How much does it cost to replace your conservatory roof with a solid roof?
A good price range to work to would be between £4,000-£8,000 to replace your conservatory roof with a solid roof. This figure won’t include any upgrading to the existing glass walls or updating within the interior which you may also want to do at the same time. There are many reasons homeowners may want to replace the current conservatory roof with a solid roof. This article highlights the prices involved and how to get the best deal on your roofing project.
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It is difficult to average out the cost of replacing an old conservatory roof with a new solid version. This is because much depends on the upgrading work that may be required for the original structure to bear any increased weight and the consequent price of labour and materials. Also, the choice of roof covering can impact hugely on the cost – natural slate whilst stylish and smart can be almost five times the cost of other alternatives. There are many more cost-effective and economic alternatives depending on the look you want. And of course, the size of the conservatory, its height and the surface area of the roof will naturally dictate the final bill.
Are solid conservatory roofs gaining popularity?
A glance around your neighbourhood and you might just notice that some householders are replacing their old glazed conservatory roofs with solid ones. The traditional glass conservatory roof is not without its problems and adding a solid roof is becoming much more popular. Not only does it resolve some of the challenges associated with older style glazed or polycarbonate roofs but it also creates a new look to the conservatory more along the lines of a garden room so, an integral part of the house rather than just an add on.
Before you upgrade your conservatory roof, there are various factors to take into account. These will impact on how long the work takes, how extensive the work is, how much it will cost and the success of the final outcome. Some of these factors to consider include:-
What are the different types of solid conservatory roof and how do these impact on the cost?
There are three main options for your new roof:-
- Concrete conservatory roof - You can change up your current glass or polycarbonate roof to concrete tiles which could be the same as those on the main house. Concrete tiles will be much heavier than your current roof particularly when they are wet as they absorb water so it is important to establish from the outset that the building structure can bear this additional weight or that it is possible to modify it for this purpose
- Slate conservatory roofing - Slate roofing can look very smart on a conservatory adding a period touch and slates are particularly good at repelling water. Natural slate can be pricey and is much more expensive than synthetic alternatives. Sometimes a slate roof on a conservatory can look a little at odds with the main house if it has a standard concrete tiled roof
- Lightweight tiles - Lightweight tiles or Composite Panels are a new material made from insulated GRP or Glass Reinforced Plastic. This is essentially a polyester resin which is reinforced with glass fibres to make a GRP laminate. Composite panels are incredibly strong and very lightweight so are perfect for a structure which will not bear a more traditional and heavier roof material avoiding expensive alterations. They are available in a range of tile and slate effects and really do look the part.
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Why are homeowners replacing their existing conservatory roofing with a solid roof design?
Anyone who has a fully glazed conservatory will understand the problems that the standard roof presents. These can be pretty challenging and impact on both the appearance and use of the conservatory for its intended purpose. Here are just some of the difficulties with a traditional conservatory roof: and a few of the reasons why many homeowners are now opting for a new, solid roof:-
- Glass roofs are difficult to access to clean and easily show dirt and debris particularly if there are trees in the vicinity. Even smudges and smears can look unsightly and are awkward to remove
- A standard glazed roof can let in too much light which means the conservatory may become too hot in the summer
- A glass or translucent roof has virtually zero thermal insulation which makes the conservatory too cold in the winter even on sunny days. A solid roof makes it easier to maintain a more comfortable ambient temperature because it offers better insulation
- Due to their style and materials – old single glazing panels or poor quality polycarbonate – old-fashioned conservatory roofs are more likely to leak and let in water as they age
- Condensation can accumulate due to the poor insulation and thermal regulation which will impact on your furnishings and the general quality of the interior
- Single glazed or thin polycarbonate has no sound insulation which means the roof will be noisy when it rains and there can be increased environmental noise from the outside like traffic, which would not be the case in the main house
- Too much light through a glazed roof can fade, even bleach fabrics
- A solid roof can offer more privacy whilst still retaining the use of the conservatory as a sunroom or garden room. This is particularly helpful if your conservatory is overlooked by neighbouring properties or buildings
- Fitting blinds or shades to standard conservatory roofing to help with heat and glare is an expensive and tricky task
- Conservatory roofs will have a lifespan and uPVC frames which are ten plus years old will start to deteriorate, warp and crack
- The existing roof may no longer be weatherproof and costs start to mount up making constant repairs uneconomically viable
- For many homes with conservatories between 10 and 20 years old, materials and design have changed significantly and there is now plenty of choices available to refresh and update a conservatory roof
- A solid roof on an existing conservatory gives the whole structure an air of solidity and permanence, making it look like an extension rather than an add on. You retain all the advantages that a conservatory has to offer but the new roof creates a sense of permanency and longevity
- A solid roof is going to improve your home’s energy efficiency and rating in comparison to an old single-glazed roof or polycarbonate equivalent. This will not only impact on your enjoyment of the room and your heating bills but also the market value of your property when it comes to sale time
Other factors that will affect the cost of replacing your conservatory with a solid roof?
