What the cost of insulating a conservatory roof?
One of the biggest challenges with conservatories is combating the problem of too much heat, light and glare in the summer months and the cold and damp in the winter caused by condensation and moisture. This can mean there aren’t many seasons left when you actually want to sit in your conservatory. The cost to insulate your conservatory roof can range from £500 all the way up to £4000 for a new solid roof depending on your requirements. Read more below!
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Some people get around the problem of thermal regulation and temperature control by installing a solid tiled roof on their conservatory but this can totally change the aspect and nature of the structure. New glazing materials certainly offer better temperature regulation than the old single glazed roofs but are there other effective insulation options that don’t require a completely new roof?
You can insulate the conservatory roof you already have - there are some DIY cladding options or some roofing contractors will offer products which they can fit for you to fulfil this purpose - or buy new roof insulation panels which can be dropped in, in place of the existing ones.
Adding insulation to the existing roof - the pros and cons
The conservatory roof is always the target for insulation projects as hot air rises so most of the heat loss during the winter months is through the roof. Conversely, in the summer, the roof works to preserve the heat which is what makes the room so unbearable hot and stuffy. Glare on a cloudy day can also make it uncomfortable to sit and read, watch television or use a computer screen.
Here are some of the current insulation options which you can add to your conservatory roof to improve thermal regulation and temperature control:-
- Solar Control Film – economical to buy, solar control adhesive film offers a ‘no compromise’ insulation option retaining the full glazed look of the conservatory whilst controlling the sun’s rays and the build up of excess heat by up to 80%. This film can also be used on some or all of the windows. It comes in an easy to use roll which is cut to the size needed to fit and there are a variety of finishes and colours to choose from – coloured, reflective, frosty, tinted or clear
- Aluminium Foil and Thermal Wadding - these are traditional insulation materials which both emit and absorb heat depending on the season, the cost is minimal and is a task the keen DIY enthusiast can undertake themselves
The problem with adding any materials to your existing roof, principally thermal wadding and aluminium foil, is the additional weight they will add to the main frame of the conservatory which it was never designed to bear. Often, wooden battens have to be attached to fix on the insulation and this can add considerable weight to the supporting structure plus the insulation material on top. Adding panels often means drilling into the glazing bars which compromises their rigidity and can leave them prone to leaks.
Aluminium conservatory roof insulation panels
These are some of the best products for improving the thermal regulation in inefficient old conservatories. They can solve the temperature problems at both ends of the spectrum and increase the usability and serviceability of your conservatory in an instant.
The panels are made of a thick thermal insulated aluminium construction with a powder-coated surface which not only looks attractive but solves all the issues of poorly insulated conservatory roofs in one single move. They work by reflecting heat away in the summer months and preventing excess energy loss in winter which ordinarily will leak through a single glazed or polycarbonate roof. Aluminium insulation panels provide a real viable alternative to new uPVC double glazed units with performance levels that easily compete with if not exceed them. These insulated aluminium panels can work on a range of conservatory styles from your modest lean-to to a full, blown Victorian orangery. So, what are their advantages:-
- They reflect heat away from the conservatory so no more complaining that the conservatory is too hot to sit in. Preventing solar gain will also protect your plants from an environment that is too hot and protect your fabrics from bleaching and fading without the need to resort to expensive blinds. The only light that will come into the conservatory is through the windows and the door
- Insulated aluminium panels provide all the advantages of a solid tiled roof without having to add one. Solid tiled roofs are expensive and because they are often heavier than the glass or polycarbonate units that were there before them, they can require substantial upgrading works to the main conservatory structure to bear the additional weight. Also, solid tiled roofs can completely alter the look and aspect of your conservatory
- Condensation is a big problem with old conservatories, particularly in the winter months. This can be hard to manage and creates a damp and unpleasant environment. The condensation builds up because the conservatory is warmer than the external temperature. The insulation in aluminium thermal panels is sandwiched between durable aluminium skins and will significantly reduce moisture and vapour levels in your conservatory during the winter months
- The insulation also provides soundproofing against external elements like rain and even noisy neighbours and traffic sounds
- If you really don’t want to lose the bright open aspect of a glazed roof then you mix it up with a hybrid roof. This alternates aluminium vaulted roof panels with glass panels and can be the best of both worlds
- As an Energy Efficient Insulated roofing product, these panels benefit from a reduced rate of VAT at only 5%
Even temperature regulation means best of all that you don’t have to wait to use the room, opening windows and the door in the summer to allow it to cool down before you can sit in it or heating it and waiting for it to warm up and clear the condensation in the winter months.
What are the costs of insulating a conservatory roof?
Solar film is the cheapest option with aluminium foil and wadding the second best cost choice. A new roof may not be within budget but will set you back anywhere from £2,000 for new polycarbonate to £7,000 for a fully tiled solid roof.
Why not just opt for a new roof?
Many conservatory specialists and companies will argue that a new roof is the only way to solve your thermal regulation problems. Solid tile and slate roofs are very fashionable at the moment and solve those issues permanently. If you don’t want to lose the entire glazed aspect, you can use roof lights or some systems allow for the installation of full height glazed panels. Solid roofs can be heavy however and some conservatories require an upgrade to the main structure to support the additional weight. Synthetic roofing materials can sidestep this problem and are often cheaper than actual tiles or slates.
Modern double glazed uPVC units can make a big impact on a single glazed conservatory certainly compared to older style double-glazed units which offered little in the way of thermal control.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need planning permission to change my conservatory roof?
The planning laws were relaxed in 2010 which meant that conservatory roofs no longer had to be at least 75% translucent to qualify as a conservatory and therefore what is deemed to be a temporary structure falling outside the auspices of planning control. However, if your main house is listed or in a conservation area then you will need to apply for planning permission to change your conservatory roof.
Which roof types offer the best thermal regulation and insulation?
Most conservatory installers will favour a solid tiled roof as the best option for thermal regulation and temperature control. A solid tiled roof doesn’t have to lose all the open aspect and many units have the option of full-length glazed panels at different points within the roof or you could opt for Velux windows or roof lights. The relaxation of planning regulations means that you no longer need to have a roof which is at least 75% translucent so a solid tile or slate roof could be one of your best options.
Do blinds help reduce heat and glare?
Roof blinds can help cut out heat and glare but you can also lose some of the light as well. They are expensive to fit and can be difficult to access for maintenance and cleaning.
Will my heating bills be lower in the winter with better thermal regulation?
Not only will the conservatory be a generally warmer and more pleasant room to sit in during the winter months but it won’t cost so much to heat. Previously, to make the room usable, most people would have to turn up the heating or install dedicated conservatory heaters to keep it warm enough. A thermally insulated roof means the heat you create will not escape through the roof cutting your heating bills and leaving you with a warm and pleasant environment to sit in.
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