Best Conservatory Roofing Material Options
The most common conservatory roof materials are glass, polycarbonate and tiles. The material that's best for you will depend on what you want to achieve from your conservatory.
You don’t need planning permission to change your conservatory roof, but you will need to submit a Building Regulation Application if you're replacing a translucent conservatory roof with a solid roof.
Always choose a company that’s a member of The Conservatory Association to install your conservatory roof. Made up of 230 of the UK’s leading manufacturers, suppliers and installers of conservatories, this cooperation aims to promote high standards in the industry.
What's in This Guide to Conservatory Roofing Options?
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What's the Best Type of Conservatory Roof?
The best types of conservatory roof are:
- Glass conservatory roofs
- Solid or tiled conservatory roofs
- Polycarbonate conservatory roofs
The best type of roof for your conservatory really depends on what you are looking to achieve. The most popular material used on conservatory roofs is glass which lets in lots of natural light. You can also opt for tiles if you're looking to create more of an all-year-round extension.
Tiled or solid roofs won’t let as much light into the room but they will provide good insulation and can be fitted with skylights.
You can also install a cheaper alternative to glass which is called polycarbonate, although this material is made of plastic and doesn't insulate as well. You'll also not be able to benefit from new innovations in glass technology such as self-cleaning and anti-glare products.
Here are the most popular conservatory roofing options in detail:
Glass Conservatory Roofs
Glass conservatory roofs are a great way to bring more light into the room.
There are many different types of glass to consider when choosing your new roof. Thermally efficient glass reduces the amount of heat escaping. It comes in the form of double-glazed panels and can also be protected with a special coating to minimise glare.
Self-cleaning glass reduces the hassle of getting to those hard-to-reach places on your conservatory roof. It works with a special coating that reacts with sunlight to break down dirt.
As conservatories can get very bright, particularly in the summer, tinted glass is a good idea to reduce the intensity of the sun’s rays.
Solid or Tiled Conservatory Roofs
Solid or tiled roofs can help solve problems with temperature control as they provide effective insulation in the winter and reduce the intensity of the sun in the summer. They're also a good idea if you're keen to make your existing conservatory into more of a permanent extension that can be enjoyed throughout the seasons.
Although having a solid or tiled roof won’t make your conservatory as bright as one which is made of glass, you have options to install velux-style windows or combine solid roof panels with glass panels to create the best of both worlds.
Polycarbonate Conservatory Roofs
A cheaper alternative to having a glass conservatory roof is polycarbonate, though these are not as efficient at maintaining a consistent temperature in the room. They also let in more noise and less natural light because the panels are generally opaque.
While glass roofs are more expensive, they will be a better long-term investment compared with polycarbonate. The amount of progressive technologies in glass mean you can enjoy everything from energy efficient glass to units with self-cleaning properties.
Select the type of conservatory you currently have to get a bespoke quote for a new conservatory roof.
Do I Need to Change My Conservatory Roof?
There are many reasons why you might need to change your conservatory roof. Perhaps it's been damaged by mould, or suffers from condensation and leaks. An older conservatory may have poor energy and thermal efficiency, which will increase your energy bills. This will also make it less likely to be enjoyed during the winter which means you're not getting the most out of your extension.
Can I Replace My Conservatory Roof with a Tiled Roof?
Yes, you can replace your conservatory's roof with a tiled roof, but you must ensure that its existing structure and foundations are able to carry the extra weight of roofing tiles.
There are several ways of converting a conservatory roof to a tiled roof. The first is to simply fit a new tiled roof over and under the existing roofing system. Although this is the cheapest and easiest method, it’s only recommended for conservatories that are already structurally adequate for a tiled roof.
The second (and more common) method is to completely remove and replace your existing roof with a new roof frame that’s able to support the additional weight of roof tiles. This usually involves installing reinforced eaves beams.
Before carrying out the work, a roofing company must survey your conservatory and provide evidence of its ability to carry the extra weight of roof tiles. They’ll be able to advise you on which re-roofing method is best for you. If a roofing company fails to do this, you should go elsewhere. Fitting a tiled roof onto a conservatory that isn’t strong enough can put it at a real risk of moving or, even worse, collapsing.
Select the type of conservatory you currently have to get a bespoke conservatory roofing quote.
Do I Need Planning Permission to Put a Solid Roof on a Conservatory?
In a nutshell: no. Thanks to a change in law in 2010, you can now replace your polycarbonate or glass conservatory roof with a solid roof, without needing to apply for planning permission.
You will, however, need to comply with building regulations and submit a Building Regulation Application. Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the health and safety of their occupants. It is not the same as planning permission.
Because conservatories are traditionally lightweight structures, they aren’t designed to support the weight of a solid roof. So there’s a real risk of a conservatory moving (or even collapsing), with a heavy solid roof. A Building Regulation Application is therefore needed to ensure this won’t happen.
Who Are the Best Conservatory Roofing Companies?
When choosing your conservatory roofing company, we recommend that you check they're a member of The Conservatory Association. This is a division of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) which promotes the highest technical standards and protects homeowners when buying glass or glazing products.
The best companies to install your new roof can be both national and local. One of the leading national replacement conservatory roofing companies is Everest who have been in business for over 50 years fitting windows, doors and conservatories that are custom-made for your home.
Tips for Getting the Best Price
When looking for the best price for your conservatory, it’s worth taking a little time to compare at least 3 installers that are a mix of both national and local companies. This will give you time to digest what they to offer and whether or not they're the right choice.
It’s not a good idea to sign a contract the first time you meet with an installer and before you’ve had a chance to shop around.
It’s also key to consider that choosing the cheapest option could prove to be a false economy as installing a conservatory is about quality, energy efficiency and durability. Check out our conservatory roof price page for more information on costs.
Is a glass roof better than polycarbonate?
Yes. Although a glass conservatory roof can be up to 4 times more expensive than a polycarbonate roof, a glass conservatory roof offers many more benefits. Glass is a much better insulator than polycarbonate, meaning your conservatory will stay warmer during the colder months. This can save you money on your energy bills as you’ll rely less on your central heating. Glass also lets in much more natural light than polycarbonate conservatory roofs. Polycarbonate tends to be made of a slightly opaque plastic, meaning you won’t be able to see outside clearly.
Can a conservatory have a solid roof?
Yes, a conservatory can have a solid roof and you no longer need to seek planning permission for it. You will, however, need to submit a Building Regulation Application to ensure that your conservatory complies with building regulations.
How long does a conservatory roof last?
How long your conservatory roof will last depends on what material it’s made from. A glass or polycarbonate conservatory roof will last about 10 to 15 years, whereas you can expect a conservatory with a solid roof to last much longer - around 50 years (or more). Slate and clay roof tiles can have up to double the lifespan of cement roof tiles.
How much does it cost to replace a conservatory roof?
The cost of replacing a conservatory roof will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your conservatory and what material it’s made from. A polycarbonate conservatory roof is the cheapest to replace, and will usually cost between £2,500 and £5,500. Glass and solid conservatory roofs cost more to replace, and you should expect to pay anywhere between £3,000 and £7,000.
Find Out How Much a New Conservatory Roof Will Cost You