For many homeowners, the prospect of an extension can seem daunting or expensive. Instead, they opt to install a lean-to. In essence, this is an additional structure, often made from a variety of materials, attached to the side of a property. It’s a useful route to take for a number of reasons, a major one being the fact they can often be built without planning permission.
However, the lifespan of these lean-tos can vary, depending on the materials and craftsmanship that went into building it. In this post, we examine what the potential lifespan of a lean-to might be, and how to make it go further.
Lean-tos are a common addition to homes in Britain. Whether it’s a conservatory on a detached house or a covered area at the rear of a terrace, they’re used for a number of purposes. Many people use a small lean-to for storage, particularly of garden tools and other items that would otherwise be difficult to house without a shed.
However, they don’t last forever. When they choose to install a conservatory or lean-to on their property, many homeowners don’t realise that it will eventually need replacing. A lean-to should last for at least 10 years, to a maximum of around 25 years. Yet, many people have allowed this marker to pass and are suffering issues with their conservatory or lean-to as a result.
In order to extend the lifespan of a lean-to, care should be taken to ensure proper and thorough maintenance. Even uPVC needs regular upkeep to prevent it from becoming discoloured and leaky.
There are two major aspects to monitor, and these are the ventilation and insulation of your lean-to. Without adequate ventilation, you’re likely to have issues with condensation. This can prove very damaging if left unattended over long periods of time, particularly if your lean-to is made from wood. It’s imperative that your lean-to has adequate airflow, whether that’s through an open window or an extractor fan.
Good insulation also plays its part in the prevention of condensation, making it easier to regulate the temperature in your lean-to, as well as making it a more pleasant place to spend time in.
The most permanent version of a lean-to would be built using bricks for at least part of the structure. Many lean-tos are made from a brick base that rises to around a metre or more, with a glass or plastic construct attached on top. This will mean a longer lasting lean-to, but depending on your surroundings and the posited size might mean a planning application is necessary.
Yet, perhaps this is the best option. If you’re serious about adding value to your property and want a space you can use all year round, it may be that building an extension onto your home is your best bet. An architect will be able to draw up plans that not only fit your property’s existing aesthetic but could incorporate a number of new features, including integrated smart technology. And best of all, it’ll last as long as your house does, rather than requiring replacement a decade down the line.