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WHEN GARDEN MARRIES HOME
Member Name: Stroody
Advantages: Versatile room / lovely in the summer or winter /adds value to your home
Disadvantages: Lots of shark companies that quote what they like so beware before purchasing.
My next port of call was to find myself a good company and this I found was not so straight forward. I was amazed to see how many companies offered this service, so much so that in my area alone I found eleven but what was more astonishing was how the prices varied from one company to another despite me using the same dimensions and style - in my case I wanted a Victorian style conservatory with a dwarf wall. Quotations started from £9,000 up to £19,000, a huge gap difference - the variation in price alone confused me even more when trying to decide which company to use. During my two month search I began short listing a few - The sharks as I call them were the first to be crossed of my list , these companies had no interest in my needs nor did they try to explain the whole concept of what the conservatory is all about. All they wanted was my money. The signs are evident straight away - the reps are pushy & they try to confuse you with jargon words & dimensions all the while filling out paperwork expecting you to sign.
I finally found myself a company - one that showed interest , one that explained everything up to the last detail, one that gave me ideas , one that spoke my language - a language that I could understand & if I understand the concept then I understand what I am signing to , one that gave me time to think about it - handed over a business card & a contact number , one that was friendly & approachable , one that took into consideration all my questions and concerns and more importantly one that gave me peace of mind. Company & contact details can be found at the end of the review.
The conservatory has a long and exotic history, and while still retaining its luxury status it has now become an affordable addition/extension to your property. The conservatory or garden room was first introduced in the 18th century and it was mainly the rich and elite class who owned them. They were initially used for the protection of exotic palms and other tender plants during the harsh winter months. These buildings were very big, free standing and tall, overlooking impressive gardens but it wasn't until the summer months when the plants were replaced by large tables and chairs, the rich upper class would use these buildings for dining and entertaining - glazing techniques at this time were primitive but when glass became a more a affordable everyday material the conservatory began to evolve and evolve it did - today it is an iron superstructure where glass is the principle element. The Palm House at Kew completed in 1848, followed by the Crystal Palace Exhibition Hall in 1851 were two of the finest examples of this early conservatory architecture a benchmark that marked a turning point in conservatory construction. Today, the conservatory has become smaller, more affordable, and therefore more popular.
•[Building from Scratch]•
You cannot erect a conservatory overnight & so before taking on this project one must take into account that a well built conservatory will take between two to three months before you can use and enjoy it to its full potential. Once you have established with your company rep the dimensions, approx price as well as the style & shape then and only then will the rep move onto the next stage. About a week later the rep returns with a portfolio that's has your design, drawings, measurements as well as the full cost of your conservatory for you to look at. This stage of the building process is vital as it will be your last opportunity to discuss any changes or queries you want to clarify before you sign the agreement contract. Once signed a starting date is agreed.
The first stage of the new conservatory called the ground works will begin. A team comprised of three men, a brick layer and two labourers have the job of levelling the ground, install electrical points, putting in the footings as well as building the dwarf wall. Once this is all completed a designer will come and take detailed and precise building & installation measurements of the dwarf wall (the reps measurements are a cost guide). From these measurements the exact size for the window panels and roof is now possible, this is then sent to the factory where they will be ready for the next building process of the conservatory. This will take up top ten days.
After the ten days your installation team arrives and the final building stage of the conservatory begins. Once again it is a three man team that set about putting the glass panels onto your waiting dwarf wall - a job that will take two full days. It was a nice feeling to watch my conservatory take shape, knowing now that only two more jobs to completion. When your installation team leave its time to contact the first team (ground works) who then come back and lay the conservatory screed floor which on completion will need two weeks to dry out. Once dry they come back for the final stage the plastering - something that only takes a day but when finished the transformation is complete and the conservatory build has ended.
•[The Finished Article]•
My elegant Victorian style conservatory was now complete & the link between my garden and home was no longer a dream but reality. My pure white conservatory which was built with a steeply pitched roof automatically allowed maximum sunlight as well as feeling the space around you. How you want to use your conservatory is up to you as the versatility of this glass structure is endless , whether you use it as an office/study , games room , dining room , garden room , breakfast room to name a few. The conservatory will bring a new dimension to your home as well as comfort and pleasure all year round.
