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Conservatory roof replacement Q&A from Tradelink


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14 July 2022

Conservatory roof replacement Q&A from Tradelink

Stuart Walker, Head of Living Space division at Tradelink discusses when and how you should replace the roof of your conservatory

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Pictured is a stone-built orangery with an Ultrasky lantern with bi-fold doors to the side

How do I spot the signs it's time for a new conservatory roof?

If you have an older conservatory, it could be time for an upgrade! Perhaps, the conservatory has started to leak or suffer from excessive condensation which causes mould, damp, or mildew. It may be that the conservatory does not feel comfortable and is getting too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. There could be cold draughts while older conservatories may have developed structural issues or just be in a state of disrepair. If you are not spending time in your conservatory, consider changing the roof so you can transform the space into a room you will love.

How much does conservatory roof replacement cost and is it worth it?

It all depends what type of roof you decide on (and how big your conservatory is!). Glass roof replacements typically cost £2.5k - £8.5k with solid roof versions costing double this. Turning an often-unused room (no more than a storeroom) into useable living space will increase the value of your home. So, it is definitely worth it both in terms of enjoyment and investment.

How long does it take to replace a conservatory roof?

Again, depending on the type and size, a conservatory roof can be replaced in as little as one day but is more likely to take two to three days. 

What are the benefits of replacing a conservatory roof?

It is a chance to update and transform your living space. An under-utilised space can be revived to provide a useful additional room. A thermally-efficient glass roof lets the light flood in whilst allowing you to enjoy the conservatory all year round. You can now mix both glass and solid panels to create a contemporary space or go for a lightweight solid roof option which turns your conservatory into a more traditional extension. A pleasant side effect of having a thermally-efficient conservatory roof is that your new room will rely less on your home's heating system to generate warmth. It can block the sun's rays during the summer and prevent heat loss at other times.

Conservatory roof materials - what are the options and what are the pros and cons?

Polycarbonate.This is generally the cheapest option. However, the new roof can be noisy when it rains, and security is not the best. With the advances in glass performance and competitive pricing, many companies no longer offer this option.

Glass.Still the most popular option. Advances in glass technology mean modern glass roofs can be very thermally-efficient keeping the space cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. ‘Self-cleaning' coatings keep the roof looking good for longer and make maintenance easier. However, even with the advances, glass still has its limitations and can't block the sun totally or provide the level of installation a solid roof would.

Hybrid glass and solid panels.A perfect blend of allowing a light space, with higher thermal efficiency. A more contemporary space can be created.

Lightweight solid roof.This turns a conservatory into an extension which truly is an all-year-round space to use. Just be careful cutting off light; not so much in the conservatory itself as it will generally have lots of glazing to the sides, but to the room its connected to. The conservatory may have been across the only windows to the outside. A solid roof has better soundproofing.

How long will a new roof last?

The quality and workmanship, positioning and weather, and maintenance through its life will all affect its longevity. New roofs should come with at least a 10-year guarantee, and it is expected that modern glass roofs would last up to 20 years with solid options potentially lasting up to 50 years.

When replacing a glass or polycarbonate conservatory roof

When replacing the roof, you should first consider the condition of the frames which are going to support the new roof. The roof and frames were probably put up at the same time and it is not only roof technology that has improved over the last few years. The frames are more protected, so will probably be in better condition than the roof. Remember, though, if you think you may want to change them in the short term, the roof would have to be removed again. There are lots of types of glass available with various tints and colours. If your conservatory is north-facing, you may want to allow the maximum amount of light and warmth in. If your conservatory is south-facing, it may be important to reduce as much of the sun's glare as you can. Most people will replace a roof, like for like. It is, of course, possible to change the shape of the roof but things like the structural design of the frames would need to be considered along with the way the conservatory fits onto the house. Something will need to be done to the existing house wall to make good the area (either inside or out) where the existing roof used to be if the shape is changing.

When replacing a conservatory roof with a solid roof, what are the options and what work is required?

Replacement solid roofs are lightweight but can still weigh more than the existing roof. It is likely they will need structural support via the frames. If your existing conservatory is less than 10 years old, it is likely the frames will be able to support the new roof as the existing frames should have reinforcement in them or be linked together with structural couplers. The presence of metal reinforcement can be checked with a magnet. If there isn't any, additional support may be required (or new frames). The existing foundations also need to be capable of supporting the additional load. Hopefully, the base of your existing conservatory will be sound but signs of cracking, or the base coming away from the house, may be an indication that the foundation is only shallow and that should be investigated at this stage. There is a variety of tiles to choose from so you should consider whether you want to match your existing roof tiles or go for something contrasting. Internally, the ceiling will have plasterboard and you may be able to have a flat ceiling or vaulted one (following the shape of the roof). A new solid roof means you could have downlighters in the ceiling.

Do I need planning permission?

It all depends, but generally no. For example, it is possible changing a glass roof to a solid roof would class as a ‘change of use' and planning permission would be required. Also, depending on the type, it may be necessary to get building control approval. The rules and conditions can be complicated so we always advise you use a reputable company; they will complete a survey and establish what permissions are required as every situation can be different.

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With Compliments
Taylor Alden Ltd
7 Bell Yard