How to Construct a Solarium: Planning and safety are important factors to consider when creating a solarium.

Constructing a new solarium can be done by any experienced DIY person, provided a few basic procedures are carried out first. Always consult your building regulations or planning permissions inspector, who can explain whether or not you are likely to need to apply for any special permissions, before you start work. Think about your ideas for designing the solarium and try to develop a few plans that will help you start the construction, such as which materials you prefer to make it from, and how large it can be to fit in your chosen space.

5 Steps to Follow

1 Plan your new solarium using design tools, such as a computer program specifically for planning new rooms. Decide on materials and how much you need, measure your space using a tape measure, match the style to your existing structure. Compare quotes on the materials from at least three suppliers before purchasing. I found some great doors for mine on www.dpdoorsandshutters.co.uk.

2 Lay the floor, using concrete blocks and ready-mixed concrete, or mix your own using cement powder and water. Apply concrete to narrow areas with a trowel, fix brick walls together using fresh concrete and a trowel. Mix new concrete if the old batch goes off and starts looking dry.

3 Cut insulation boards to size with a saw, to ensure the whole room is covered. Fix the insulation boards to the walls using concrete, and allow to dry for at least 24 hours. Fibre insulating board has a high heat resistance and low thermal conductivity: Compared to metals, like iron, with a thermal conductivity of 80 watts per meter Kelvin (W/mK), insulation boards have a thermal conductivity of only 0.048 W/mK.

4 Choose wood panels for the walls; Pine makes a bright, airy room. Measure and mark the positions of each wood panel before fixing. Drill a hole at each end of the wood panels using an electric drill and at a corresponding point in the wall. Insert rawlplugs into each hole in the walls, fix the wood panels to the walls, by screwing wood screws into the rawlplugs, using a screwdriver.

5 Screw UV lighting into the ceiling and walls. Protect the bulb glass with a heat-resistant shield that allows UV light to pass through. Ensure the door or entrance to the solarium is never locked, 100-watt bulbs are suitable for home tanning, and last up to 700 hours before they need replacing.

Tips & Warnings

Wear protective gloves when handling concrete, to avoid drying and damage to your skin.

Do not allow children to use the solarium.

Do not spend longer than 10 minutes at a time, every few days, in a fully- equipped tanning solarium that is switched on: 20 minutes in a solarium is the equivalent of lying in full sun for 4 hours.

Ultraviolet rays are damaging to the skin and can cause cancer with excessive exposure, so always wear sun cream and buy a security door to prevent accidents.

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