What conservatory roof systems are available?
There will eventually come a time when even the most well-built conservatory roof needs to be replaced. Alternatively, you may be designing your dream conservatory, and want to make sure you have the perfect roof from the beginning. This short guide will explain the basic types of conservatory roof systems, and give you an idea of which companies supply them.
Solid Conservatory Roofs
These are essentially ‘normal’ home roofs that happen to cover a conservatory. The actual surface could be tile, shingles, or any other standard roofing material.
Solid conservatory roofs offer a bit more privacy than other types, and are typically much warmer in the winter. They do cut down dramatically on the light, of course. Some roof designs seek to mitigate this with the installation of one or more skylights, just as a typical home roof might.
This is the most popular conservatory roof type, with well over half of the conservatories in the UK incorporating glazed roofs. They consist of glass panels which are fitted much like windows, in a wooden, steel or uPVC frame. Just like glass windows, there are a variety of sub-types. Double glazed conservatory roofs are available, which offer much better insulation than single glazed. You can also choose between clear, frosted and other glass styles.
No matter which sub-type you select, a glazed conservatory roof will let in the maximum possible light, but will always let more heat escape in the winter compared to a solid roof.
Polycarbonate is a lightweight, less expensive alternative to glass. It is easier to fit polycarbonate in large panels, and is reasonably well insulated, especially compared to a single-glazed glass roof. It is also much more resistant to cracking and breaking.
Polycarbonate does generally have a shorter useful life than glass when used as a roofing material, and tends to become scratched or hazy over time. Frosted-effect polycarbonate roofs are much better about hiding this kind of wear, and are therefore more popular than completely transparent ones.
Choosing a Supplier
There are a great many suppliers of conservatory roof systems in the UK today. Some of the most well-known are briefly profiled below:
Guardian specialises in installing well-insulated solid-type conservatory roofs in a variety of styles. They are an excellent choice if your primary concern is that the conservatory be warm and inexpensive to heat throughout the winter months, or if you wish your conservatory roof to match the materials and styling of the home’s roof very closely. They do not currently offer glass or polycarbonate conservatory roofs.
SupaLite produces solid roofs as well, but they specialise in very light tiled roofing systems. They are not typically as heavily insulated as Guardian’s roofs, but are much more so than most glass or polycarbonate roofs.
SupaLite also offers a remote-controlled skylight system called TermaBlind, which combines many of the advantages of solid and transparent roofs.
Ultraframe is another well-known supplier of conservatory roofs and related products. They specialise in glazed roofs, and can boast that roughly half of the conservatories in the UK incorporate their Ultraframe Classic roof, either under their brand or one of their associated brands.
Everest produces windows, doors, conservatories and related products. They do not specialise in any one type, and offer several examples of solid, glass and polycarbonate conservatory roofs.