Conservatories were limited to just one choice of roofing system years ago: polycarbonate. Due to the nature of the material problems start to occur as age takes it’s toll, issues such as overheating, cold spots, non existent acoustic insulation and leaks. Technological advances within the home improvements industry and specifically conservatory roof design and development have eradicated all of these issues.
A larger range of thermally efficient materials are now used to make conservatory roof systems, which perform a lot better and last much longer. Glazing now features smart reflective coatings which regulate the temperature, tiled roofs reduce heat loss with built in insulation, even modern polycarbonate systems are now thermally efficient thanks to technology.
Glass conservatory roof types
Homeowners looking to create a sleek, architectural style for their conservatory or extension should consider a glass roof. Available in virtually any size and shape, creating flexibility in design from a basic Lean-to through to an atrium style roof.
Glass roofs are manufactured using lightweight, yet strong aluminium frames which not only support the glazing but they also act as a purge ventilator and a gutter. This design makes them thermally efficient, and can be fitted with either uPVC or aluminium caps to compliment the existing conservatory window frames. Thermally broken, strong and robust, these roofs are the perfect way of bringing the outside inside and making the most of the outdoor space, whilst standing up to the harsh winter weather in Cornwall without loss of performance.
Because glass technology has advanced so much a glass roof conservatory can be enjoyed the whole year around, and doesn’t become too hot or too cold due to poor temperature regulation, older glass conservatories are often like greenhouses . High performance glass is designed to reflect the glare from the sun and regulate the heat that occurs naturally, creating a light, bright room that can be used all year round. A good designer will factor the direction of the sun whilst helping you too choose the right style of glass foor for your conservatory. There are ways to limit too much sun from entering the room by using pelmets and glass lanterns.
Orangery roofs often feature a glass roof lantern which covers the whole area allowing enough natural light to enter the room, but a shaded area is produced around the edges of the frames. This is because the inside structure has an interior pelmet, and the glass ‘lantern’ sits on top of the flat roof. Inside a beautiful feature is created which allows natural light to flood the space, plastered pelmets with LED lighting create a cosy ‘Real Room’ feel, perfect for relaxing or entertaining.
Lantern roofs are extremely versatile structures which can be constructed to suit any shape Orangery or Conservatory, you can choose from ‘square’ type designs, or even rounded edges. There is a huge choice of frame colour, glass type and even the pitch of the lantern. The super insulated, internal ‘pelmet’ is the perfect setting to place lighting or even speakers.
Polycarbonate conservatory roofs
A polycarbonate roofing system is a simplistic and lightweight design which is comprised of multiple layers of either clear or tinted plastic. This type of design is known as multi-wall, plastic sheets are bonded together with air chambers in between which are designed to trap warm air and regulate the heat inside of the room. Due to the lightweight design and integral strength, polycarbonate is an excellent and affordable conservatory roof.
Unlike older polycarbonate the modern materials are now far better suited to dealing with the elements and regulating the temperature. Coloured systems that have a tinted hue such as blue or grey can help reduce the absorbed heat by up to 7 degrees on a sunny day. Newer materials contain inserts which reflect solar glare, and can block almost 100% of harmful UV rays.
Tiled conservatory roofs
There is a growing trend for homeowners to install tiled conservatory roofs on existing conservatory frames, this is because people prefer the ‘real room’ feel and the benefits of the energy efficiency. One gripe about older conservatories is that they let too much light and heat from the sun into the room. Modern conservatories do not suffer from these issues, however a large number of homeowners are opting for a tiled roof.
Tiled roofs or warm roofs as they are also know will fit your existing conservatory frames, creating beautiful vaulted ceilings with a plaster finish. Externally the tiled finishes come in a wide variety to match any style property. You can choose a tile that matches your home perfectly, Carbon or slate grey, Marley clay tiles, even black or red coloured tiles allow seamless intergration. Tiled roofs are not dark and gloomy, you can incorporate full glazed sections or Velux style windows to focus natural light exactly where its needed.
Warm roofs have the highest levels of thermal insulation with U values as low as 0.12 W/m²K – this is actually better than most average house roofs.
Pre-constructed tiled roofs can be installed in much the same time as any other conservatory roof style, so you can start enjoying your new ‘real room’ much sooner than you expected, with a typical installation taking no longer than a few days. Besides the speedy installation another perk of choosing this type of construction is the value that it adds to your home, as much as 10% which makes it a wise investment.
Choosing the right flourishes to decorate your build is something that your designer can help you with. Typically a traditional conservatory would feature ornate, decorative finishes like a cresting along the ridge cap, or a finial at the top. Modern styles tend to have sleeker lines and the roofline might feature a cornice. The roof decoration that you choose can transform the way your extension will look and how it matches the style of your home.