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Secondhand conservatory- advice needed!
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# 1
catt
Old 23-06-2007, 1:45 PM
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Unhappy Secondhand conservatory- advice needed!

Due to lack of space and to financial constraints, we are looking at buying a used conservatory off Ebay.

Most sellers claim that the reason they are selling their conservatory is to build an extension or to replace it with a bigger conservatory. Plausable reasons I think.

We notice that some conservatories are advertised as already dismantled and labelled by their builder, whereas others state that the buyer dismantles, sometimes with help from the owner.

We can't find the exact size we need and plan to adapt what we get by buying more components, probably from B&Q.

Does anyone have any experience of having done this? Or does anyone work for a upvc company who can advise us?

Are manufacturers' components interchangeable so we can use them as we hope?

How can we tell the age of a conservatory is genuinely described? Could we get a FENSA certificate which I think we need if we decide to sell our house?

Should we attempt to dismantle ourselves or call in a local glazier? Would it be easy to reassemble or could the upvc have stretched or warped in transit? We intend to hire a van for the day. It may be tight timewise to disassemble and travel to collect.

We know we require planning permission. We intend a metal base support atteched to two existing house walls and supported on the other end by intended concrete footings. We'll probably use a local handyman but have no-one in mind yet. We could certainly do the internals, flooring, electrics, etc. ourselves.

These are our main considerations. Anything else to consider?

All genuine advice would be gratefully received.

Catt
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# 2
HugoSP
Old 23-06-2007, 3:10 PM
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Is it safe to assume you're looking at UPVC conservatories?

From my experience UPVC conservatory systems seem to vary from one manufacturer to another. Two conservatories may look identical but the methods of manufacture and assembly can be very different.

If buying second hand you really need to know your onions and learn very quickly how it can be put together, so that you know if any precious fittings are missing or that damage may have occurred by its dismantling.

As for how honest or knowledgable a seller is, it's the same question that is asked about any second hand item on e bay. We paid £500 for a second hand spiral staircase on e bay. The same staircase would have cost us over £2k new. However as an ex engineer I was quickly able to see how it would have been assembled and could assess that it was generally complete bar a few standard screws and bolts, which were easily available.

My worst case scenario is that I could have had to get some bits turned to replace missing spindles. Asking an engineering workshop to copy a mild steel spindle did not seem to be an issue, even if it may not be cheap. I knew that I would probably be removing a step anyway, thus I would have a surples of spindles etc.

I also made a quick assessment of the seller in question in terms of honesty and knowledge. It was his first and only e bay listing.

Honesty. He was a very wealthy middle class gent in his 80s and was able to show be all the bits. He was happy for me to have a good look at the components to establish that it was complete.

Knowledge. His knowledge was limited but he had asked his builder to remove it carefully so it could be reused or sold on.

...so I took the risk.

....and the risk paid off! We had to cut about 8" off the centre pole so that we could eliminate a step as our ceiling was lower than the ceiling of the building it had come out of. We have a few nuts and bolts left over because of this and most importantly, we have a spare cast iron tread bracket and a marine ply tread.

FiL had to source a few machine screws from his shed to replace ones that had got broken or lost in the dismantling. I needed a few 2" woodscrews but that was it!

To make it worth buying SH you need to be looking at saving heaps IMO. You can get new conservatories from around £1500. OK the quality may not be great but the quality of a SH one is left to complete pot luck!

You get support and guarantees with new
You have other consumer rights plus the efforts of reputable suppliers to sort out problems.

To answer your other questions. You cannot get a FENSA cert for a conservatory you put up yourself - you would need to inform Building Control before you start work so they can carry out any inspections they may need to be able to give you a building cert at the end of the project. This is as good as a FENSA cert from the point of view of saleability of the house at a later date.

Manufacturers components are NOT guaranteed to be interchangeable.

If you are relitively handy at dismantling conservatories then it would be good for you to do so. Label the components up as you remove them to make reassembly easier at a later date.

UPVC conservatories generally fall into two categories:

Made to measure - bespoke
Off the peg

The made to measure ones will generally be of better quality. These will consist of manufactured panels that are specifically designed for the customer. These tend to be build to be glazed after they are assembled. Hence removing the glazing in the side panels may be necessary to access frame fixings that hold the panels to the ground, or dwarf wall.

The off the peg units are what you often see advertised in Loot, Freeads etc. These are a modular design and the panels come ready glazed. Basically they are designed to provide customers with several size and style options. This is achieved by specifying a quantity of preglazed panels, french or patio doors and further glazed panels with opening windows. From my experience these tend to clip into a cill that is already screwed into the base, or dwarf wall. Hence the panels are then unscrewed from the brackets and the cill is then removed by extracting the frame fixings that hold it in place.

Roof constructions for both types tend to be similar. The polycarbinate sheets (as most of them are) tend to be held in place by trims that clip into either side of the glazing bars on top.

If the UPVC is handled carefully then warping etc should not be an issue.

The questions as to whether to do it yourself or get someone in really depends on how good you are at DIY
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Last edited by HugoSP; 23-06-2007 at 3:12 PM.
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# 3
cargo
Old 23-06-2007, 4:05 PM
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Great helpful reply Hugosp.
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# 4
HugoSP
Old 23-06-2007, 8:27 PM
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If the OP does find one on E bay, he or she can PM me with the listing and I'll comment technically as much as I can.

Don't blame me if I get it wrong though:rolleyes:
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# 5
cargo
Old 24-06-2007, 9:20 PM
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I am a Plasterer and had to Dryline and skim a huge second hand conservatory early last year.
It was a ex Malbern show room model.
I suppose when finished they guy would have saved a fare amount of cash but there seemed to be a lot of trims and stuff wrong or missing which he had to chase down.
Also had to have some new windows made up down the side as the ones fitted had Malbern windows written in coluored glass on them.
At the time I thought I would have bought new.
I was biased really though as I knew this guy had the dosh to buy but was obviously thrifty to the limit.
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# 6
catt
Old 26-06-2007, 11:06 AM
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Smile Thanks for the advice!

Hugo

Thank you very much for all the useful advice.

I am still looking for a suitable conservatory on Ebay. On the whole, I remain quite positive that I will find something and that I can minimize the risks by checking seller status and maybe going to look first. And not paying too much!

Good to hear the upvc doesn't stretch or warp but I'm prepared for some damage, as long as it's minimal and disclosed. Some sellers admit that they have drilled into their window frames to attach blinds. Not an issue either, provided the blinds are included in the sale.
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# 7
HugoSP
Old 26-06-2007, 8:37 PM
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Catt

I fitted a new conservatory abot 10 years ago and it cost me around 2500 to buy. The base was another 500 to get someone in to build it. Then there was around 200 on bits and pieces.

Have you checked out new prices lately? I would not normally go for something off e bay on a SH basis unless it was ex display or it represented around 75 to 80% OFF new price.

I and FiL assembled ours in 4 days. We had never built a conservatory before. A few problems with a SH one could mean several weeks faffing around with it.
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