Side Return Extensions

Everything You Need To Know

Side return extensions-Lavenham-Road

Side return extensions are one of the best ways of improving either a terraced or a semi-detached house. However, it’s important to ensure you get the project right: it’s something that can go very wrong if you’re not careful.

Here’s our guide on everything you need to know about putting together the perfect side return extensions.

What it is

A side return extension is typically carried out in the kitchen area. The side return – the pathway that runs alongside the ground floor of your home – makes the perfect space on which to build the extension. Hence the name side return extensions.

Get the project right and you’ll be able to enjoy a bigger kitchen, as well as a brighter ground floor.

How much structural work is usually required?

There are a few major changes that’ll be needed if you want to install this kind of extension. That’s why it’s important to get the design right.

You’ll need to:

  • Build a new wall on the boundary between your land and your neighbour’s, on the kitchen side. This will depend on how agreeable your neighbours are. The wall might have to be installed solely on your side.
  • Add a new roof to the extension area. Many people go with a fully glazed roof or a skylight in order to take advantage of the opportunity for a brighter kitchen.
  • Knock through the sidewall of the current rear room. How completely you do this – sometimes only a partial knock-through is necessary – will depend on the individual project.
  • Install a new floor to cover the newly extended area. For obvious reasons, most people will simply have an entirely new floor put down.

Will I need planning permission for a side return extension?

Council rules for this kind of project actually changed back in 2008, so as of 2017 you usually won’t require planning permission. This applies as long as the extension is only on the ground floor and doesn’t go any higher than four metres.

It also can’t be any wider than half the width of your house’s size before the build starts. It’s worth noting that even though it’s fairly likely you won’t need planning permission, there will be building regulations you’ll need to comply with.

You should be able to consult with your project manager on this kind of issue.

How long will the project take?

Obviously, this is another thing that depends on the individual project. However, for a fairly standard house, it’ll tend to take somewhere between eight and ten weeks for the structural work. Plus, of course, the time for decorating the new space once it’s up.

Which glazing works best?

As we mentioned above, it’s often best to go for an all-glass extension. One of the biggest benefits of having this kind of build is how much brighter it’ll make your kitchen. You’ll be able to sit around the table in summer and enjoy the brighter evenings while enjoying a family meal.

An opening roof light is a great option for the overhead panels, too. There are a number of models available that’ll automatically open and close according to the temperature, so you can ensure you’ll always have a breezy, airy space.

It’s also worth remembering to include some fixed panes in your design, simply so you can enjoy the uninterrupted views of your garden when it gets warmer.

It might also be worth exploring the potential of advanced glazing. There are a number of options that could help you cut down the amount of UV rays allowed to enter your kitchen, which could obviously be a risk if you quickly introduce a lot of glazing to your project.

Folding v sliding doors

Everyone has their own perspective on the debate. Folding and sliding doors both have their own unique benefits.

The differences is fairly simple:

Sliding doors open by sliding one or more of the panes of glass behind another. Bifold (or folding sliding doors, as they’re otherwise known) open in a concertina motion in which the panels fold together.

The choice between the two is often a matter of how large the opening to the outside space is. If the opening is larger, sliding doors tend to work better. This is due to the fact that with more room, having a few panels that don’t open makes less of a difference.

Bifold doors, meanwhile, work very well for smaller spaces, as they allow for nearly the whole set of panes to be opened up. This means customers can take full advantage during the summer. Managing Director of ODC Door & Glass Systems Tim Hedges explains,

“As a rule, we find that where the opening to the outside space is not particularly large, our customers tend to choose bifold, or folding doors, as this means that they benefit from being able to have the whole space open to the garden. Where the opening is larger, we are seeing more people opt for sliding doors as, for them, it matters less than one-third, or perhaps even half the space, will still be a glass panel. Sliding doors will have much less visible profile (or frame) when closed, which some customers believe aesthetically adds more ‘wow factor’. For example, we have just finished an installation of sliding doors where our client’s house has a stunning view onto Poole Harbour. The choice of sliding doors in this case was absolutely the right one.’In terms of visuals, both options look great, but many customers still prefer the ‘wow’ factor that comes with a good pair of sliding doors.”

The other main factor is that bifold doors can run on one track, whereas the sliding doors will always have at least two. This won’t bother every customer, but it does affect the aesthetic. So, for those of us lucky enough to be embarking on a home renovation project, there is a lot to consider, and as Tim reiterates,

“It is key to plan the glazing elements of your project early. High quality glazing is a considerable investment and you have to get it right.”

One of the keys to success in creating a side return extension is ensuring the project is planned perfectly. The best way to do this is to work with a professional firm who know what it takes to achieve great results. If you’d like any guidance on managing the glazing for your project, give us a call at ODC Door & Glass Systems today. We’d be happy to help.