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Outdoor Living Fireplace

Fire pits may be all the fashion right now but let’s not forget about chimeneas – the original patio fireplace. Outdoor heating that’s a fun veranda accessory as autumn approaches.

Our customer Mr Spedding, in Surrey, highly recommends his chimenea. He loves his new Elegant glass veranda, of course, and on being invited to visit him after installation we learned some useful advice about how he heats his terrace during frequent garden parties – outdoor entertaining his friends and neighbours late into the evenings. The glass veranda in point is featured in the photo above, a contemporary gunmetal gray replacing Mr Spedding’s previous wooden structure. The new veranda installation even includes a drinks fridge – plus his faithful chimenea sitting center stage.

Getting-Started Advice

Clay models have the best combustion and will burn fuel to a fine ash. Place outside of the glass veranda – you’ll feel the heat just fine, and be sure to pour a few inches of sand in the bottom of the chimenea before adding fuel. A sand bed protects the clay from cracking and should remain in place.

Mr Spedding, Derek, recommended Heat Logs for fuel – widely available including online order from Amazon or in DIY stores. Environmentally friendly heat logs are made up of wood from managed forests and recycled timber, cleverly compressed into handy logs. They are easy to light, they burn hot, are clean to handle and burn clean and smokeless – meaning guests won’t smell like a bonfire!

Use only dry wood or heat logs, not coal or charcoal which burn too hot damaging the chimenea. When not in use apply the chimney lid, keeping rain out, and use a protective cover over winter. Avoid water logging the clay and don’t light your chiminea if noticeably water logged, allow it to dry out naturally under the veranda. Always note manufacturer advice and use common sense with children.

Derek says that just two or three heat logs are enough to warm your glass veranda and adjacent patio during an Alfresco drink or short barbecue, this costing just a couple of pounds. A very long evening might use ten or twelve logs, maybe £7 or £8, but it’s all good fun and your veranda party guests will love it.

History

Historically made from fired clay the traditional Mexican chimenea dates back 400 years keeping families warm for hours burning only a few sticks. Originally used for both heating and cooking, outside and inside, they provided evening warmth and in the morning could be used for baking bread. Today they are purely terrace heaters and a quality model can last many years.

Thanks Derek, we love outdoor living too!

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CAD Veranda Visualisations

CAD visuals can be a great design aid – impressive photo realistic images allowing you to see your planned glass veranda installation getting the details right before manufacture and installation.

Design software for visualisation is still relatively new and can create exciting outputs of veranda projects for our customers. This capability provides static renderings able to communicate a glass veranda design, scaled to the building, simulating a finished look and feel showing the expected visual impact and enhancement to the home. These immersive artworks can prove affirming and reassuring validating the exact veranda size or chosen colour.

Helpful and informative, our veranda visualisations can prove especially valuable for customers less able to visualise in the mind’s eye, and are a perfect fit for group decisions. Very useful for design, effectively testing and giving an element of ‘try before you buy’ – seeing your glass veranda before it gets installed can confirm your decisions and get the whole household involved.

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Choosing Veranda Decking Boards

Decking options are aplenty when planning your glass veranda, wood no longer being the only choice we’ve seen a revolution in composite deck boards and new 100% plastic decking options.

Decking offers an instant terrace transformation, swiftly remodelling the ground below your glass veranda or glass room. A landscaping feature in itself veranda decking helps better define the outdoor living space and can reshape a ground layout to work better. But which deck board material should you choose? What might be best for you? It can pay to know your options and we offer the following advice to help get your veranda deck ideas nailed down.

Traditional Pressure Treated Timber Decking

Defying the numerous array of modern composite options, pressure treated timber remains the most popular choice by far with a good ¾ of new decks finished in this material. Economy will play a part in this favouritism with softwood timber boards costing significantly less than composite, although many will choose this natural material unpersuaded by plastic composite – just as they might prefer a real-wood lounge floor over wood effect laminate. Timber decking can simply be oiled to a natural finish or stained/painted in a wide colour range of anti-slip decking stains, allowing you to change colour ideas over time (an advantage not possible with composite).

Typically these boards will be made from slow grown European Pine that is pressure treated to resist rot and fungal decay for up to 15 years. Look for a premium version, 28mm thick rather than 20mm, responsibly sourced and FSC certified. Although commonly grooved, these boards can be found in a smooth finish giving a more elegant hardwood look.

Traditional Hardwood and Tropical Wood Decking

Most typically using Red Cedar, expect a hardwood deck to cost several times more than softwood timber. Upmarket and beautiful, usually smooth finished without those decking grooves, other popular wood choices include Garapa, Iroko, Siberian Larch, Ipe, Yellow Balau and Mandioqueira. Both Red Cedar and Siberian Larch give a characterful knotty finish while the others above keep a more uniform grained appearance. Hardwood decking is rated highly durable with a natural resistance to rot and decay and will often be sold as requiring no preservative treatment. That said, periodic treatment will add further protection and help keep its colour.

