Conservatories used to only have one roof option: polycarbonate. Over time, some older models have experienced problems such as leaking roofs, overheating, cold spots and poor sound insulation. With improvements in conservatory roof technology, these problems have been virtually eradicated.
A wider range of materials are now used to make conservatory roofs, which perform better for longer. Glass roofs use clever reflective coatings to keep the room at a comfortable temperature, tiled roofs are insulated to reduce heat loss, and modern polycarbonate roofs are now more energy efficient than ever before.
Glass conservatory roofs
If you want a sleek, architectural finish for your conservatory or extension, a glass roof is the ideal choice. They are available in any size and shape, and you can even specify a large atrium style roof.
Glass roofs are constructed using strong aluminium frames which support the glass units. These are also thermally efficient, and can be fitted with uPVC ‘caps’ to match the frames if you have a uPVC conservatory. Sturdy and robust, these roofs are designed to withstand the worst of the British weather, including high winds and heavy snow.
Advances in glass technology means that a glass roof conservatory is not a greenhouse. These high performance roofs are designed to retain natural heat whilst reflecting the sun’s glare, for a room that you can use all year round. A designer will be able to help you choose the right roof glass for your conservatory, depending on the angle of the sun.
Orangery designs often incorporate a glass roof that covers the whole roof without meeting the edges. This is because the inside features an interior ceiling perimeter, and the glass roof ‘lantern’ sits on top like a crown.
Lantern roofs can be made for any shape of orangery or conservatory, meaning you can have a more ‘square’ type design, or one with rounded edges. You can even choose the frame colour, roof pitch, and glass type. The 'pelmet' or ceiling border can also incorporate lighting and even speakers.
Polycarbonate conservatory roofs
A polycarbonate roof is a multi-layered plastic roof made with clear or tinted plastic. It is created using layered ‘multi-wall’ plastic sheeting with an air gap between the sheets that helps to trap warm air. Lightweight and structurally stable, polycarbonate is an excellent and affordable way to roof your conservatory.
Like other roof materials, polycarbonate is now better equipped to deal with the elements. Blue, gold and other tinted roofs can help reduce heat gain by as much as 7 degrees on a hot day. Modern polycarbonate roofs also contain solar reflective inserts, which can reduce glare and block up to 99% of UV rays.
Tiled conservatory roofs
One complaint about ageing conservatories is that they let in too much light and heat from the sun’s rays. Whilst these issues have largely been resolved, some homeowners prefer to opt for a tiled roof instead.
Tiled roofs can fit the shape and style of your conservatory, giving you a vaulted or sloping ceiling. Different tiled finishes are available to match any style home, such as slate grey, pale shingles, Marley clay, and black or red tiles. Tiled roofs can even incorporate skylights or glazed sections if you want to let in more light.
These roofs are also known as ‘warm roofs’, because they can achieve high levels of thermal insulation. They can reach a U value as low as 0.12 W/m²K – that’s better than the average house roof.
Tiled roofs can be installed as quickly as any other conservatory roof, so you can start using your new conservatory sooner rather than later.
Traditional conservatory styles are ornate, with decorative features such as cresting along the ridge, and a finial at the top or end point. Another consideration is the roofline – you can specify a cornice, or neat roof edge trim, which adds to the period styling. Ask your designer about rainwater systems and downpipes to check that this system doesn’t detract from the overall look of your conservatory.