory. Certainly, both of these options (the thermal tiling and hybrid roof) are far better and more functional than the original polycarbonate or decade-old double-glass roofing.

But what if you’ve already replaced your roof in recent years and you’re still feeling a tad on the chilly side? Well, look out for the following heat thieves too:

Gaps in windows and doors

After a period of time – and with much use – doors and windows can start to lose insulating efficiency. Gaps can develop and need to be sealed.

Dampness

It puts a chill in us just writing that word but it’s true – dampness can make any room feel cold. And worse still, if it’s allowed to exist untreated then it will spread and can cost quite a bit of money to repair. If the dampness is minor then make sure the conservatory is well-insulated. One way to achieve this is to leave the doors between the conservatory and house open. Next, use a dehumidifier to prevent it getting any worse.

Cold flooring

Because it’s on ground level, conservatory floors can be cold; particularly in winter. One way to alleviate this problem is to install under-floor heating; a less costly option is to put down a large rug or several smaller scatter rugs to toast your toes while you’re sitting down. And, on that note, keeping blankets and big snuggly cushions in your conservatory during the autumn and winter months, isn’t a bad idea either…

Exposed windows

There’s a reason we close the curtains at night – it keeps the heat in during the winter. If you’ve no curtains or blinds in your conservatory because you like the sight of plain glass, then it’s time to reconsider.

No helpful heating

We think nothing of switching on the storage heating in our homes when it gets cold, so why shouldn’t we turn on heating in the conservatory too? Electric heaters aren’t particularly expensive to buy (although they will cost more than gas and storage when it comes to the utility bill). If you’re only using them during the really cold periods then surely you can justify their use?

Even just employing two or three of the measures mentioned in this article can make a big difference to the temperature of your conservatory. Do the lot and your conservatory may just become the most popular room in your home this winter!

Thinking of getting a conservatory – or need some advice on making her existing extension warmer? Then why not give us a call here at Sovereign Homes today? Tel: 01277 810 910.


Triple Glazing vs Double Glazing

Fancy upgrading your windows – or about to choose windows for a self-build – but confused over which to type to choose? Then you’re not alone.

Unless you actually work in the construction industry, you’re unlikely to have read all that much research on the different kinds of glazing available today – such as double glazing and tripe glazing. And hence the reason for this article – to summarise the difference and the benefits of both: 

Double glazing 

The way double glazing works is by trapping a gas (usually Argon) inside two panes of glass. The reason Argon is chosen is because it’s heavier than air, making it a poor heat conductor. As a result, it traps more heat in your room.

Types of double glazing available

It’s possible to buy double glazing in different designs, such as Turn & Tilt, Bi-folding and in windows large enough to fit Conservatories and Orangeries.

Triple glazing

Triple glazing has, as its name suggest, three panes of glass. Instead of Argon it’s often Krypton glass that is used for thermal insulation in between the panes.

The additional panes and gas make triple glazing at least two degrees warmer than double glazing. A room in a new-build home with energy-efficient double glazing will be around 16°C if heated to 21°C; but with triple glazing the heat can reach 18°C.

Experts have calculated that around 20 per cent of the heat in a room escapes via the windows so it’s important to get the right type of glazing for your home and current insulation needs.

For this reason, you’ll find triple glazing routinely used in countries such as Norway and Sweden. It gets colder there, of course, and whether triple glazing is necessary here in the UK with our milder winters, is a big point of debate.

Another criticism of triple glazing is whether it’s possible to recoup the additional costs. For instance, it could take at least two decades to make up the difference considering the savings in your energy bill may only be around £40 a year. The only way you could really maximise the benefits of triple glazing is if the whole house was insulated to the same extent and is what you can expect from a Passivhaus design concept.

Benefits of double glazing

  • It’s cheaper (at least 20 per cent cheater than triple glazing)
  • Double glazing today can have a U value (which is used to measure energy efficiency) of 1.6. This compares to 0.8 for triple glazing – so there’s really not a huge amount of difference between the two.
  • They are light and easy to fit (heavier glazing, such as triple, usually requires more robust window frames to support the weight of the additional pane of glass).

Benefits of triple glazing

  • You’ll save more money on your annual heating bills due to better insulation
  • If your doors and flooring are insulated to the same extent (giving you a constant room temperature) then you’ll really maximise on the savings.
  • Some Passivhaus designs claim energy bills as low as £120 a year.

If you’d like to chat about the type of windows that would be best for your home, then do give us a call here. We’d be happy to provide some guidance. Simply call us on 0800 1777 771.


Why Planning and Design for your Extension or New Home is Essential

Come the start of the new year there is no better time to sit down and start planning that new extension or conservatory. Or maybe you’re even more ambitious and in the market for building a new home?

Whatever your and your family’s home construction dream, in order to get the most for your money it’s essential to plan meticulously from the off. Enthusiasm to get started is great – but the build process has to be methodical and well-thought out from the very start. And that means covering a number of different aspects, such as:

  • A site survey. This can determine what kind of soil the ground you plan on building on has and whether it’s really suitable for what you’re planning after all. Poor soil could lead to more expensive foundations having to be built or the land could be a flooding risk. You’ll also want to know if the land is on a slope and what the drainage facilities nearby are like. So, it’s essential not to skip this part!
  • This is where you sit down with the architectural designer and explain what’s in your mind. You can then both work together and discuss what the finished outcome should look – and feel – like. A designer can provide you with ideas you may never even have considered. He or she can also advise you about new materials on the market, including eco solutions.
  • It’s very easy when building a new home or extension to go over budget. And it’s why you need an experienced design company to advise you during the build. It all depends on what materials you plan on using and the type of fixtures and fittings opted for. A designer can ‘rein you in’ should you get carried away (and it’s extremely easy for this to happen!).
  • Planning applications. You will more than likely have to apply for planning permission. This varies from council to council but there are uniform restrictions regarding how high you can build so that your plans aren’t intrusive to neighbouring properties. The appearance of your extension or home will also have to be ‘signed off’ by council planners. The forms have to be filled out in a particular style and tend to be pretty detailed.
  • CAD plans. Design technology is pretty impressive these days. It allows you to see three dimensional renderings (representations) of your extension or property. This gives you a better feel for the space and means you can correct any inconsistencies right at the start (saving you money further down the line when a piece of wall has to come down etc). You can also alter the CAD drawing as the project advances eg change the window frames, add furniture for perspective etc. In many cases it’s possible to have a virtual walkthrough of your home before the first brick has even been laid!
  • Drawings for building regulations. It could prove necessary to present documents to the Building Control department of the council. Whereas Planning deals more with the environment, physical layout and use of an extension, house etc, Building Control is more interested in aspects such as the materials being used, the building’s structure, insulation and access.

Find out more about what the planning and design of an extension or new home involves by taking a look at our planning and design section here.