For time served deck purists Red Cedar will be the obvious choice for quality glass veranda decking. Simply requiring an annual jet washing and then a fresh coat of finish every few years, when first laid we’d advise a clear water repellent wood preservative then on subsequent treatments a semi-transparent tinted stain, maintaining the wood’s natural colour. If you don’t apply a stain the cedar will eventually weather to a soft silver grey.

Wood Fibre Composite Decking

Composite decking has fast grown in popularity with numerous manufacturers appearing in the market. Original ‘Composite’ was composed of wood fibers and recycled plastic, producing a material which one can appreciate is part natural while being extremely weather resistant. The appeal of using composite for your glass veranda or garden glass room is that it is maintenance free, it will never warp, split, splinter or rot. Expect quality composite decking to cost similar to hardwood but with the “fit and forget it” benefit of never requiring treatment.

Manufacturers such as Trex, with their Transcend range, produce composite boards with highly realistic deep grained textures faithfully mimicking the rich colour blends of hardwood. Trex decking boards are solid, not hollow section, they are well constructed and available in square edge design, for traditional surface screw fixing, or a grooved-edge version fixing with hidden brackets for a ‘screw-less’ appearance. At Elegant we have used Trex Transcend ourselves for quality glass veranda decking and can highly recommend.

Of course nothing lasts forever and it is still early days with composite decking; only time will tell how well different manufacturers boards last under long term exposure to UV sunlight and just what degradation or colour fade might be seen. Selecting a quality brand that has invested in research seems prudent, and for instance Trex claim a high-performance protective shell that resists fading.

100% Plastic Composite Decking

Not all composite decking boards are wood composite. Some products are entirely made of plastics including polyurethane, polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride – with no wood fibres at all. If south facing, keep in mind that under the heat of the sun these boards can become very hot (especially below a glass veranda roof or inside a glass room) so that during heat waves you can require shoes. A key appeal of this material is that nothing can ever rot, not even any wood fibres.

Manufacturer’s advice should be noted with some such deck boards requiring their support frame built with its bearers (the support joists) only 35mm apart, this due to the flexible nature of this deck board material. A short sample in your hands may not be enough to tell and you could be surprised at just how ‘bendy’ the full boards appear on delivery. Indeed, resurfacing an existing deck you could get ‘spongy’ results despite it previously feeling perfectly solid with traditional timber boards.

At Elegant we’ve installed polyurethane decking for our glass verandas and garden glass rooms and to stunning results. In particular we would draw attention to Millboard, a British manufacturer, with their unique ‘Weathered Oak’ range producing a highly realistic reclaimed floorboard style of deck. Millboard’s Weathered Oak (as pictured above) is literally moulded from reclaimed timbers for a genuinely authentic look of rustic antiquity. Special headless screws bury invisibly into the surface of these pliant decking boards, completely hiding the fixings.

In Summary

We hope that this article helps your decisions for that new veranda deck. Our simplest advice… if you have the money to spare, if you typically favour old school traditions and the thought of plastic flooring just doesn’t sit well with you, then look at hardwood – and get a carpenter craftsman doing justice to the material. If modernity is more your thing, if fully maintenance-free appeals and you don’t mind a significant budget achieving it, then look at high end composite decking such as the brands mentioned above. Or, if you simply want a deck, something solid to walk on, something that will last for many years and still cost a fraction of composite to re-board anyway (assuming that you are still at the same property after a decade) then don’t discount the humble timber option; still the No.1 popular choice and comfortable underfoot in hot weather, the economical timber option is fully paint stain-able for obliterating future scuffs or to entirely revamp its colour style over time.

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Glass Veranda Sun Blind

With summer in swing the demand is hotting up for our veranda sun blinds; patio roofs with a built-in sun awning and even vertical sun screens putting you in control.

An integrated sun blind provides welcome shade below your glass veranda, invaluable during heat wave periods and comfortably controlling glare on sunny days. Virtually a complete patio awning, our built-in sun blind installs below your glass roof keeping it out of the weather and clean from debris or bird droppings. Operated by remote control, at the touch of a button the sun blind glides quietly and effortlessly and can be stopped part-way for partial shade.

Options are plentiful to suit all tastes choosing from over 150 plain or patterned fabrics in a wide range of subtle or vibrant colours, including our Veil-Tex range allowing a veiled view through the blind. Choose between handset operation, wall switch, or fully automated action using a sun sensor! Advanced fabric technology ensures lasting good looks and the blind casing and hardware is beautifully made to blend with your glass veranda structure.

With our modular concept, retro fitting is available so existing glass verandas can have this sun blind added subsequently. Contact Elegant to view the fabrics and receive a tailored quote.

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Garden Veranda vs Glass Garden Rooms

What are the differences? Offering what advantages? In this article we look at why some customers prefer their veranda roof while others favour fully enclosed glass garden rooms.

We all enjoy an Alfresco lifestyle, using the garden as an extension to home living space, evident by the boom in outdoor lounge furniture and innumerable garden living accessories. But no matter how well furnished, an exposed patio has its limitations, requiring protection from the elements if you want an outdoor living space that is always available. Not necessarily down to cost or budget, the most successful installations can be based on lifestyle and intended use, deciding just where the line should be drawn defining an ‘indoors-outdoors’ living space; be it a veranda roof alone, or a full glass room.

