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Choosing the Right Conservatory Roof

There are several reasons to add a conservatory to your property; it can give you much-needed extra space, it can open up the house to the garden, it can act as a pleasant sunroom or a playroom for children and it should increase the value of your house.

To achieve the best possible building however and one that meets your expectations, it is important to select the right materials to suit your requirements.

The conservatory roof may be the single most important part of the construction. A cheap roofing system or a poorly installed roof can cause a variety of problems and could result in a room, which is not pleasant to use.

If it isn’t planned correctly, the roof could contribute to the conservatory being too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Getting a good understanding of the different types of roof and the different materials used for conservatory roofing, will help you to choose the best system for your particular needs.


The style of the conservatory will affect the type of construction for the roofing system.

The style of the conservatory will affect the type of construction for the roofing system.

Roofing systems

The style of the conservatory will play a big role in the type of roof that can be installed, but different materials and glazing can be used for most types of roofing. The basic lean to conservatory has a single pitched roof, while more modern conservatory designs use either a pitched roof or a flat roof.

The traditional styles of conservatory, Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian, tend to have pitched roofs with ornate frames, but may have several different pitches to suit their more intricate shapes.

The construction of the roofing system will depend largely on the style of conservatory, but most conservatory roofs consist of an aluminium eaves structure, which is fitted to the frames of the building and acts as a support for the roof.

Glazing bars are fitted between the eaves as necessary and glazing units or polycarbonate panels are installed in-between them to complete the roof.


Glass Conservatory Roofs

Glass roofs are generally the more popular choice for conservatories, as despite being more expensive than polycarbonate, they offer a variety of benefits. One of the key advantages to a glass roof is the clarity; this allows more light into the room, and means you can clearly see the sky above.

They also tend to have better insulating properties and with the development of specialist glass, can actively control the amount of heat and light which can enter the conservatory.

Self-cleaning glass, for example, is an excellent choice for conservatories as it takes away the need for regular cleaning and maintenance. Modern double glazed units for conservatories are also now available with special coatings applied to both interior and exterior. The coating on the external glass reflects some of the heat and light from the sun and helps to keep the conservatory cool during the summer.

It also helps to reduce the fading and weathering of furniture within the conservatory by reducing direct sunlight, which could be of importance if you plan to use expensive furniture or fabrics in your design. The coating on the internal glass acts as insulation, and reduces heat loss from the conservatory during winter. If you plan to use the conservatory all year round, it will need to be heated; specialist glass like this will help to reduce the cost of heating.

Soundproofing is better with glass than poycarbonate roofs.

Soundproofing is better with glass than poycarbonate roofs.

In general, glass also has better soundproofing qualities than polycarbonate, and there are some specialist double glazing products on the market with improved soundproofing properties. This might be necessary if you live near a busy road, or wish to keep outside noise to a minimum.

Any glass roofing system you consider should be double glazed, and should be supplied or installed by a FENSA registered company.

Glazing units can be fitted with most types of frame, whether you choose uPVC or wood, and for a conservatory that will be in regular use throughout the year, glass is probably the best option.


Polycarbonate Conservatory Roofs

Polycarbonate is the alternative material to glass, and is still very popular for conservatory roofs. If you are building a conservatory purely for growing plants, for example, it may not be necessary to stretch the budget for a glass roof, as polycarbonate would usually be sufficient.

Polycarbonate panels come in a variety of thickness ranging from 16-35mm. The thicker the material the better insulating properties it has, and at its thickest can be as energy efficient as standard double glazing, but cannot match the U values of specialist glazed units. As the material distorts the sunlight, it lacks the clarity of glass, and does not have the same soundproofing qualities.

Polycarbonate also has a tendency to get dirty much quicker than glass, and can develop a green sludge between the panels; this means the roof is likely to need cleaning once or twice per year.

If you intend to use your conservatory regularly, polycarbonate may not be the best choice as it will cost more to heat, it will not reduce outside noise, and it will require more regular maintenance. If it is to be an occasional room, or one used for plants and gardening, polycarbonate may be a better option as it is cheaper to buy and to install.


Roof blinds

Roof blinds are an important part of the overall roofing system and should not be overlooked. Although not essential, they can make a difference to the look as well as the comfort factor of your conservatory. Good roof blinds will help to block out sunlight on very bright days, and will also help to reduce heat loss from the conservatory during cold weather.


Summary – Conservatory Roofing

If you are having a conservatory built for you, the roofing system will probably come as part of the installed conservatory, but it is still important to specify which type of materials you want to be used.

The roof is one of the biggest factors in the usability of the room when it is finished, as it can control the amount of heat and light which comes into the room, and can also help to reduce heat loss. Think about what your conservatory will be used for, and how the roofing system will affect it.

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