Whether you’re planning a new conservatory as a beautiful, light-filled extension to your home or thinking of upgrading your existing conservatory with a new thermally efficient roof, the first decision you will be making is the choice of material. Today’s conservatory roofs are a far cry from the very basic polycarbonate that was most commonly used in the past: old style conservatories were often difficult to heat in winter and became uncomfortably hot as soon as the sun shone, meaning that they were often underused as living spaces. The use of materials with excellent insulation properties means that simply by changing the roof, you can transform your tired conservatory into a living space that will enhance the appearance and value of your home.
When deciding on the material for your conservatory roof, there are basically three options: glass, high quality polycarbonate or a lightweight tiled roof. Each of these materials has its pros and cons so to help you decide, we’ll take a look at their characteristics in more detail.
If you’re planning your dream conservatory as a space that maximises the natural light in your home or as a room that makes the most of lovely views, a glass roof is clearly an excellent choice. Glass brings a visually pleasing, contemporary aesthetic to modern buildings while also blending happily with more traditional architectural styles. A glass roof can transform an unloved conservatory into a space you can use at any time the year, allowing you to enjoy the clearest views of sunny blue summer skies or star-studded nights.
One perhaps surprising advantage of a glass roof is its energy efficiency. Compared with lightweight tiled roofs, glass conservatory roofs offer far superior insulating properties. The latest advances in solar control glass combat the extremes of temperature that have sometimes made conservatories seem rather inhospitable places in the past. When the sun is shining, this high-tech product allows fewer solar rays to pass through the glass, thus making your conservatory a cool and comfortable place to relax in summer while in winter, its high level of thermal efficiency allows the room temperature to rise more quickly, so your conservatory is much cheaper to heat.
Glass absorbs more than 50% more noise than polycarbonate: so is the perfect choice if noise levels are a concern. Some people may love the sound of rain drumming loudly on a traditional polycarbonate conservatory roof but if you want to use your conservatory regularly, you will probably soon find it becomes an irritation. If you want to be able to hold a conversation or listen to music even when it’s raining heavily, you will be pleasantly surprised by a modern glass roof: in fact, you might not even be aware that it’s raining.
If you like the look of glass but hate the chore of keeping it clean, choose the latest self-cleaning glass roofs and windows. If any dirt sticks to this specially treated glass, the sun’s rays break it down into tiny particles that are easily washed away naturally by the rain, especially from a pitched roof.
If you want your conservatory or orangery to look more like a conventional extension that complements the architectural style of your house and creates a seamless addition to your living space, a lightweight tiled roof is a good choice. These tiles often mimic the natural look of tiles, but are easier to install and less expensive than traditional tiles. Some other benefits of a lightweight tiled roof include:
Lower energy bills
A lightweight tiled roof prevents heat being lost through the roof during the cooler months, so both reducing both your energy bills and protecting the environment by lowering the carbon footprint of your property.
A useable room at all times of year
A lightweight tiled roof means that your conservatory will be a warm and cosy space for relaxing or entertaining even in the depths of winter. In summer, a solid roof provides shade, so your conservatory remains a comfortable living area however hot it gets outside.
A lightweight tiled roof is probably going to last much longer than one constructed from the other materials commonly used today. Lightweight tiled roof are extremely hard wearing with excellent wind and hail impact resistance, as well as resistance to discolouration from U.V. rays.
A thoughtfully designed conservatory with a lightweight tiled roof will enhance your property and really give it the wow factor. Tiles are available in a wide array of colours and patterns to suit every taste, allowing you to design a conservatory that blends in with the style of your home or one that makes a stunning contrast to the rest of the house.
There are distinct advantages to both glass and lightweight tiled roof so your decision will come down to your personal taste and factors such as how you plan to use your conservatory. When deciding, it can be helpful to take a look at your energy bills for both summer and winter periods and choose the material that brings the most benefits for your situation.