Author Archives: Richard Abrahams

How Do I Know if I Need Planning Permission for a Conservatory?

Building a conservatory can be one of the best ways to create more space and extend your home. However, it’s not always as simple as just being able to build a conservatory onto the back of your home; you may need planning permission, but how do you know whether that’s the case or not?

Whether or not you need planning permission could depend on what it is you’re thinking of doing, as you are able to build certain types of structures without having to obtain planning permission at all. We understand the confusion this can cause for people, and that’s why we’re here to help you understand what it is you can do, and what you will need planning permission for. 

The reason behind planning permission is to take into consideration the visual and aesthetic effect an extension will have on the building and the surrounding buildings, so whether planning permission is required or not will depend on your conservatory project’s specifications. Essentially, in order to build a conservatory on your property without planning permission, you will need to make sure that it doesn’t impact negatively on your neighbours; although your neighbours will still be told and can raise objections if they have any, as per the Neighbour Consultation Scheme

The UK law was updated in May 2019 to provide us with a much more relaxed take on obtaining planning permission for such as a conservatory or a single-storey extension, as these should now fall under the permitted developments of your home. The law now states that:

  • Terraced and semi-detached home can make additions of up to 6m without obtaining planning permission.
  • Detached homes can now add large structures of up to 8m without obtaining planning permission.

According to the Planning Portal, established by the UK Government, you can build a conservatory onto your home as long as it fits within the following guidelines:

  • No more than half the area of land around the “original house” would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • No extension forward of the principal elevation or side elevation front a highway.
  • No extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof.
  • Single-storey rear extensions must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than eight metres if a detached, or more than six metres for any other house.
  • If the house is in Article 2(3) designated land or a Site of Special Scientific Interest, this limit is reduced to four metres if a detached house, or three metres for any other house.
  • Maximum height of a single-storey rear extension of four metres.
  • Extensions of more than one storey must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres or be within seven metres of any boundary opposite the rear wall of the house.

For more guidelines and information please visit -

Before starting the construction process of your new conservatory, we would always advise that you check the specifications to ensure that your conservatory will fall under the permitted developments, and will not require applying for planning permission. If you’re unsure about anything, please speak with your conservatory installation team to discuss your options and give yourself peace of mind. 

So, if you’re thinking of extending your home with a new conservatory, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Elmhurst Windows today to discuss your project.

What’s the Difference Between an Orangery and a Conservatory?

At Elmhurst Windows we often get asked the question “What is the difference between an orangery and a conservatory?”. So, we’re here to tell you the difference between the two, so that you can decide which is best for you and your home.

What is an Orangery?

An orangery is usually a form of home extension, which is typically used in the same way as a conservatory. Although orangeries have been the lesser-known option than a conservatory, when it comes to people building an extension on their home, orangeries actually date back to the 17th century, and would generally be found on wealthier homes. They originate from Italy and get their name “orangery” due to them originally being built to house citrus trees during the winter months.

Once means of travel and cargo improved, it created an easier and cheaper way for people to get citrus fruit, which means that orangeries were then typically used as additional living space, which is how they are used today.

What is a Conservatory?

Whilst conservatories are more well-known amongst homeowners these days, the conservatory actually came after and evolved from the design and construct of an orangery.

A conservatory offers the same light, heat, and purpose as an orangery, but will usually be built using less brick and more/larger windows, meaning they are typically a lighter space than an orangery.

Modern conservatories are built using UPVC, which is probably the reason they have become a much more popular choice for homeowners wanting to extend on their property, due to this making conservatories a much cheaper option.

What is the Difference Between a Conservatory and an Orangery?

The principle of the two are the same; to create a bright, airy room in your home, and provide you with more living space. The main difference between an orangery and a conservatory is the way they are built. An orangery will most likely be built with a brick base and will have a centralised roof lantern and a flat perimeter. A conservatory on the other hand is usually built using a frame structure that will be constructed from the floor to the roof, and will have a pitched roof without a perimeter.

Other differences between the two are such as:

Light - Whilst they both offer a lot of natural light, a conservatory will provide more natural light during the day due to them being built with larger windows and having a more minimal framework, whereas an orangery allows for more artificial light, due to them having more of a solid construct, so they are able to offer more light in the evenings/at night. Orangeries can be built with light fixtures in the ceiling, which can make it feel more like just another room in your home than having a conservatory.

Cost - As conservatories are typically built using UPVC they are considerably cheaper to build than an orangery. However, you can opt for a conservatory to be built using wood which can be a lot more visually appealing than using UPVC, but can also add a lot to the price tag. Orangeries are typically larger than conservatories and due to the way they are built, they can be a lot more expensive.

Energy Efficiency - Due to orangeries being built with a flat roof perimeter and a brick base, this means that it can offer more insulation and provide more warmth, which can be much more energy efficient than a conservatory.

