“Help! My conservatory roof is leaking what should I do?” – got the same question? We often get asked what the best conservatory roof replacement options are so here is a comprehensive article to help guide you to the right choice.
When your conservatory reaches the end of its life it’s always worth considering all the options available as every year roofing materials improve and trends change. You will see huge benefits in choosing the right roof for your conservatory: increased insulation, better light transmission and an improved aesthetic to name just a few!
There are three main types of conservatory roof replacement options to choose from:
No matter whether you have a lean to conservatory, Edwardian or any other style all these options are available to you. Each roof replacement option has its differences and benefits, so which of these is best for you?
Polycarbonate conservatory roof
The polycarbonate roofing sheet option is by far the most popular conservatory roofing material to use. Primarily, polycarbonate conservatory roof sheets are chosen for their lost cost, easy installation and great light transmission. The overall cost of the entire project will always be less when you select polycarbonate than it would be when using tiles or glass.
Conservatory roof sheets offer the simplest installation process, particularly contrasted to installing a solid conservatory roof or glass roof, as they are substantially lighter. Lighter, however, does not mean weaker and when compared to glass polycarbonate sheeting is a safer choice, being shatterproof.
Unlike a tiled or solid roof conservatory, a polycarbonate conservatory roof will allow lots of natural light into your space producing a much more open, bright feel. Naturally, most people expect conservatory roof panels to be clear however, some options offer shading. With polycarbonate, you get flexibility on how much light you want inside with different tint options like bronze polycarbonate and opal polycarbonate.
Two types of polycarbonate sheets can be used on a conservatory roof. Multiwall Polycarbonate sheets are the best option with their low cost and multiple-layered design which ensures excellent insulation. Ideally, for a conservatory, you are best to purchase 16mm sheets or thicker to get the best spanning and insulation. The most common conservatory roof sheet thicknesses include 16mm, 25mm and 35mm, which offer increasing insulation as they get thicker. There is also the solid polycarbonate option. Looking like glass, these sheets are 200 times stronger and impact resistant so are the safe choice. Solid Glazing Sheets don’t have as strong insulation values so we would tend to recommend multiwall polycarbonate for 99% of projects unless you have a conservatory with open sides.
When buying from a quality manufacturer, like Axiome®, the sheets will be UV protected which reduces the risk of your sheets discolouring or weakening over time.
If you already have a polycarbonate roof and want better insulation next time we would suggest upgrading to a thicker sheet thickness. This is a simple way of boosting your conservatory's thermal insulation and energy efficiency.
Finally, when it comes to installing conservatory roof sheets, it is worth knowing that this is an easy process and best done using glazing bars. With the budget PVC glazing bas, you can’t go wrong with achieving a low-project cost overall. However, you may want to consider Aluminium Glazing bars as they provide a much longer life span and durability.
Glass conservatory roof
For a premium clear option with excellent transparency, you may want to consider a glass conservatory roof. Installers often consider glass the highest quality clear roof option - it has a high price to demonstrate that!
Using glass to replace your conservatory roof allows maximum natural light transmission which is a big reason why homeowners tend to invest more money into using it. Glass is also known to be very durable which is great for harsher weather conditions whether it be a heatwave or snow and ice. Although not shatterproof (more on this in a moment).
With modern glass-filled glass units, a Glass roof conservatory will offer great thermal insulation and thus save you money. Not only is glass energy efficient but also self-sufficient if you get self-cleaning units. Quite simply, this means that you won’t need to get your glass roof cleaned as regularly. Even though it will still need thoroughly cleaned every so often, the time cleaning the windows will be quite low. Glass is also a good option for noise reduction as it has strong sound-absorbing qualities, although not to the same level as a solid conservatory roof.
To install a glass roof conservatory, you would need to use aluminium glazing bars which are self-explanatory to install but handling the glass panels may require professional help.
Although glass conservatory roofs are a great option to use, the final cost will be much greater than using polycarbonate. It will also require professionals to install the roof for you so you will have the cost of labour, plus the additional material cost. On top of this, there is always the risk of the glass shattering making it a dangerous material to have around for some projects. It is riskier with younger families, for example, a stray ball hitting a glass pane could easily smash it.
So, is a glass conservatory roof the option for you? The style is clean and modern so, in many cases, this decision simply comes down to whether you are using a professional to install your roof for you and your budget.
Tiled conservatory roof conservatory
Finally, tiling your roof is a good idea if you are looking for better insulation and a more enclosed feel. Tiled roofs are known to last much longer than other alternatives, with great thermal qualities ensuring you are kept warm in the winter. Tiled roofs are great for heat reduction as the material has a lower U value (being solid) which means any heat is transmitted at a lower rate than with glass or polycarbonate.
Using tiles for your conservatory roof comes with the benefit of low maintenance as they do not need regularly cleaned and any dirt will be hidden in the colouring of the tiles in the main. As much as tiles insulate heat they insulate and reduce noise. During wet and rainy days you will hardly notice the noise of the rain on your roof.
On the other hand, a solid conservatory roof is the most expensive option by a significant margin. If you are replacing an existing lightweight roof the walls will also need reinforcing, with tiles being heavier, so this can add to the costs. As this is a more expensive option, it is often the case that plastic tiles are used, however, be aware that they can fade over time meaning that they may need to be replaced sooner than intended. If you are going to invest in a solid conservatory roof it is best to use a traditional tile for the longest life span.
Disadvantages of a solid roof conservatory
- Require Additional Structure - Tiles are a heavy material creating a lot of additional weight on your roof. This means that you will need to make sure you build a proper structure to ensure that your roof structure can support the extra weight and doesn’t fall in.
- Expensive - A solid roof conservatory is a very costly option meaning that you will have to be prepared to spend a lot and have a bigger budget. The materials themselves are more expensive, then you have the cost of the additional structure that needs to be built, which all adds up.
- Reduced Light - With a tiled roof, you have the least amount of light coming in unless you add in a window (again an extra cost). Unlike polycarbonate or glass, where you have natural light flooding in from the ceiling.
- Moss Growth - Tiles on your roof are more likely to attract moss growth. This can cause multiple problems for you as it will damage and obstruct drainage points.
- Planning Sometimes Required - Some councils require planning permission if you change to a solid conservatory roof which will take time and planning.
What conservatory roof replacement is best?
The most popular conservatory roof replacement option by a significant margin is polycarbonate sheets, for their cost and easy installation. Other top choices include tiled conservatory roofs and glass conservatory roofs; these are more expensive options but have their benefits.
It entirely depends on your preference, however, polycarbonate for roofing your conservatory is by far the unrivalled leader. The alternatives do offer some unique benefits. With a glass roof comes a high-quality clear finish but with a bigger price tag to match this. Tiles are great for heat reduction but also substantially reduce internal light and can make your indoor space shadowy.
What is the cheapest conservatory roof replacement option?
Polycarbonate sheets are the cheapest conservatory roof replacement option you can buy. When choosing polycarbonate conservatory roof sheets, the cheapest type recommended is the 16mm polycarbonate sheet with PVC Glazing Bars. If you want to invest a little more, upgrading to a thicker glazing sheet like 25mm or 35mm and using aluminium glazing bars is a good idea. Even still, this will be sustainably cheaper than any other conservatory roof alternatives.
How to install a replacement conservatory roof?
This entirely depends on which type of replacement roof you decide to go for. The more lightweight options like polycarbonate can easily be done by DIYers as most systems are easy to install. On the other hand, heavy-weight or full replacement options will require tradesmen or a professional installer. Especially if you choose to go for a glass or tiled replacement roof.
Need Help with your Conservatory Roof Replacement Project?
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