Conservatory roof types

The best conservatory roof types

When thinking about what would be the best roof type for your conservatory, your choice should be based on how you want to use the space.

Conservatory glass roof

What is the best Conservatory roof type & material?

When you think of a conservatory, it doesn’t have to be a fully glazed structure with a glass roof. Modern conservatories have come a long way and there are a variety of conservatory roof types constructed from different materials.

When thinking about what would be the best roof type for your conservatory, your choice should be based on how you want to use the space.

  • You might like the idea of light-filled space, but have a south-facing space and worry it will be too hot in summer.
  • You might want a space that is easy to heat in winter, so you need good insulation.
  • Or, you might want to create a space that makes you feel like you are sitting outside and embrace a fully glazed structure.

Conservatory roof types

What is the best material for a conservatory roof?

Glass conservatory roof

Glass conservatory roofs

Glass roofs can be made to many styles and shapes from sleek lean-to or large atrium style roof and offer a beautiful aesthetic that allows light to flood in.

Modern construction uses a strong aluminium frame to support the glass creating a sturdy and robust roof designed to withstand the worst of the British weather, including high winds and heavy snow.

The drawback of glass is the ‘greenhouse’ effect that can make the space too hot for comfort in summer and too cold in winter.

Advances in glass technology using coatings designed to deflect solar gain and retain heat have created performance roofs that allow you to use the conservatory all year round.

However, there are limitations to how well the glass roof can perform under intense direct sunlight. If you have a south facing conservatory, we would recommend that you need roof blinds to keep the temperature controlled in warmer months. Or, choose a hybrid roof system.

For a glass conservatory roof, there are a variety of glass options available:

Standard glass

Building regulations stipulate that you must have double glazing (as a minimum standard) in a conservatory.

Constructed in the same way as your house windows, the double glazed units have two panes of glass with a layer of Argon gas between.

Your double glazing should be a minimum rating of A, ideally A+ or A++ for triple glazed. Watch out for cheap conservatories using B rated standard glass.

Self-cleaning glass

Glass conservatory roofs are not easy to clean so incorporating self-cleaning glass makes life a lot easier by reducing maintenance.

The self-cleaning glass has an outer coating of titanium dioxide. This coating reacts with water molecules in the atmosphere to break down dirt on the surface of the glass, which then gets washed away by the rain.

If it doesn't rain, the moisture in the atmosphere turns into a film and slides down the glass by gravity and takes the dirt with it.

The coating can stop slightly less light coming through the window but otherwise looks the same as standard glass.

Low-E glass

Solar gain from strong sunshine is the biggest problem for a glass roof as it creates a ‘greenhouse effect’.

Low-E glass has a reflective layer applied to the outside of the glass that can deflect up to 80% of the sun's heat. On the inside, the coating stops heat from escaping, creating a warmer space in winter and cooler in summer.

Ideal for conservatories that face south or south west.

Solid tiled

A tiled roof conservatory is closer to a house extension, but it still retains the feel of a conservatory by allowing light to flood in the fully glazed walls.

The significant improvement in heat retention from the improved insulation of the solid roof is the main reason of choice for this conservatory roof type. A tiled roof can reach a U value as low as 0.12 W/m²K.

The other reason for choosing a tiled roof is that it helps to manage climate control for south facing spaces.

Tiled roofs can be fitted quickly to the shape and style of your conservatory, giving you a vaulted or sloping ceiling.

An expensive option that moves the conservatory towards being an extension, a tiled roof will ensure that you have a versatile space that can be used all year round in comfort.

Tiled conservatory roof
Livin roof solid and glazed conservatory roof

Hybrid roof

If you like the idea of a tiled roof but want to allow light to enter, a hybrid roof is a perfect balance of the two.

A hybrid roofing system is constructed from insulated composite external panels and high-performance PU board insulation. These are robust, and totally thermally efficient.

Glazed panels are inserted in the roof to create large glazed areas and offer a bright and contemporary feel.

Hybrid roofs are the least affordable option, but will create a desirable and optimised space.

Polycarbonate conservatory roofs

A polycarbonate roof is created using layered multi-wall plastic sheeting with an air gap between the sheets that helps to trap warm air. The plastic is half the weight of glass so you won't need a reinforced frame and can be used to create a lightweight structure quickly and cheaply.

Lightweight and structurally stable, polycarbonate is affordable but isn’t a material that we recommend for a domestic conservatory.

At one time, all conservatory roofs were polycarbonate but they suffered from leaking, overheating and poor sound insulation. The aesthetic is poor and a conservatory with a polycarbonate roof could devalue a property as it can be off putting to buyers.

At Everest, we only ever suggest polycarbonate for an outbuilding as a last option.

Polycarbonate conservatory roof
Everest conservatory roofs, guaranteed for peace of mind

Our replacement conservatory roofs are fitted with a 10-year guarantee against condensation, discolouration and leaks.

The different conservatory roof types overview

Conservatory roof typeSuited toAdvantagesDisadvantages
GlassAny propertyMaximum light, longevity, glass optionsNot for south-facing rooms, noisy
Solid tiledAny propertyVersatile space, heat retention, adds valueLack of light
Hybrid glass/solidAny propertyHeat retention and light, versatileLeast affordable
PolycarbonateOutbuildings onlyCheap, light, easy to fitNoisy, aesthetic, climate control

Can I change my conservatory roof from glass to a solid roof?

Wanting to change an existing glass conservatory roof to a solid roof is a common question.

You can replace your conservatory roof, but you must answer the following:

  • Are your foundations deep enough to bear the extra load?
  • Is your base structure/frame strong enough to take the additional weight?
  • Does the change of structure affect building regulations?

You can add a solid roof to a conservatory without the need for planning permission if it falls under the permitted development guidelines for an extension outlined here.

However, to be exempt from Building Regulations your conservatory “Must have a significant proportion of the roof and walls glazed”. There isn’t a specific guideline on what the percentage ratio of glazing/solid must be and this is down to the discretion of your Local Building Authority. We recommend always speaking to your local authority before starting any building work.

Speak to a qualified expert who can survey your current conservatory and advise you on requirements.

Conservatory roof type FAQs

  • +
    What is the cheapest roof for a conservatory?
    The cheapest roof option for a conservatory is polycarbonate but we would not recommend this for a domestic conservatory due to the reasons listed above.

    The next cheapest option would be a traditional glazed roof.
  • +
    Which is the best conservatory roof insulation?
    The best type of conservatory roof for insulation would be a solid tiled roof.

    U values measure the heat leakage from a roof, so the lower the value indicates the higher the heat retention. A tiled conservatory roof can achieve a U value as low as 0.12 W/m²K.
  • +
    What is the best type of roof for a conservatory?
    The best type of roof for a conservatory would have to incorporate heat retention, glazing to benefit from the extra light and aesthetic appeal that can add value to your property.

    On this basis, a hybrid solid and glass roof would be the best choice.
  • +
    Is a glass roof better than polycarbonate?
    Polycarbonate is a cheap material but can devalue your property if used as a conservatory roof.

    Glass has the aesthetic appeal of a classic sunroom to create a bright room flooded with light.

    Based on these reasons, a glass roof is a better option than polycarbonate. We would never recommend to use a polycarbonate roof on a domestic conservatory.

Refresh your existing conservatory with a new, bespoke conservatory roof

We offer replacement conservatory roofs and conservatory roof conversions in three distinctive styles, so you can upgrade your conservatory without the expense of replacing the full structure.