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What can we do to make our unusable conservatory usable? Help!!

(31 Posts)
lynniep Wed 04-Mar-09 14:17:25

Well, ok, thats an exaggeration - I use it for storage - hubby uses it for indoor plants.

One of the reasons we bought the house was because of the consevatory - we thought it would make an ace playroom for our (now ) 2yr old DS.

However we quickly realised its far too cold in winter (even with a heater - may as well be sitting outside in the snow, albeit without snow, so it is slightly better!).

In the summer its crazy hot - we do have full pull down blinds apart from over the doors, but even with those shades left down the night before, still its like a hothouse, and opening the doors doesnt really help. We'd love to be able to sit in there and let kids play but its just too hot and we have to leave again.

I'd heard you can do things to help, like put a special coating on the roof and windows, so wondered if anyone else has had anything done to overcome these problems (and by whom).

jazzandh Wed 04-Mar-09 14:31:42

could you install DIY underfloor heating. there is wired stuff that goes under floor tiles etc....although this wouldn't solve the heat in sumer .....

brimfull Wed 04-Mar-09 14:35:05

we had thsi problem,lived with it for yrs and yrs
ended up tearing it down and putting up proper extension
best thing we ever did

conseratories only good if they have proper roof imo

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Wed 04-Mar-09 14:37:57

You don't have a good enough heater. My nana has a conservatory and hers is boiling in the winter.

Sh has one of those blowy heaters. Try getting two. One each side of the room.

coppermills Wed 04-Mar-09 17:03:58

I've got tumble dryer in mine - v unfriendly to environment but heats it up for the afternoon getting two jobs done at once

PuddingChops Wed 04-Mar-09 17:16:13

Conservatories are crap aren't they?! Moved into a house with one and hate it. I really cannot see why they appear to have sprouted up on the back of almost every house in the country just like (as Prince Charles would say) monstrous carbuncles! I will never move into another house with one or ever consider having one built. As mentioned before it's much better to get a proper extension. Conservatories are just extensions on the cheap are'nt they!!

lynniep Wed 04-Mar-09 17:37:45

Sadly, never having owned a house with a conservatory before (or rented one for that matter!) I had no idea that it could be such a waste of what is essentially a lovely light space. My DS looks in there longingly every morning and can't understand why he's not allowed to play (well, at the moment its because its piled high with stuff!). I mean if I clear it out, he can play, he just needs to be dressed for the outdoors!!

TracyK Wed 04-Mar-09 17:41:14

I had a south facing one and like yours freezing in winter and sauna in the summer. We really only used it in the spring/autumn or for breakfast in the summer.

Could you replace a couple of windows for opening doors - or get some kind of canopy over the top to shade it?

spongebrainbigpants Wed 04-Mar-09 17:58:51

We had an unusable conservatory and were planning to keep it that way because we thought it would have to be pulled down and replaced to make it usable.

However, we had a builder round to give us a quote on something else and he also looked at the conservatory and gave us a quote on doing it up. Ours was too cold rather than too hot, so he installed underfloor heating, laid new tiles, cleaned up all the windows, resealed the roof (we had plants growing through it!) and plastered the walls.

For £1,500 we now have a fabulous usable playroom!

Obviously this is quite alot of money, but it's saved us moving in the foreseeable future and added value to the property (well, maybe not in this recession, but YKWIM!).

Why not get a couple of builders round and see what they say - most of them are desperate for work at the mo so may give you a good deal.

jenkel Wed 04-Mar-09 18:21:04

We have one and its fine, use it as a playroom and its plenty warm enough, we have underfloor heating, which is even better as the kids sit of the floor so much, its not too hot in the summer either

lynniep Thu 05-Mar-09 16:36:58

Thanks for all the responses! We aint knocking it down (not in the next decade anyway!) We've got too many other smaller jobs that need doing first.

Has anyone tried solar roof reflective inserts and/or glare film? I've noticed a lot of websites sell either one or both of those. The roof inserts slide into your roof an are supposeed to help with extreme temperature problems. The UV film just reduces glare, UV (obviously) and supposedly reduces the heat as well.

