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.

If you're considering a new conservatory, or thinking about a replacement conservatory roof, the following guide covers the differences to consider when choosing the right roof for your needs.

Conservatory roof types

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.

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.

Self-cleaning glass

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

Self-cleaning glass uses natural weather conditions to break down and wash away dirt. An invisible coating on the outer face of the roof glass acts by harnessing the ultraviolet energy in ordinary daylight to create a chemical reaction that breaks down organic dirt which then gets washed away by the rain.

Solar Control glass

Solar control glass acts in a variety of ways to protect the conservatory from the adverse effects of the sun. It reflects sun rays, helping to keep the conservatory cooler in the summer, while the tint reduces glare from the sun.

It also offers protection against ultra-violet degradation, keeping furniture and fittings looking good for longer.

Livin roof solid and glazed conservatory roof

Hybrid Solid Roof

A hybrid solid roof conservatory is closer to a house extension, but still retains the feel of a conservatory by allowing light to flood in through glazed panels in the roof.

The superior insulation of a hybrid solid roof will improve the heat retention of a conservatory creating a room that you can use all year round, whatever the weather.

Everest has two styles of hybrid solid roof:

  • Synthetic tiles, in three colour options, that replicate the natural look of slate with the addition of full height rectangular glass panels
  • Contemporary anthracite grey composite panels with the addition of shaped glazing panels

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.

Conservatory roof types and materials overview

Conservatory roof typeBest suited toBenefitsConsiderations
Lean-toAny property, low rooflinesAffordable, clean linesA simple design
VictorianTraditional propertiesMaximum viewsNot for low rooflines
EdwardianTraditional propertiesElegant styleChoose hip-back for low roof lines
Gable-endTraditional and modern propertiesMaximum internal spaceChoose hip-back for low roof lines
GlassAny propertyMaximum light, longevity, glass optionsCan be too warm in south-facing rooms
Hybrid solidAny propertyHeat retention and light, versatileLeast affordable
PolycarbonateOutbuildings onlyCheap, light, easy to fitPoor climate control, noisy and not aesthetically appealing

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 from insulation would be a hybrid solid 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 is all about personal choice and how you intend to use the space.

    Ideally the best roof should incorporate heat retention, glazing to add light and aesthetic appeal that can add value to your property. However, the choice is up to you whether you go for fully glazed or a hybrid solid roof there will be a conservatory that suits your requirements and your property.
  • +
    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.