Conservatory roof options – the pros and cons

It used to be that conservatories could only have a glass or polycarbonate roof, but nowadays the home owner is faced with more of a choice.

Here, we look at the pros and cons for all the conservatory roof options.

Glass conservatory roofs

The pros

  • Wide range of installers. As the majority of conservatories in the UK have glass roofs it comes as no surprise that there are many, many builders and installers capable of providing you with this type of conservatory and roof. You will not have a problem finding a good selection of local businesses who can supply you with quotes for comparison.
  • Let the light in – one obvious advantage of glass conservatory roofs is that they let the light in. In the summer, you can look out at the blue sky, at night you can do a bit of star gazing.
  • Long lasting – modern conservatory glass is durable and long lasting, any one having a modern conservatory with a glass roof should not have to worry about replacing it for decades (though they might want to, as we will come on to). The durability of glass in some ways justifies the high initial expense for this roof material.
  • Can be visually appealing. Glass roofs can divide opinion – does the glass make the conservatory look like a bolt-on to the house, a somewhat unsympathetic addition. However, when the glass has been recently cleaned, it can make the whole conservatory pleasant to the eye. Some people love the look, others less so.

The cons

  • Expensive – glass conservatory roofs can be expensive compared to other options though it is worth noting that they are far more durable than polycarbonate roofs and so the cost-per-year of the roof's life might actually make glass a more appealing option.
  • Poor ability to regulate temperature. Although conservatory glass has improved, it is still poor at its main task, namely to keep the conservatory within a pleasant temperature range. A conservatory with a glass roof will often be too hot to enjoy in the summer and too cold in the winter, rendering the whole room useless at the very times it should be the heart of the house.
  • Not a huge selling point – because the flaws of glass conservatory roofs are so well known, any would-be buyer may well see a conservatory as wasted space rather than something they are willing to pay extra for. The expense spent on building a new conservatory with a glass roof may not be recouped at sale time.

Polycarbonate conservatory roofs

The pros

  • Cheap – polycarbonate roofs are cheaper than glass and so keep the initial expense down. However, the lack of durability can lead the homeowner to having to pay out again for a replacement sooner than would otherwise be the case.
  • Easy to work with – polycarbonate is easy to shape and work with and so can easily be made to fit any conservatory, however unique the roof shape.
  • Different levels of transparency – Anyone opting for a polycarbonate roof can choose what colour and opacity they prefer and so prioritise letting light in or keeping the temperature up.

The cons

  • Poor heat regulation – polycarbonate roofs suffer from the same issues as glass – when it is hot outside the conservatory will be hot inside. The homeowner can go for a polycarbonate option that priorities keeping the room cool, but, in reality, these only make a subtle difference.
  • Not the most attractive – polycarbonate roofs are not generally considered to be the most beautiful. As with glass, they carry the danger of looking like a bolt-on but, unlike glass, they are not attractive in their own right.
  • Relatively easily damaged – the pros of polycarb – that it is light and easy to install are also one of its disadvantages, the lightweight nature of the material also means it is easily damaged. It is far more likely you would have to pay out to repair a polycarb roof than it is with other materials.
  • Noisy – if it rains, you will know all about it with a polycarbonate roof.

Solid Tiled Roofs

The pros

  • Make the conservatory usable. This is the key advantage of this type of roof, they transform a roof that makes the conservatory too hot in the summer into one that keeps the conservatory within a pleasant range. The proof for this claim is shown in the regulatory change that was made in 2010 – until then, conservatories had to have either a glass or polycarb roof; that was updated when Guardian demonstrated the benefits of a solid, lightweight tiled roof
  • Look attractive. The tiled roofs come in a range of styles and subtle colours with an option to match every type of property. This changes what might have looked like a bolt-on into a sympathetic extension to the rest of the house. A solid, tiled roof gives the homeowner a great extension without the cost of an extension.
  • Financial benefits. The greater thermo-efficiency of solid, tiled roofs leads to the homeowner saving an average of £200 per year on their energy bill, according to independent research by AECOM. Longer term, the work is likely to have paid for itself and more besides, any would-be buyer is essentially getting an extension rather than a flawed conservatory and this is work they are willing to pay for.

The cons

  • Not as much light let in. Compared to glass, a solid, tiled roof will obviously let in less light. The lightweight nature of the roof means that sky lights and other features can be easily installed and so the conservatory remains a light, airy space. However, nothing will match the light let in by a pure glass roof.
  • Not all solid, tiled roofs are equal. The increased demand for this type of roof, either on a new conservatory build or replacing the existing roof on a conservatory, means that an increasing number of companies are offering to install them. It is worth noting that the Guardian Warm Roof has full Local Area Building Control approval and you should expect this of any roof and installer you chose to go with
  • If you have already paid for one roof, it's extra expense. Solid, tiled roofs are often installed as a replacement to a flawed glass or polycarb roof. This is extra expense, more money going on a project where the aim would have been to get it right the first time. While not a flaw of tiled roofs, it is natural for homeowners to feel aggrieved at having to pay out twice.

About Guardian

As the company that developed the Guardian Warm Roof, the leading solid, lightweight tiled conservatory roofs, we have a natural bias for this type of roof.

We didn't, though, just make the roofs for fun. They were developed to correct a problem, to provide a conservatory roof that was fit for purpose when previously the only choice had been between two flawed products.

If you would like to know more about our conservatory roofs, please use the links below and please give us a call with any questions on 0115 966 7671.

Gallery of roof styles

About Guardian Warm Roofs

Further Information


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