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Guest Post: Conservatory Construction: Hardwood Vs. uPVC

A conservatory makes a superb addition to your home, giving you an attractive and useful extra room that can often be warm even in the depths of winter. It can also add considerable value to your property.

With plenty of styles to choose from, the main question you have to consider is whether to go for hardwood or uPVC. Just about every manufacturer will offer you a choice of either one of these popular materials, so how do you decide which is right for your conservatory?

The Ease of uPVC

The material composition of uPVC makes it ideal for windows and conservatories. It doesn’t rot over time and it won’t warp or twist when exposed to the UK’s varied climate. It’s easy to look after and it’s comparatively cheap. Although most people think of plastics as not particularly environmentally friendly, uPVC can actually be recycled.

The downsides? Well it could be argued that the white plastic look doesn’t work with some styles of building. That said, there are a number of treatments available that can change the appearance of the base uPVC, including some that do a pretty good job of mimicking wood grain.

It’s also not necessarily true that uPVC conservatories require no maintenance. An occasional clean is always a good idea. It’s also possible that roof structures have been reinforced using power-coated aluminium sections and these need treatment occasionally – if only around once a decade.

The Beauty of Real Wood

For some people there’s nothing quite like the glorious richness and texture that you only get with real hardwoods. They just shout “quality”. In the past there has been some controversy about the environmental impact of using rainforest timbers but these days it’s easy to check if your conservatory manufacturer uses material that’s FSC-approved. The Forestry Stewardship Council ensures the wood is from sustainable sources, so you’re doing the planet good by encouraging additional planting.

It’s true that a hardwood conservatory will generally cost more than the same model made out of uPVC, but companies such as Kingfisher Windows use a clever combination of traditional carpentry skills with modern CNC machinery to minimize the price difference. This precision approach also ensures their work meets the highest standards of construction and durability.

There’s no denying that hardwood conservatories are subject to the elements more than a uPVC alternative, but the difference is nothing like as great as it was. In part this is down to the material chosen – some woods have natural oils that help drastically reduce weather damage – and in part it’s because of modern finishes that give the timber a tremendously protective skin, while still letting it breath.

How To Choose?

If it’s simply a question of price, the obvious choice is uPVC. For some though, only the look and feel of hardwood will do.

What about if you’re somewhere in between? How do you choose which type of conservatory construction will suit you best?

If you lead a busy life and cherish the time at home for relaxation, it might initially seem that uPVC is the only sensible solution – simply from an ease of maintenance point of view. However, top manufacturers won’t just design and install but will also offer a conservatory repair, replacement and refurbishment service that provides ongoing maintenance of hardwood structures, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Before you make any decision it’s probably best to call in the experts. A specialist will not only be able to give you a quote, but also assess the site and your requirements. There might be design or structural requirements that dictate uPVC over hardwood, or vice versa. Talking to a professional will help you make the best possible decision.

Ryan Skinner is a passionate home improvement enthusiast who likes to share his advice on how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home.