Adding an orangery can increase the value of your home, as they are an attractive feature to buyers. But even if you’re not considering selling your home in the foreseeable future, an orangery is still a good investment.
An orangery allows you to create an additional room that combines a standard extension with a conservatory; a standard extension is a continuation of your main building, complete with sympathetic decor, fixtures and fittings, whilst a conservatory provides lots of natural light and a great view of your garden.
Partially glazed, the main structure of an orangery is made of brick. It is therefore quite feasible for you to carry out much of the structural work of an orangery yourself, asking your builders to construct the walls (perhaps a base wall of maybe a meter high plus pillars of brick to support the roof, interspersed with glass) whilst you could fit the roof. You can buy all the parts you need, cut to order, and here are the instructions you need to fit them:
1. Your brick walls or pillars need to be built so that there is one layer of bricks above your lintel.
2. Fit four structural cassettes – these are support beams that need to be fitted at right-angles to each other around the edge of the walls. You will need to have some way of lifting these and holding them in place until you have attached them to the tops of the walls with hanger brackets.
3. Once all of the structural cassettes are in place, make sure they are level and then push them into place so that they fit snugly to the top of the walls.
4. Secure the structural cassettes onto the walls using long fixing brackets and angled tie brackets. Use fixings that are suitable for the materials of your walls.
5. Place a breathable membrane across the top of your structural cassettes.
6. Install box guttering, sealing with gutter bond, on top of the breathable membrane.
7. Install insulation slabs, top with plywood panels, and then you can put the GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) panels in place. Slot timber fillet into the gaps between the GRP panels and use lead flashing around the roof.
8. Fit soffit and facias, and insert windows into the walls as per your design.
If you have all the right equipment, designed for your purpose and cut to size by your supplier, fitting an orangery roof yourself is achievable and affordable.