I furnished my conservatory with decorative marble floor tiling, wicker furniture a two seated as well as two single chairs, an elegant glass table, an LCD TV placed in the corner and two large Dracaena plants (looks like a palm). For that finishing touch I added venetian blinds covering the entire glass windows bar the french door. When using my conservatory you soon notice how well the living area mixes and blends the indoor and outdoor space, encapsulating my garden to its maximum. I knew then that what I set out to achieve was accomplished.
•[Keep Your Cool]•
I don't like cold rooms and more so in my own home, so when I was looking to buy my conservatory this was one of my real concerns. It can get very cold here in Kent in the winter months and the idea of sitting in a cold conservatory was not something I wanted to experience. To my surprise the company rep reassured me that the days of conservatories being hot in summer and cold in winter are long gone. You can now choose not only your climate, but how you want to achieve control. There are several ways you can do this and each individual will have his/her own preference: Roof vents, electric switch, electronic sensors, remote controlled climate control etc.
I quickly eliminated the remote controlled climate as it meant it had to be installed & fitted on the dwarf wall - That was a big NO NO for me because it changed the image of the conservatory from the outside; the big bulky white unit did not appeal to me. I wanted a continued brick wall with no interruptions. I also didn't opt for roof vents as it also changed the image of the roof from the inside of the conservatory, a style I didn't like. I also had my reservations about water leakage and so I wasn't going to take the risk.
I wanted something simple yet effect and so I opted to go for electronic rain sensors that automate the whole process without you having to even think about it. The steeply pitched roof was layered with special panels that keep the heat of the sun out in the summer and in the winter months doing the reverse - containing the heat inside the conservatory. A simple radiator along with the special panelled roof gives me full temperature control.
•[Are They Safe?]•
Conservatories can be as safe and robust as brick built rooms - able to withstand the rigours of the British weather. Internally glazed and equipped with integrated state-of-the-art locking systems. At the turn of a handle a centre deadlock secures the window, as well as bolts secured to the window frame. The bolts are made from high strength brass alloy making the windows virtually impossible to force open. All handles in my conservatory lock automatically when shut, but open at the press of a button for extra safety in case of fire. The window hinges are also made of high grade steel and lock deep into window frame, conservatory hinges are far more resistant to attack than conventional hinges.
The French door is fitted with twin hooks as well as a central bolt, when locking the French door the hooks guide into position to secure the door into the frame. Protecting the things we love is paramount and that's something conservatories take seriously - high levels of security is a priority when building your conservatory & all these locking systems put in place mean that you can have peace of mind as well as beautiful windows.
•[How Much Did It Cost]•
18th April 2006 - Quotation:
• - X2 Internally glazed windows £1119 Inc VAT (Bedrooms)
• - X1 Conservatory £8,800 Inc VAT
• - Base/Dwarf Wall £2,900 Inc VAT
••••Total cost £12,819••••
The above included making good inside & out, clear all debris from site and all covered by a 10 year company guarantee.
The FENSA registered company I had the pleasure in dealing with are called Forestdale Limited. They are located in the Medway area (Kent) - they are a family run business that have been manufacturing and installing windows, doors and conservatories since 1986. Their personal service sells itself; word of mouth is what brought Forestdale to my attention. Had it not been for that I don't think I would ever of found this company as Forestdale do not advertise- They get all their work via recommendations , they are that good that Forestdale's contribution did not go unrecognised as they came runners up in the small business of the year award in 2005.
They have three teams of installers who have been at the company for many years. When trawling through the many large companies out there, Forestdale a small family business put all these rivals to shame. If anyone should be a benchmark in the conservatory & window industry then it should be them. From quotation through to installation and building my conservatory I found them to be friendly, approachable, efficient and professional - qualities that many companies lack these days. Not once did they let me down, they honoured all arranged fitting dates and completion went according to plan. I didn't have to pay a single penny until all work was completed to my satisfaction. No bumpy rides here I'm afraid, you could not have asked for a smoother transaction. Thank you Forestdale Limited, you're the best. :) - Below are their contact details if anyone is interested.
•Forestdale Windows Limited
•Unit A4 Lakeside
•Medway City Estate
•Strood ME2 4LT
•Tel: 01634 717 860
•Fax: 01634 719 399
•Director: Karen Jennings
Thanks for reading . . . © Strood 2007 @ 12.10 27/10/07
Summary: A stunning glass room that compliments the garden.