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What are your new conservatory roof options?

If your current conservatory roof is looking more than a little tired or is definitely past its best, then you don’t have to replace it with something identical or even similar. There are lots of different roofing options available which will not only completely re-style your conservatory but can also iron out those niggling issues which just keep spoiling your enjoyment of what should be a real feature in your home.

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Why do people upgrade their conservatory roof or replace it with a different material?

There are lots of reasons why people go for an upgrade or a different style:-

  • Their conservatory roof is looking tired and dated
  • They find that their conservatory is too hot in the summer and too cold and damp in the winter and want to address these issues
  • The roof is old and beyond repair so may have cracks and splits and leak
  • They want to refurbish their conservatory and completely refresh the look

What are the options available for a new roof?

There are lots of different alternatives available for a new conservatory roof, some of which you may not even have heard of. Some are new to the market and would not have been available at the time your conservatory was built.

  • Traditional glazing – new glass options mean that conservatory purists can keep that classic glass roof with modern materials that make it easier to manage.  There is a range of glazing options such as Energy Efficient glass which reduces the amount of heat loss from the conservatory, essential in the winter months if your conservatory is not south facing.  This type of glass also has glare reduction properties.  Toughened glass is resistant to dents, scratches, cracks and chips whilst self-cleaning glass will keep the roof looking clear and transparent for longer, ideal if you have trees nearby or tall shrubs.  Frosted glass is another option for those who want privacy and/or light reduction but don’t want to use polycarbonate or plastic
  • Polycarbonate – this is perfect if you are on a tight budget as it is probably the cheapest of all the re-roofing options available.  New polycarbonate can look crisp and very sleek on a contemporary property or wraparound conservatory particularly with an aluminium roofing frame.  Polycarbonate roofs  will last between ten and twenty years so do require more frequent renewal but the product is completely recyclable
  • Tiles or Slates – there is a real movement at the moment to change a glazed or plastic roof for a solid roof which makes the conservatory appear much more integral to the house rather than merely an add-on.  A solid roof is a perfect way to manage those old conservatory challenges of too much light and heat in the summer and too much cold and damp in the winter.  Thermal insulation and temperature control are resolved and you can retain views of the sky by adding skylights or Velux windows.  A solid roof adds an air of permanence and gives you a room which you can use all year round but which has the benefit of being completely glazed.  This is the most expensive option when it comes to renewing your conservatory roof
  • Plastic and synthetic materials- there is a range of new generation composite materials which give all the look and appeal of tiles or slates but at a fraction of the weight and cost.  These are a viable option if you want the appearance of a solid roof but have budgetary constraints or, your current conservatory structure cannot bear the additional weight of actual tiles and slates without a costly upgrade

Which is the best roofing option to choose?

There are several factors which could influence your choice of roofing material, here are some of the key considerations:-

  • Are you trying to better control temperature and sunlight, is your conservatory in a very sunny spot facing due south or south-west?  An opaque polycarbonate roof can reduce light penetration whilst keeping that conservatory aspect or a solid tiled roof will completely solve that problem altogether.   If you still want views of the sky then you can insert roof lights or Velux windows into a solid roof
  • Privacy may be a concern if your conservatory is surrounded by neighbouring houses in a modern development or overlooked by other buildings.  Opaque or cloudy polycarbonate can afford that degree of seclusion without radically changing the appearance of the conservatory or, a solid tile or slate roof  will also resolve that particular issue
  • Depending on your budget you will find that polycarbonate remains the cheapest roofing material followed by glazing and then at the most expensive end of the spectrum are clay tiles or natural slate.  Your decision may be influenced by how long  you intend to remain in the property – whether you are upgrading for sale or your longer-term use and enjoyment
  • Stylistically, many people usually want to match or at the very least compliment the roof on their main home.  The choice of roofing material should work with the style of your conservatory and not look at odds with it or the house it is attached to.  For a contemporary property, there are some coloured polycarbonate options which can give a real modernist vibe or, some of the slates which are produced in Spain, Brazil or China are available in really exciting colours which considerably broaden the design choice
  • Sometimes, the decision to fit a new roof also comes with plans to upgrade or refurbish the existing building and form part of a grander design.  Removing the old roof is the perfect opportunity to undertake any repairs or renovation or even make stylistic and design changes to your conservatory

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What is the process of installing a new conservatory roof?

The first thing you need to do is ask two or three roofing companies to quote for your job.  They can advise you on what they think will work best for your conservatory taking into account your budget, the site and situation of your building, its current condition and any upgrading work which may be required.

Find the right roofing contractor can seem a little daunting so you can start your search by asking your friends, colleagues, even your neighbours for a recommendation.  Social media – a local community group on Facebook – is a good way to find some names and numbers and possibly a chance to look at some of the finished work in your locality as well.

When you have chosen your roofing contractor then you should receive a detailed estimate of the work following their site survey.  This is broken down into labour and materials plus any hire charges for scaffolding or a skip and the waste disposal of your old roof.

The process of removing the old roof and installing the new one is pretty quick unless you are having ancillary works done at the same time like an upgrade to the conservatory structure.  It usually takes a day or two to complete.

 

What are those other costs factors that often get overlooked?