Garden Verandas

A garden veranda (glass patio roof) provides permanent protection in a minimalist form, creating a defined furnished spot in which to gather and relax. This option can be seen as being entirely about the garden, enjoying the open outdoor space – outside yet protected! Their fully open nature allows great flexibility with how they can be used; swing hammocks pulled in, chair and table layouts altered, barbecue pushed under, fully adaptable arrangements. Harmoniously blending, with minimal structure (just two or three leg posts) a garden veranda makes the perfect home improvement for garden lovers, barbecue enthusiasts, would-be outdoor livers, or anyone wanting to enjoy their terrace better and more often.

Glass Garden Rooms

Glass garden rooms offer protection from above and the sides, still very much about enjoying your garden they retain a frameless clear view with a real sense of light and space. Then simply roll back your glass doors to make an open veranda! Rooms create a warmer enclosed environment, warmer for evenings and extending use of your terrace throughout the seasons. Garden glass rooms feel a little more ‘indoor’ compared to a veranda, yet still feel out of the house – very much an outdoor sensation feeling fully connected with the garden.

Larger size garden rooms can enjoy multiple options with furniture layout. For smaller rooms it’s always your design but we do recommend having at least one fixed glass wall giving somewhere to place furniture. Protected from the sides, cushioned furniture can sit to the edge yet keep clean and dry. Our glass garden rooms are ideal for home lifestyle lovers, garden admirers, or anyone looking to escape that “cooped-up” feeling stuck in the house, or cooped inside a conservatory.

Which is better? Whichever best suits you! Either way you’ll wish you had added it years ago, giving you more options for how you can enjoy your time at home.

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Summer With A Patio Roof

Glass patio roof canopies keep your patio dry from rain, but the benefits don’t stop there. Don’t under estimate the brilliant fair weather benefits of this addition to your home.

Luxury when the sun shines, we cannot overstate the joy of warmer sun through the glass; making the milder UK climate feel like your holidays. As sunlight passes through the glass canopy its warmth intensifies, lending a more Mediterranean climate to your patio, this benefit greatly increased adding fixed glass walls or frameless glass doors. Glass sides cut the breeze and contain the warmth, while our slide away glass doors put you in even more control developing your patio roof into a complete sun room.

Stepping out to your patio you can really feel the difference, an Alicante terrace you can holiday at home. On overcast days the warming continues, inviting you out when otherwise you’d feel housebound. Again, sides help this, containing a microclimate.

UVB is dramatically filtered, you don’t burn through glass like you would on the open patio, while laminated glass significantly filters UVA too. Adding our built-in sun awning (housed below your patio roof glass) puts you in even more control; adjusting light levels and shade on sunnier days, and forming an insulative barrier for microclimate during evenings. The more you add to your patio roof the better it gets, although our modular design allows you to install the roof alone then add as little or as much as you desire over time.

A super place to sit, enjoying a better, longer summer, protected from the elements with a clear open view of your garden. A glass patio roof offers a unique added option for enjoying your time at home… and we haven’t yet touched on the wet weather benefits!

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Elegant Glass Verandas Facebook

It’s been a long time coming (years!) but we’ve finally created a Facebook page and all at our office admit to an element of excitement enjoying the customer feedback already.

Along with our news blog this added feature helps customers keep in touch – and keep up to speed with our activities throughout the year. Expect to see installations in progress, get updates on new products, and hear promotions and offers as they happen. The No.1 social media giant makes it all possible and can now be seen in every corner of the Web.

Find our page and follow us at…

https://www.facebook.com/elegantglassverandas/

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Spring is on the way!

Spring is on the way, a very welcome arrival, and it’s at this time of year that interest grows in our glass verandas as we all start looking again at the patio and garden.

Yes, temperatures are on the up! We should get into double figures most days now, and see more sunshine and blue skies. The daffodils are coming through and at Elegant we saw the first snowdrops while walking the dog in the local park.

Everyone’s thoughts begin to turn to the garden and just how we’ll all be making best use of it. The first sweep of the patio, and general garden tidy up, rejuvenates interest in our outdoor space causing us all to think about clement seasons to come.

A few garden jobs can make a big difference at this time, including giving the lawn a cut, if the ground is firm enough, this sweeping away winter neglect and encouraging the start of lawn growth. But do be mindful of frost. It’s also a good time to tidy up the borders, giving them a light dig over – getting some air back into the soil. At home we are looking at the evergreens too, a light pruning tidy up before new growth begins; giving them a better shape to grow into.

Beyond green fingers, its also time to plan our alfresco season! Has the barbecue survived? We all love an outdoor lifestyle, looking forward to summertime in the garden, and what every garden needs is a protected furnished space in which to really enjoy it. Early planning, getting a quotation at this stage, can avoid longer lead times and take advantage of off-season discounts and see your glass veranda or glass garden room installed for the very start of the season.

After an afternoon’s work in the garden, what better way to relax than under an Elegant Glass Veranda…