Once upon a time there were two basic choices for a standard conservatory roof, standard glass or polycarbonate. While letting in lots of light, they also let heat in – and out.

It meant that depending on the position of a conservatory, it could be too hot to handle in the height of summer while sending the mercury plummeting in the depths of winter. 

Building technology has moved on, however, and modern conservatories are far more thermally efficient. With A+ glazing and insulated roofs on the market, a conservatory today will have a more stable ambient temperature than one built a decade ago.

Renovate

For those with an existing, older style, conservatory, with a polycarbonate or traditional glass roof, there are now options to transform its ability to keep heat in during the cooler days and reduce solar glare when the weather is brighter.

Garry Morgan, director of Denbighshire-based Artisan Windows and Conservatories explained: “Recent technological advances in the fenestration industry over the past 10 years have been extraordinary. It means that a conservatory or orangery built today will be far more thermally efficient than 10 or even five years ago.

“These new roofing and glazing products can often be retro-fitted to an existing conservatory, making it more energy efficient and helping the room keep a comfortable ambient temperature all year round.” 

One of the most popular options is a solid tiled or slate effect roof. This system boasts the same thermal efficiency as a traditionally constructed house roof, but is a lightweight system that can be retro-fitted to an existing conservatory.

In a grey slate or red-tile effect, the exterior of the roof is designed to sympathetically blend with most UK homes. It even has a textured finish, created by using natural stone granules in an acrylic base coat. 

Inside the conservatory, a solid roof creates more of a garden room feel. The ceiling can be finished with plasterboard, painted white to maximise light, or tongue and groove to give a more mellow finish. To allow some sunlight in, it’s possible to add a rooflight window.

A view of the stars

For many homeowners the sense of light and space that came with a conservatory is hard to beat. 

Garry explained how low emissivity (low-e) glass had made huge strides in improving the thermal efficiency of glass roofs. “Low-e glass is standard clear glass, which has a special coating on one surface,” he said.

“It is designed to reduce the amount of heat that is conducted by around 30 per cent compared to ordinary glass. Essentially it reflects heat back into the conservatory, while reducing solar heat gain.”

This combination, not only helps to reduce heat loss, but by cutting glare, also reduces the damage that can be caused to interior furnishing by ultra-violet rays. For minimal maintenance, self-cleaning glass is also available in a low-e option.

Structure

While the vast majority of conservatories can be upgraded to a new roof, Garry cautioned that it was important to have a full site survey. “Depending on the positioning of the conservatory, its design and existing structure, there are a number of options, including a lightweight panelled roof, that offers complete flexibility for shade and light.

“A site survey costs nothing and is the best way to explore all of the options available,” he added.