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The Difference Between Conservatories And Orangeries

14 July, 2023

Here at AluFold, we regularly get involved in conservatory roof projects. In the last few years, there’s been a popular trend in the home improvement industry where people swap traditional glass conservatory roofs for tiled ones. Consequently, we’ve been asked to help with lots of roof lantern installations, as they’re a great way to fill a room with light and are perfect for modern extensions.

We’ve noticed though, that there’s often some confusion over the differences between orangeries and conservatories. Many people use the terms interchangeably and think they’re the same thing. There are certainly similarities, but they’re not strictly the same thing.

Conservatory Or Orangery?

To be fair, it used to be a lot easier to tell the difference. The historic orangery was a grand extension with brick walls and flat roof, usually with a lantern fitted to it. They originally functioned like greenhouses and were used to grow citrus trees in regions where this would otherwise not be possible. Orangeries weren’t always extensions and could be separate buildings in their own right. They were usually reserved for the upper classes and were a sign of wealth and power.

Conservatories developed from these and typically featured far more glass. Conservatories have always been extensions and are easier to install. Their frames can be made with UPVC, timber or aluminium and they usually featured arched ceilings made with glass panels.

Both extensions are eye-catching and stylish and can increase a home’s kerb appeal. This is a broad generalisation, but if you can see brick walls and a flat roof, it’s an orangery. If it’s got an arched roof and mainly consists of glass panels, it’s a conservatory.

Roof Lanterns For Extensions

The rising popularity of solid roofs for conservatories has muddied the waters slightly. Tiled conservatory roofs were once rare, but they’ve become an increasingly common sight. Homeowners have swapped out their old glass roofs for more modern roofs and they tend to resemble orangeries a lot more. On the other side of the coin, orangeries have also been adapted; they sometimes incorporate floor-to-ceiling glass panels and don’t always have brick pillars. As the construction methods have changed, the two have become more alike and the difference isn’t always immediately obvious.

The best way to tell is by looking at the roof. Modern conservatories usually have the same arched ceilings as their forebears, whereas orangeries still have flat ones. This means that when it comes to glazing, conservatories have flat roof lights whereas orangeries are more likely to have raised roof lanterns. Both of them allow homeowners to fill their extensions with sunlight and give them a vibrant, comforting atmosphere.

interior view of a modern conservatory

So, if you’ve recently modernised an extension with a solid roof and want the best glazing option, you’ve come to the right place. We offer only the finest aluminium skylights and roof lanterns and can help your project every step of the way. Contact us or request a quote today to find out more.