There are conservatories and conservatories. The older uPVC style are much less resilient to winter weather and are often too cold to use when the outside temperature drops. However, a luxury, bespoke timber conservatory or orangery, is designed to be used all year round, giving the homeowner enjoyment of their garden, whatever the British weather throws at it!
All conservatories and orangeries can benefit from regular maintenance to ensure they operate at peak performance and provide a comfortable environment inside for occupants.
Follow our top tips during autumn to prepare your glazed extension for the winter season ahead:
Blocked gutters, hoppers, and downpipes may go unnoticed during the summer months but falling leaves can exacerbate the problem. Check for blockages, children’s toys and balls, and general debris so that rainwater can be quickly discharged away from the building.
Should a blockage occur when temperatures fall below zero, the blocked water will expand and potentially cause damage. If this occurs, pouring hot (but not boiling) water down the affected gutter area can provide immediate relief, shortly followed by booking an emergency call out from a gutter cleaning company.
Similarly, check surrounding drains for blockages and consider installing drain covers to prevent future build-up. Even the hardest of wood, coated with the most advanced exterior paint, has a limit to the amount of standing water it can tolerate.
Some hardy climbers will continue to grow throughout a mild winter unless the homeowner is vigilant, so it’s often best to do a pre-emptive strike and prune fast growers in autumn so they don’t do any harm over winter months when the homeowner is less likely to be doing garden maintenance.
Powder-coated roof cappings and finials will benefit from bi-annual dust and wash down with mild detergent to ensure they remain pristine and functional.
Technological developments in materials mean that flat roofs are no longer a reliability concern for homeowners and while they may not be visible from the ground floor, they can be in view from bedroom windows. A soft brush and gentle clean with a hose are usually all that is needed but be wary of washing more debris down gutters.
Use a soft cloth to wipe around any electric thermostatically-controlled roof vents with rain sensors to ensure they are in optimum condition and will successfully close at the first drop of rain or snow. Leaves, cobwebs, and general dirt can impair their function.
Although the timber used for exterior components is selected for its durability and stability, autumn is a good time to wash all the paintwork with mild soap and check for any small breakdowns in paintwork due to wear and tear or mild expansions and contractions. These should be remedied before more extreme weather arrives.
For the smooth running of bi-fold doors, it is essential to keep the track and seals clean, particularly by removing any stones or debris that causes unnecessary friction. Using a small vacuum cleaner nozzle is the most effective way to remove unwanted items here.
Check that the heat source in the conservatory or orangery is fully serviced. With colder days just around the corner, it’s important to be cosy but with soaring energy bills, it’s vital that boilers and underfloor heating are working at maximum efficiency too.
Check interior ledges for the build-up of dust and debris. This can be out of the line of sight in many tall glazed extensions but regularly removing dirt will reduce the possibility of stains and is simply lighter work when undertaken regularly.
Properties near the coast may need to perform many of these activities more regularly due to the effect of sea air.
And as well as the dos, conservatory and orangery owners should be aware of the don’ts:
As tempting as it might be, never use a pressure washer to clean a conservatory or orangery. The additional force with which these devices emit water can infiltrate areas that rainwater would not and potentially cause long-term damage.
If you have opted for self-cleaning or solar glass, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Abrasive materials or chemical-based products may interfere with the product’s specialist coating and impair its long-term performance.
A conservatory or orangery is a significant investment and, like all areas of a property, it will need a certain amount of maintenance to retain peak form and function. Choose a warm, dry autumnal day and your glazed extension will thank you with longevity and enjoyment.