Conservatory and extensions specialist, Ultraframe, has carried out consumer research to understand the key trends that are driving homeowners when planning home improvement projects to add additional living space to their home.

Key findings were that while the over-riding driver behind such projects is the need for additional space, the desire for the type of space has evolved, with open plan living continuing to grow in popularity. Many consumers are also favouring conservatories which are more akin to an extension, using a range of conservatory roofing systems as well as lantern and skylight products to achieve this look.

Explaining more about the latest trends in home improvements, Ultraframe Marketing Director, Alex Hewitt, said: “There are several million conservatories currently installed onto UK housing stock and the majority of the early ones are the stereotypical white box that our sector was borne from. Over recent years, the development in solid and tiled roof systems such as our Livinroof and Ultraroof products has seen the market for conservatories and extensions converge as conservatories can now be as thermally efficient as extensions.  As consumers are favouring new living spaces which have a more extension and room-like feel to them, we have also seen our glazed systems such as Classic and Ultrasky being used in new and exciting ways. For example, combining the industry’s longest established conservatory roof – Classic – with our internal pelmet and an external cornice, gives a look both internally and externally that is more like an orangery or even an extension. Our installers have evolved with the market and are becoming more and more creative in the ways that they use our systems to satisfy current market trends.”

Another trend which continues to grow in popularity is the flat roof extension – largely inspired by programmes such as Grand Designs. Ultraframe has closely followed this trend and has seen sales of its flat skylight and lantern products soar as they are fitted into these contemporary spaces.

Continuing about the current trends in the roofing market, Alex said: “The conservatory sector has moved on massively since it was first established by our founder, some 35 years ago. While there is still a market for the traditional conservatory, we are seeing consumers becoming ‘braver’ in their choices and adding structures to their home which use our products either as part of an extension or to create a modern take on the conservatory. In line with this, many of our systems now offer the looks and performance of an extension, yet are created from systems which are well within the skill set of any conservatory installer to build, opening up this growing extension market to our customers. Our next challenge is to ensure that consumers understand that they don’t need to turn to their local builder for a home extension – their local conservatory installer is just as capable, if not more. Changing consumer mindsets is a tall order and so we are working with many of our customers to help them rebrand and reposition themselves as home improvement companies as opposed to window/door/conservatory companies. We feel that this subtle change is a key way for them to take advantage of the latest market trends and we aim to help our customers do just that.”