If you’re thinking of extending your home in Leeds with either an orangery or conservatory, don’t hesitate to speak to our team at Elmhurt Windows today who will listen to your vision and requirements, and guide you through the best options to suit you. We are a family-run business who have been replacing doors and windows, and building conservatories and orangeries for clients throughout Leeds and surrounding areas since the 1970s, and all of our PVCu products have a 15 year guarantee, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.


A recent survey has just revealed that punctuality is the most desirable quality homeowners look for when hiring tradesman, according to 84% of homeowners  elmhurst blog 2
Having a polite manner and responding promptly in communication also have a positive influence according to 83% of homeowners.  And at third place, 81% feel that they are more likely to hire a tradesman who can talk through the process of the project.
Communication as well as organisation appear to dominate the top of the table, which shows how much homeowners value professionalism when hiring tradesmen.
With more than half of homeowners confirming they would rather make home improvements than move up the property ladder, it is the established, professional and well organised companies that will be doing the business leaving the poor quality competitors behind.
So which home improvement company in Leeds relies on its previous customers and recommendations for most of its business? A company that will send surveyors and fitters to customers on time, a company that will communicate with its customers and be able to provide a quotation there and then?  Elmhurst, of course.

Which? firms to trust in the double glazing industry

A recent WHICH? survey has confirmed that homeowners prefer to work with independent, local companies, rather than major, national firms
The article, published in November's Which? magazine opens: "The U.K.'s major double-glazing firms have been thoroughly trounced by independent brands in our latest survey....Customers rated the independents in our survey as excellent, giving them five stars for the majority of sales and installation factors, such as quality of products, staff knowledge and the quality of the installation. By contract, none of the major brands achieved five stars on any measure."
The major players in the double glazing industry have no showrooms either. There is no way, sales professionals, can carry into customers homes, the full range of window and door suites, to demonstrate to clients. Potential customers want to come and see for themselves the full range of products available, they want to touch them, feel them, open and close the doors, work the mechanisms, stand on the low thresholds - not imagine these or read from a brochure. And what credibility does a company have if it has no showroom - just an annoying freephone number to a large call centre ! When someone pops into the Elmhurst showroom at Whitkirk, off the Colton roundabout, they are greeted professionally by a team of friendly folk that want to genuinely help them. Small is definitely beautiful when it comes to double glazing!

Elmhurst customers remember those little extras!

unnamed (1)It's great to go back to see and sell to our existing clients. We have nearly 20,000 of them ! They are only too happy to buy from us again. Why? Well, we are still trading after all these years, we have honoured our long term guarantee to all our clients, we never stop introducing new and more energy efficient products to our customers and most interestingly, even after 30 years, our customers still remember the nice little touches....when we delivered fresh flowers and chocolates to them , following the completion of their installation - it was our way of saying thank you

unnamed (2) So why did we stop with the gifts? Who knows? Whilst having dinner with a very good friend of mine this week, we both had one of those light bulb moments. My friend, Howard Moss, is the MD of Astonish Products. Like Elmhurst, Astonish is a well established household brand, born and bred in Leeds, producing quality products at competitive prices. Like myself, Howard has taken over from his father and expanded the business, in his case , unnamedworldwide! I asked Howard if he manufactured PVC cleaning products and glass cleaner? Yes we do...he answered and a special mould and mildew cleaner. You know where this was leading ..... Without wasting anytime at all, the next day, pallets of all these products were delivered to Elmhurst HQ so we could start giving away, as part of our after sales pack, the three products to our customers, as a way to say thank you.

OK the flowers may have died and the chocolates eaten, but with these very useful, Astonish cleaning products, customers can keep the PVC frames gleaming white, the glass smudge free and the mould a thing of the past. Maybe customers will remember these products in another 30 years! Richard Abrahams MD Elmhurst Windows Ltd


Your home is probably the biggest financial investment that you will will ever make and protecting it from the elements is crucial if you want to feel safe and secure and see it grow in value - hence the need to always invest in high quality doors and windows. But hang on one minute...look up at your wooden boards underneath the eaves.  Are they becoming rotteAnthracite Grey Fascian with the paint peeling away? For those of you who are unfamiliar with fascias and soffits, roofline's primary role is to ensure the roof remains weather tight and to prevent birds and other animals from getting inside to nest. In addition, roofline prevents water from the roof running over wall surfaces causing damage

So roofline is about replacing rotten fascia boards and leaking gutters with maintenance free PVCu.  Beware the rogue installers who only "clad over" the existing rotten wood with a cosmetic cladding - as any wood left in place will rot faster, making remedial work necessary in the future. Furthermore, a full replacement installation also adds beauty and value to the house, as well as protecting it

So it really makes sense to upgrade your roofline elements simultaneously in order to match the aesthetics of your new Windows and doors.  You can rest assured that you won't be left facing a bill for a weakened roof and substantial repairs further down the line.
So why not ask Elmhurst for a quotation for your roofline - on its own or as a package deal with replacement windows and doors? One thing is for sure... Your roofline installation will be professionally installed by our dedicated team of roofline fitters and the labour and materials are fully guaranteed for 10 years.


