Going down the DIY Route
- Significant savings to be made
- Make use of plentiful ‘how to’ guides
- Cheaper option but not for inexperienced
Doing it yourself is certainly an option – and the
favoured choice for those who want to save money and/or
keep overall control of the project.
Bespoke Woodgrain style PVCu Edwardian style conservatory
including box gutter.
However, it’s not for the faint-hearted – nor
for the inexperienced. On the other hand, if you are a
competent and confident DIY-er you can take on such a project
and make a success of it. A number of companies now specialise
in supplying the DIY market and there are plenty of ‘how
to’ guides available which give useful tips.
The savings you make from doing it yourself will be maximized
if you buy a standard conservatory model and do all the
work yourself. However, if there is any aspect of the work
you feel unable – or unwilling! – to tackle,
such as digging the foundations, it makes sense to bite
the bullet and sub-contract out that task.
The aspect of self-build that often appeals most is having
total control over the project and the end result. There
is always the suspicion that a contractor working to a
fixed price might be tempted to take short cuts. If you
are doing the job yourself, though, you are more likely
to spend as long as necessary ensuring that each task is
completed perfectly and correcting any problems that might
arise. If there is something unusual about your site, which
might require a little extra attention, then this can be
If you go down the DIY route you must expect the project
to take longer than a contractor who spends half his working
life putting up conservatories. However long it takes,
though, you will have the immense satisfaction of knowing
that everything has been done exactly as you want it. And
if you are a perfectionist then DIY is almost certainly
the most satisfactory option for you.
Is there a downside to doing it yourself?
For a start, it’s hard work physically. It can also
be lonely if you are working entirely by yourself, particularly
if you encounter problems. Another pair of hands and an
objective viewpoint can work wonders in overcoming the
challenges that arise and this is where friends, relatives
and neighbours can help.
You will find that many DIY conservatories do not currently
offer alternatives such as Pilkington K glass and 25 mm
polycarbonate. If you are keen on top insulation specification
then you may have no alternative but to choose a made-to-measure
conservatory from a supplier offering these alternatives.
This will usually cost more.
While there are a number of companies offering a wide
range of standard models, there are fewer set up to supply
a DIY consumer with a made-to-measure conservatory. Many
of those who do provide a ‘supply only’ service
are companies that normally supply the trade or small builders.
These companies will assume that you are familiar with
glazing and normal installation practice – ‘holding
the hand’ of DIY-ers is not part of the service.
You will also often find that you will be responsible for
supplying silicones, fixing screws, trims, glues etc.
Bear all this in mind when you place your order. Also
check whether there is a helpline available should you
have any problems. Be prepared, if necessary, to pay more
to get the help you may need – these companies are,
after all, selling at trade prices and will not expect
to have to give you any more help than they would the trade.
Remember that regulations regarding electrical installation
require that a qualified electrician who is approved to
carry out and certify such work should carry out the work.
Alternatively, if you undertake the work yourself, a qualified
contractor must separately certify it. Failure to notify
building control is apparently a criminal offence.
You can find plenty more information at www.conservatoriesonline.com/diy.htm
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