As any homeowner with a conservatory that has a glass or polycarbonate roof will know, during the summer months the room becomes at best overly hot, at worst unusable.
When the thermometer heads up to the mid 20s and beyond, the conservatory becomes a virtual sauna, more somewhere to go to shed a few pounds, less somewhere to go for a relaxing afternoon.
The poor homeowner is then left with a choice - ignore this problem or try to fix. If they chose the latter, what is the best option, is there a cheap way to make a conservatory usable, after all the build will have cost a few thousand pounds in the first place.
One option that is often considered is to install conservatory blinds. There are many companies that make these blinds, the price can seem appealing and they also add to the aesthetic appeal of the room.
However, do they keep a conservatory cooler in summer? We were going to pout ‘do they work’ but that is unfair - the aim of the blinds is not to act as a cooling device, that instead is a byproduct many people hope they have.
Unfortunately, it’s bad news. Installing conservatory blinds will have little impact on the summer temperature, they certainly won’t change a room that is too hot into one that is suddenly pleasant. At best, they will make the conservatory slightly less uncomfortable, but whether that is a sufficient result from a potential four-figure price tag is questionable. Essentially, they change the room from ‘there’s no way I’m going in there’ to ‘it’s a bit better, but I’m still not going in there’.
There is no really quick fit, incredibly cheap way to make a conservatory usable. As the developers of replacement conservatory roofs, which we will talk about further down this page, we can talk about the benefits of replacing the glass or polycarbonate roof with a lightweight, solid tiled roof.
Equally, we understand that not everyone will want or be able to have a new roof installed, making the conservatory usable might be a nice-to-have but not something you can spend a significant amount on.
What we would say is don’t throw good money after bad - do not waste a significant sum on a solution that doesn’t actually solve the problem. To make a conservatory usable it either needs a new roof or, even more extreme, the whole conservatory needs removing and replacing with an extension.
Why don’t blinds keep the temperature down?
As has been written about on many other sites, the issue with the blinds is that the solar energy passes through the glass or polycarbonate and then gets trapped between the blind fabric and the double glazing. This creates a layer of hot air at the top of the conservatory which then spreads out and heats the rest of the room, potentially actually making overheating issues worse rather than better.
A further problem is that the blinds can lead to damage of plastic trimmings - the trapped hot air distorting the nearby plastic.
That the blinds can look great is undeniable and people can be happy with their purchase as long as they go in knowing that it will not solve the overheating issue. The excellent whatzrice website carried a detailed review of conservatory blinds, the reviewer spent close to £2,000 - this a fair few years ago - and got some blinds that looked great, were a superb fit, but did nothing to make the room more usable.
One option that is proven to work to make conservatories usable is our replacement conservatory roof.
While many products might claim to solve the problem - be that reflective films, blinds or extractor systems, it is worth noting that it was the Guardian Warm Roof that led to regulations being changed. It is also a product that has full Local Area Building Control (LABC) approval.
Until 2010, conservatories had to have either a glass or polycarbonate roof, this was only changed because we proved that a lightweight, tiled replacement could be fitted to any existing conservatory structure and would do the job it was made to do - i.e. to make the conservatory usable all year round.
Of course, replacing the roof does cost money, but it is a figure closer to adding blinds than to starting again and having an extension built. Despite that, the end product is that you have a room that is effectively a superb extension, extra space that can be enjoyed all year round.
As well as making the room usable all year round, a Guardian Replacement conservatory roof also has a few other key benefits.
The roofs blend in with the rest of the house. Whereas a glass or polycarbonate roof can look like a bolt on to the rest of the house, our tiled roofs come in a full range of styles and colours, ensuring that the finished product will have the look of a sympathetic extension. Please browse the online gallery to get a feel for the styles.
The roofs are also easy to install; only ever installed by approved companies, the work typically takes just three days, and that is to remove and recycle the old roof, install the new and apply all finishing touches.
Finally, it is a change that makes financial sense. There are energy bill savings to be enjoyed, the independent AECOM finding that these would come to 3200 per year on a typical property with a conservatory.
Better still, should you ever look to sell, the work is likely to have paid for itself and often more besides. This is because any would-be buyer is getting what is in effect a great extension rather than a flawed conservatory and this is work they are willing to pay for.
If you are interested in this option, please do have a look round the site and get in touch by calling 0800 0665832 or dropping us a message online. You can also request an obligation-free quote by filling out the form that appears on this site (it is on the homepage).