2017-01-11_1010Conservatories make a stunning addition to any home, but when winter descends, many homeowners are forced to abandon their dream room as it becomes impossible to keep warm.   

We all want more living space and a room that will provide that all year round  - but conservatories are often discounted on the basis of extreme temperatures in both summer and winter So let's talk about a solution that can transform a tired , old version, conservatory into a habitable room which you can enjoy 365 days per year Solid  (warm roof or livin roof) roof options, will not only offer comfortable, all year living space, they are ideal for both replacement and first time installations. 

When specified as a replacement, a solid warm roof system is designed to replace the existing glass roof or polycarbonate roof, whilst retaining the original Windows, doors, frames and walls. With minimum disruption, this design helps better regulate temperatures  reduces wasted living space and glare, and can even save money on energy bills. Solid roof installations can be installed within a few days. 

This  includes a fully plastered ceiling, external fittings for gutters, fascias etc and options to include spotlights, velux style roof lights and larger rectangular glass panels depending on the type of roof that is purchased. With many poorly designed early generation conservatories still in existence, replacing the complete structure may be inevitable as Building Regs must be granted and approved for these structures. With market predictions forecasting a 15% growth by 2018 in the replacement sector, this is great news. After all, the last thing we want for our customers is to leave you out in the cold ! Why not head over to Youtube to take a look for yourself?


IMG_0786Since we have been installing the most energy efficient low e double glazed units, customers have been ringing us with a concern, that in the morning , the replacement windows are showing signs of condensation - on the outside pane!
Customers are most upset, thinking they have bought inefficient PVCu Windows that are not fit for purpose. On the contrary, this external condensation is actually a symptom of the Windows actually doing their job of keeping the heat in.  This is a really positive sign and confirms the double glazing is working efficiently - so nothing  to worry about !

As temperatures drop, especially during the night in Spring & Autumn, this natural phenomenon is caused by the outer pane being much colder than in the older PVCu systems and with more heat remaining inside, the result is external condensation, which, if it does occur, will only last a couple of hours in IMG_0770the morning, before disappearing.

So if you are considering replacement windows , which these days are around 60% more energy efficient than your old plastic Windows, please be aware of this phenomenon and if you do get any condensation on your outside panes, it's all good news knowing the Windows are working to maximum efficiency!


      How many times have we heard this phrase over the years!

Many homeowners would rather improve their current homes than move to a new one

2 (1)High house prices aren't the only reason many are reluctant to move.

Choosing to renovate instead can significantly boost the value of your home, while bringing about such dramatic improvements that it will feel as if you have moved into a new home anyway.

Space is at a premium, so converting parts of your current property into additional space can add a lot of zeroes to your selling price.

Converting your loft into additional living space could boost the value by about £60,000-£75,000, while spending £30,000 to £ 50,000 on improvements could contribute at least £75,000 to £100,000 to the selling price.

The term "home improvement " encompasses a whole range of activities. It can be as minimal as a lick of paint in the kitchen or as comprehensive as building an extension to your property.  What's clear, however, is that whether you’re hoping to impress visitors or buyers, the façade of your home can have enormous impact on how favourably people feel about your property – even after they’ve stepped inside

For most people, home is a special place. It represents our sanctuary from the world and the place where we spend quality time to rest and renew our lives. It also represents the single largest investment that we make in our lives.

A growing family places extra demands on space and while your two or three bed property may no longer satisfy your needs, selling and trading up isn’t the only option.

The past few years have seen many UK homeowners choosing to improve their current properties, rather than moving.

An extension priced between £30,000 and £50,000 could add the most value of all, upping your selling price by £75,000 to £100,000. You’re creating a larger living space with the building. Replacing walls with bi-folding doors is another way of creating space.

Flush Sash Was the Answer!

We found a solution for Mrs G of Alwoodley and she's over the moon now!!

Our fabricator got us out of trouble when they launched this new product.

Liniar windows are the most technically advanced in the market.

Many property owners, like Mrs G, required a traditional timber window frame but timber frames are expensive, need regular maintenance and can be difficult to replace. Traditional PVCu windows overlap the frame and in many cases are too obviously PVCu.

Liniar recognised the need to develop a casement window frame that would fit into any property, where the sash fitted flush into the frame - and which could be foiled to look like traditional timber.

The flush sash window is the only window of it's kind in the UK, and like the rest of the Liniar Energy Plus window range is 'A' rated, fully secure and available in a huge choice of colours.

Take a look at the pictures of Mrs G's windows. She has already recommended us to her friends who are in the market for these type of windows.

For a free quotation ring us on 0113 2644505.

flush sash 2