Some of the expenses that people forget and which will increase your final bill might include:

  • The fee for planning permission.  Most people don’t require planning permission to alter their conservatory roof but if your house is listed or in a conservation area then you will need to apply and the fee is just under £200 at present
  • Rooflights and Velux windows if you opt to have these in a solid tile or slate roof
  • Interior decorating costs – some people choose to have a suspended ceiling in a conservatory with a new solid tiled roof, this will need installation, plastering and decoration and possibly the re-routing of electrical cables
  • New rainwater goods, your old guttering and downpipes may be beyond their useful life or you might want to fit new ones to suit the new styling of your conservatory

Do you need planning permission to change a conservatory roof?

Up until 2010, there was a requirement that in order to be classified as a conservatory, the structure had to have a roof which was 75% translucent.  This is no longer the case and so homeowners are free to install a completely solid tiled or slate roof if they want to.

The only triggers for planning permission are a listed property or a house that sits in a conservation area.  In either of these cases, you will need to apply to your local council for planning permission.  If you were to alter your conservatory significantly so it almost constitutes a re-build or you are making it larger then you should check with your local authority or a planning agent whether your intentions might just trigger an application for planning permission.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much will the new roof cost?

The cost of a new conservatory roof will depend on a number of factors including:-

  • The size of the roof
  • The complexity of the design – a complicated Victorian roof style will take longer to install than a simple gable design or lean-to
  • Your choice of roofing materials
  • Whether you need to upgrade the current structure to support a heavier roof
  • Whether you choose to include any other refurbishment works to the exterior or interior of the conservatory

An average conservatory roof will cost in the region of £4,000-£6,000 but a small lean-to roof made of polycarbonate, for example, could be considerably cheaper at around £2,000 than this whereas a complex glazed roof for a Victorian orangery will be significantly more expensive and could cost in the region of £8,000-£10,000. 

How can I finance a new conservatory roof and any upgrading work?

Some roofing contractors will offer finance via an external company, a bit like you can obtain finance if you go to buy a new or used car through a motor dealership or a three-piece suite through one of the big furniture retailers.  The usual criteria will apply; eligibility is subject to status and the size of the monthly payments and applicable interest rate will depend on how much deposit you contribute.

Some people approach their existing mortgage lender and apply for a Further Advance or Home Improvement loan and you might choose to borrow a sum which will pay for other work on your property as well.  You will need to have equity available in your home to support the further borrowing and be able to satisfy your lender’s criteria for affordability on the additional payments.  Remortgaging is another popular route to release funds for work around the property.

If you are in middle age or elderly and have paid off your mortgage then Equity Release schemes could create a lump sum to allow you to refurbish your conservatory and pay for other projects around the home.

Will re-roofing the conservatory increase the value of my home?

Re-roofing your conservatory is an improvement to the fabric of your home and this always improves its value and is particularly helpful if you are thinking of putting your house on the market.  Most savvy purchasers are aware of the drawbacks and snags of conservatories and if you can demonstrate that you have solved these with the addition of a new roof then you are already at an advantage.

The biggest improvement you can make internally is the useability of your conservatory which can be completely revolutionised with the right choice of roofing material.  Not only does this improve your lifestyle as the conservatory will become much more user friendly but it will also impact on your heating bills.  Old style conservatories were often cold and damp in the winter requiring a heating boost to make them warm and friendly, much of which disappeared through a roof which was not capable of temperature control or thermal regulation.  A new roof can solve this issue and also the converse problem of a conservatory which is actually too hot in the summer months.  And if you are on the market then your Energy Efficiency rating certificate is going to be hugely improved.

What are the different uses for my conservatory?

With the property market looking less than exciting and so much economic uncertainty ahead, many people are keen to extend their homes rather than move house.  A conservatory is a useful extra room and doesn’t have to be just for occasional or summer use.

If you opt for a solid tile or slate roof then you will find you have created a warm and friendly space which can be multi-purpose:-

  • Make a dedicated dining area with a long or circular table.  Evening dining will be enhanced with the privacy of a solid roof and the open aspect of the glazed walls will create a very special atmosphere
  • A home working area has never been more essential for office workers and students.  A conservatory can create a bright and open space filled with natural light, perfect for a study or office work or as a studio or practical space
  • With myriad clever storage options, a conservatory can make an ideal play space for little people particularly if it also opens out onto the garden.  Underfloor heating is a very nice enhancement to a tiled floor for play activities during the colder months

Will the new conservatory roof come with any warranties and guarantees?

Most roofing materials will come with a manufacturer’s guarantee the length of which will depend upon the specific choice of material.  The guarantee is dependent on the materials being installed correctly.  Your roofing contractor should also offer you a warranty for the work he has undertaken and again the length of this will depend upon the choice of roofing materials.

A new conservatory roof doesn’t have to break the bank and for a relatively modest investment, you can transform this space and make it suitable for multiple uses within the family with just a bit of clever organisation and design.  A new roof will improve the aesthetics, style and interior of your conservatory adding value both in terms of quality of life and on a monetary level.   Rather than a room which people shun as being too hot or too cold, your conservatory will quickly become the place that everybody wants to be.  A solid tile or slate roof can provide an upgrade that is as good as a new extension at a fraction of the cost, giving the building an air of permanency and solidity which a full glazed conservatory doesn’t always have.  But if you really don’t want to move away from that complete glass look then innovative glazing and polycarbonate options can supply a really cost effective upgrade which can make the whole conservatory look and feel like an entirely new build.