Do you have an old conservatory? If you do, chances are you suffer from it being too cold in winter and too hot in summer. So why not convert it to an insulated garden room that you can enjoy all year round? A light, but well insulated room that bridges the gap between the garden and the house.

It seems to be very much the alteration of the moment. We’ve worked on several in recent months. We just completed one at half the cost of knocking down the conservatory and rebuilding it as an extension. Best of all, in most cases, it shouldn’t need planning permission.

What’s involved in converting a conservatory into a garden room?

The easiest conversions involve simply replacing the roof. Our preferred method is to switch a glass roof for a “warm flat” roof. This solid tiled roof gives a robust feeling to the extension. You still, however, benefit from the airy and light environment of a conservatory.

A warm flat roof should be compatible with any type of conservatory. It allows heat to be conserved with no requirement for roof void ventilation. It is also designed to prevent condensation, and reduces external noise. Choosing the right tiles to finish the roof can help it blend in with the rest of your house.

Incorporating a lantern in your new roof is a nice touch. Mixing and matching between a solid roof and glass created shaded areas where people can use laptops or watch TV. But you still benefit from plenty of natural light. It’s much more in keeping with modern lifestyles.

This type of roof conversion can usually be carried out pretty quickly with minimal disruption. There may be some work needed to strengthen the frame and base to take the extra load of the roof. The approach will depend on your existing structure, but may involve fitting extra support posts discreetly behind existing frames.

For a more extensive revamp, you could consider replacing the windows and doors in addition to the new roof. You could choose glass with extra thermal efficiency, for example. Or bi-fold doors rather than traditional sliding doors. It may also be possible to improve your wall frames with bricks, giving the whole structure more of an extension feel.

How much does it cost?

The beauty of this type of conservatory transformation is that you end up with an extra room for your house at a fraction of the cost of an extension.

A simple conservatory roof replacement project would cost, on average, between £2,500 and £5,000.

A more extensive revamp involving new glass and doors could be in the region of £4,500 to £7,000.

The insulated roof comes with the benefits of helping reduce energy bills, so there will be some pay back on your initial investment over time. It may also add value to your home when it comes to selling.

Remember building regulations

Conservatories aren’t subject to building regulations. But this changes if you replace the glazed roof with a tiled one. As such, it’s subject to regulations regarding structural integrity, insulation and fire risk.

Make sure you work with a professional builder who will ensure all requirements are met and that the roof installed is suitably supported by the existing structure. Make sure you get a proper certificate for the completed work. This becomes particularly important when it comes to selling your house.