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Conservatory or Orangery – What’s the Difference?

Conservatory or Orangery - What's the difference?

A question we hear a lot is “What is the difference between an orangery and a conservatory?” …At a glance, modern orangeries and conservatories really don’t seem that different, which can make the task of identifying what roof conversion or extension style you want or need confusing for homeowners. To make things more straightforward, here is a concise history and run down of orangeries and conservatories.

What is an orangery?

Both orangeries and conservatories date from around the 17th century. Orangeries got their name from their original purpose – to provide shelter for citrus trees. Typically found on affluent estates, orangeries were a sign of wealth and were often stand-alone structures made from both solid material such as brick and glass, with notable examples being the mammoth orangeries at Kensington Palace and Kew Royal Botanical Gardens. Both of these orangeries were originally intended to house exotic fruit, but were also used (and still are used) as entertaining spaces.

What is a conservatory?

Conservatories were first built to protect plants and shrubs, and similarly to orangeries, also became to be associated with the wealthy. The Palm House at Kew Gardens and the iconic Crystal Palace are Georgian and Victorian examples of conservatory style structures. Mainly constructed from glass and iron, old style conservatories were susceptible to rust and fluctuating temperatures, and they fell out of fashion by World War II. But with advancements in building materials, conservatories came into popularity for homeowners as extension-style rooms around forty years ago.

Conservatory or Orangery - what's the difference?

How are conservatories & orangeries different?

In terms of the details behind what defines a building as a conservatory or as an orangery, there aren’t any specific rules. The bottom line is that they are very similar, and with the various styles and home improvement options available today, the names are becoming more and more interchangeable. However, an orangery typically has more brickwork than a conservatory, and is a hybrid between a traditional conservatory and a solid extension. Orangeries often have flat roofs with a raised roof lantern, however there are now other options on the market, such as how we offer a pitched tiled orangery roof. Conservatories are mainly made from glass or polycarbonate, are attached to the main house, and normally have a pitched roof.

SupaLite conservatory & orangery roofs

Technically, if you make the smart choice to replace your original glass or polycarbonate conservatory roof with a tiled replacement roof from SupaLite, you no longer have a conservatory, but an extension. You also have the option to add roof lanterns (traditionally seen on orangeries) or vents to your replacement tiled roof – so you can see how the various options we offer allow you to create your own ideal conservatory / orangery / extension hybrid and make the names more interchangeable. Ultimately, whatever style you currently have or want to build, choosing a SupaLite roof will ensure you have a comfortable, energy efficient and robust living space, suitable for enjoying all year round.

If you are unsure of which SupaLite roof you should choose, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team on 01772828060.

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