Also thinking about underfloor heating idea - the laminate job in there is cr*p anyway. Was obviously done by someone who wasnt aware that laminate can expand
and 'rise'. After we moved in a couple of years ago, that happened, and I spend hours on my knees chipping away at the edge of it with a mallet and chisel at 8 months pregnant to get rid of the huge mound in the middle of the floor!

choccyp1g Thu 05-Mar-09 16:43:29

I've got "double" blinds in the roof of mine. The are two layers joined on the folds, so that air is trapped between. It stops it getting too hot in summer, though it still gets cold in the very depths of winter, but it is bearable. On sunny days in winter, (if I remember to open the blinds) it actually gets quite warm.

MrsMattie Thu 05-Mar-09 16:44:15

Can you use it as a utility room? I'd bloody kill for one!

23balloons Thu 05-Mar-09 16:54:03

We have one and it is brilliant. Probably my favourite room in the house and I never wanted one - it was here when we moved in. It has 2 good radiators in and is very warm in winter. We don't even have blinds but the roof does seem to be made of special material.

I have my dining table in there and a comfy chair. Great for reading the paper and sitting in the sun in winter. Probably only unusable during the day in summer but you can eat in the garden then if you want & we have an eat in kitchen too. It also means we get an extra room as we don't have the table in one of the other rooms.

TheMadHouse Thu 05-Mar-09 16:59:50

A good heater is key, make sure you get one designed for a conservatory. we had one built ;a couple of years ago as a playroom and it is the most used room in the house.

It has independant heating and we do you it in the winter. In the summer I have to open the windows and sometimes the doors too, but it is a wonderful, light ands airy space.

It has a special roof pannels on, opake and keep the heat out or in.

Seek out a good builder and get a quote for making it a livable room.

An opening vent in the roof is great for hot days. The hot air will funnel up and cold air will come in through open doors and/or windows setting up a through flow of air.

Fizzylemonade Fri 06-Mar-09 12:14:00

I have solar inserts, like perforated foil. Helped a great deal with the heat in summer but it is still warm.

I have a heater in it for winter on thermostat. It is the storage room for all toys playroom so I need year round use.

Personally if I intended to stay in this house I would change one wall for brick or convert it into an extension. It was already on the house when we moved in. I hate it. Way too much glass for the DC's to put their sticky fingers on.

lynniep Fri 06-Mar-09 15:29:10

thanks again. I think I may look into the solar inserts, and also a better heater for next winter as suggested by most people!

Its such a shame not to use it as access is through our dining room patio doors, and so we can look through it directly into the garden, but I have to keep those doors shut because the heat/cold just comes back into the house.

Ours was on the house when we moved in too. Three sides glass, although one of the sides looks onto the fence, which is, um, nice.We have big problems with mould in there too - nothing a damn good bleaching doesnt solve, but its a painful job. Wehave to keep a small window open in winter to minimize that - otherwise its not ventilated at all - doesnt help the temperature extremes!

webmastmjs Wed 27-Feb-13 12:08:39

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

FaceLikeAPickledOnion Wed 27-Feb-13 12:21:05

Mum has just had a ceiling built in hers so It's like a proper room iyswim.

BreadForMyBREADGUN Wed 27-Feb-13 12:22:12

Zombie thread. What is it with the spam today? confused

NorthernLurker Wed 27-Feb-13 12:24:14

I know. Have reported the blatent advert. Do you think we are stupid Mrwebmaster? hmm

FaceLikeAPickledOnion Wed 27-Feb-13 12:32:46

Oh dear, I didn't see the post before mine, or look at how old this thread was either blush

Jibberoo Wed 27-Feb-13 12:33:47

Don't get the window uv foils!! I did and its a ware of money they do bugger all and infact kill plants that could have lived there. Our conservatory is the same as yours and I've been told to get a new roof. I'm going to either do that or make it into proper extension. But don't don't get the uv window foil!!

webmastmjs Wed 27-Feb-13 12:55:17

@NorthernLurker: what is the point of these forums when you cant give an answer ??? The question was "What can we do to make our unusable conservatory usable? Help!!" SO I was suggesting a way to make Her conservatory usable, and yes I do own a conservatory company and YES I could solve her problem, so I wasn't spamming only offering my services. Let me ask you a question ? If for instance you had a sideline of say 'Being a clown' and you were in your local shop and overheard a mother talking to a friend about arranging a party for her child... Would you not hand her one of your own business cards ???

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