Found in many different types of properties throughout the UK, Lean-to are particularly popular because they can be added to almost any home due to their flexible nature.
So whether you have a small bungalow or a large detached house – a lean-to conservatory, or Mediterranean conservatory as they also sometimes called, is the perfect addition to your home.
If you’ve never seen one before, you’ll recognise it because it has a single sided flat sloping roof which “leans” against the adjoining property wall
A lean-to conservatory like this is also probably the easiest way to add extra space to your home. Most small or medium sized conservatories of this type can be added to a home without the need for planning permission.
The basic shape of a lean to design is rectangular and can most often be found attached to the real wall of a property. However, the design is such, that you can use the lean-to to “wrap around” a corner, creating an “L-shaped room (it looks like an L, when viewed from overhead).
Offered in several different and attractive designs styles, the frame structures themselves can be made from timber, Aluminium or uPVC.
The sides of the room can be floor to ceiling glass or part glazed-part solid. Very often the lower sections of the sides (up to a few feet in height) will be made of brick or block-work. This is commonly referred to as a “dwarf-wall”.
Some things to consider include the type of roof that you would like to have your conservatory. Although the typical installation will have a single plane, sloped flat roof made from glass or poly-carbonate panels, it does not mean that you cannot have a more ornate look if you wish.
Although costlier to install, Gull-wing roofing can make a lean-to conservatory look ornate and stylish.
The main options for your roof are to have it fully glazed or tiled in some fashion. Solid roofing for conservatories has become very popular of late, especially as many homeowners who re-furbish their exiting room opt for a new look.
A solid or tiled lean-to conservatory roof does cut out all of the sun glare and heat build-up that can make some glass rooms uncomfortably hot – but, you do lose a lot of natural lighting.
The glazed roof option can be made from clear glass, usually fitted with double glazing or with sheets of polycarbonate.
Glass roof prices are more expensive than polycarbonate but you get a lot more for your money. Poly-carbonate roofing can also be noisy when it’s raining and they don’t insulate nearly as well as a double glazed full glass conservatory roof.
If you are going to use glass for the roof, you should fit sealed double glazed panels. Upgraded performance such as “solar-control” low emissivity coatings & tinting will help to ensure the heat and glare from the sun is kept under control so the room is comfortable to use all year long, no matter what the weather (self-cleaning glass is also a bonus!)
You can see more about types of glazing by a leading manufacturer here: Pilkington Glass – https://www.pilkington.com/en-gb/uk/products/product-categories/solar-control
If it’s a solid roof that you’re looking for, they can be made from different types of tile or slate. This option is increasingly popular with homeowners.
Apart from the transformation in terms of looks, another reason for the rise in popularity of tiled roofing is, as mentioned previously, that some conservatories can suffer from too much heat or glare from the sun.
Many older conservatory roofs also had problems with condensation and heat loss during colder weather. Fitting a solid roof addresses and resolves these issues.
To make the most of the room and to enjoy it fully, you should consider features such as:
Power outlets – how many and where to best locate them?
Lighting – what type of lighting?
Heating – do you require “built-in” heating such as underfloor or wall mounted radiators?
Flooring – tiled / wood / laminate / rugs
Curtains / blinds – Venetian or Roman blinds work well for glass walls and roof shading.
Furnishing – this will determine the primary use of the room (leisure / work / dining etc.).
These aspects are important to consider very early on in the process of buying a new conservatory because many of these things are not included in the “supply & fit” cost of a new lean-to conservatory.
They are a much lower cost way of adding new living space to your home than building a regular extension.
Since, in the majority of cases, planning permission for a conservatory is not required, it will save time, money and the problems that people often face when getting the extensions’ architectural plans drawn up and then dealing with council planning departments in trying to get those plans approved.
Again, compared to a regular home extension, the time line for construction is much less and the work needed to install a lean-to conservatory is nowhere near as complex or as disruptive.
An average sized lean-to can easily be fully installed within 7 to 10 working days.
However, not only will you get the same space for less money, you also get almost the same return on your investment. It is reported that a good conservatory can add around 7% to the resale value of a home in the UK (a full extension can add around 10%).
The Lean to Conservatory is well suited to properties with a smaller outdoor area. They can be fitted to a small patio area, or to the side of your home – to avoid taking up space in your back garden, or even wrap around a corner of the house to maximise available space.
The low roof-line makes them particularly suited for bungalows.
Having said that, there are some great examples of bespoke lean-to’s for larger homes.
The cost of lean-to conservatories varies depending upon the labour costs and specific materials chosen.
However, this design is one of the most affordable type available and a fully installed small 3×3 conservatory could be as little as £5,000 to £5,500 – and this price would include:
Of course, it’s always best to get written quotations from at least 4 different companies so that you can compare your options and see what the prices in the market are.