Frequently Asked Questions About Conservatories

We get many questions about conservatories. Here are a few; hopefully some will answer your questions.

conservatoryWhat is the difference between a conservatory, a sunroom, and a solarium?
A conservatory (pictured right) is a four-season room with glass walls and, most importantly, a glass roof that keeps the inside of your house from becoming dark and cavelike. Because of new technologies in materials, conservatories can be used in all types of climates. Conservatories are very traditional in design, and work well with traditional style homes.A conservatory can be called a “sunroom” but not all sunrooms are conservatories.

Sun rooms are defined differently in every part of the country. Most usually, they are pre-fab room additions, fairly low-cost, with lots of windows and a solid roof. In today’s market, the roof is usually a high-density foam product. Sunrooms are not designed to be used in the winter in harsh climates and the windows are usually single pane.

The best example of a solarium is the curved glass, contemporary/commercial looking structures on the side of Wendy’s or a Dairy Queen. Pre-fab versions are available at home improvement stores.

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Why should I use your services instead of buying an already-designed structure?
The style and design of every home is unique. Even more unique are the people living in the home itself! A Conservatory Craftsmen is designed specifically to match the home on which it is placed, and to suit the lifestyle expectations of the home owner.

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You stress that you don’t use PVC in your buildings. Why not?
Lots of people put vinyl siding on their homes. Polyvinylchloride is thought by most to be a maintenance-free product. They are right, it is maintenance free — while it lasts. Sun breaks down PVC over time (depending on how many other chemicals are added to the mix — like Cadmium, which is not allowed in PVC in our country, but allowed in Europe and all PVC conservatories originate in Europe). After 10-15 years, vinyl siding gets hard, brittle and breaks. It also fades with time.We feel a conservatory should be a lifetime treasure added to your home once, not every 15 years. We started building conservatories 20 years ago. They are all still standing and being used by their owners every day. We think they may stay that way for the next 100 years! (For more information on PVC, visit www.myhouseisyourhouse.org.)

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Do I need an architect?
Not every project needs an architect, but most every project is improved with an architect. Rule of thumb: if spending $100,000 on a home improvement, hire an architect.

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How long does it take from design to completion?
The design phase can sometimes take longer than construction! Since the homeowners are going to live with their conservatory for a long time, we have known them to spend anywhere from six months to six years in planning their conservatory. But once we start on the project and designs are complete, we can usually be on the job site within 4-5 months, and the actual construction of the conservatory will take less than a month.

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Where do you build conservatories? Are you a local company?
Much of the raw materials and extrusion for conservatories come from Europe to our shop in the USA. We custom pre-fabricate your conservatory, and bring it to your home, ready to install. We work in all of North and Central America and have built conservatories in 17 states in just the last three years!

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How do you determine cost?
A conservatory will cost about the same as a new luxury car. The more bells and whistles in the car, the more expensive it is. A conservatory is quite the same.

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