What type of roof is on the conservatory currently?
It may be your dream to replace your old glazed roof with smart new concrete tiles but the conservatory must bear the increased weight of this new roof. So the current roof and the building structure is critical when assessing the costs of the solid roof replacement. You may need to upgrade, repair or replace the existing framework before you add a new and heavier roof. You also want your new roof to dovetail with the colour and style of roofing on the main house. This might not have been something you needed to think about on the original build as a glazed conservatory roof complements most of all the main roofing materials
What style is your conservatory?
A new roof needs to work aesthetically with your current styling, for example, if you have a Victorian conservatory on the back of a Victorian villa, then a slate roof would make the perfect replacement for the original glazing or polycarbonate. The roof material needs to work stylistically with your current conservatory’s design. There is no point putting a budget roof on a conservatory that cost five figures and northwards. Equally, if you have something that amounts to little more than a lean-to against the side of the house then it might be overdoing it a bit to go for a top of the range roofing creating a rather unattractive and top-heavy look
Can you go part and part with some obscure or tiled sections fitted to the existing glazed roof?
This is possible but challenging to create a good look with concrete tiles so it is better to use composite panels if this is the style you want. Most people opt for a completely new solid roof and consider installing skylights or Velux windows if they want to retain some natural light from above and views of the sky
What do you want the inside of the conservatory roof to look like?
This is not a consideration with a traditional glazed or polycarbonate roof but will become an issue with a solid roof. Do you want to have a traditional flat ceiling or do you want to follow the original roofline? Victorian or Edwardian conservatories offer a higher roofline and it can spoil the interior look and sense of space to close that off with a suspended ceiling. But the roof void could offer some handy storage if you are really tight on space.
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What is the process of installing a new solid roof on a conservatory to replace an old glazed roof?
The first step is to arrange for three or four companies to come round and quote. This should involve a full inspection and survey of the existing conservatory. This is your opportunity to spend time with different contractors and hear their views and ideas. You will learn a lot throughout this process about what is possible and what is desirable and it will help you make a final choice of a company based on their survey and not just the price.
Here is a framework of how the works should progress.
- Obtain written quotes following a thorough site inspection. The quotes you receive should be detailed and include a split between labour and materials costs. This can help you adjust quotes to fit within your budget if it is lower. It is really important to address any upgrading required for the existing structure as part of the site survey as improving the framework and replacing some of the existing glass panels on the walls will increase the bill possibly quite significantly
- Choose your contractor based on their service and quotation
- To fit a solid roof will take between three and five days so allow a week particularly if the conservatory is large or has an ornate or complicated roofing style
- The old roof will need to be removed and then any structural work carried out to increase the load-bearing capacity of the conservatory before the new roof is fitted. It is important that the old roof is removed with care so as not to damage the existing structure
- The new roof is finished with any additional fittings
Your budget should take account of any interior work if you are having a suspended ceiling installed. Some people also take the opportunity to refurbish their existing conservatory; underfloor heating is a real favourite and this could be the time to upgrade some of the glass too or perhaps add a wood-burning stove.
Make sure the price includes the legal disposal of all the rubbish and waste from the original roof. There is also the installation of rainwater goods to consider – guttering and downpipes to a surface water drain. Some people like to instil Velux windows or skylights to a solid roof so they don’t lose all of the natural light – remember to include these costs as additional to the main materials.
Solid roof conservatory cost frequently asked questions
Do I need planning permission to replace my conservatory with a solid roof?
In 2010, the planning regulations changed to allow new build conservatories to be fitted with a solid roof without the need to obtain planning permission. Prior to 2010, the law had stated that in order for a structure to be a conservatory and comply with that definition, it had to have a roof which was at least 75% translucent. Anything you do will need to comply with both planning and building regulations but most professional and competent installers are completely familiar with both sets of rules. If your house is a listed building even though the conservatory is not original or, you are in a conservation area, then you will need to check out those rules more closely to ensure your new roof complies and you are not subject to any restrictions.
Are there any drawbacks to replacing a traditional glazed conservatory roof with a solid roof?
The two main disadvantages are cost – there are many cheaper alternatives – and the loss of light. Some people want to retain that ‘whole glass look’ that encouraged them to have a conservatory in the first place. And modern materials mean that there are ways to manage the disadvantages of old-style single glazing or polycarbonate roofs without need to necessarily resort to a solid solution. There are options like self-cleaning glass and many more energy-efficient glass choices if you really do want to stick with that fully glazed appearance. It will also be cheaper if you choose not to opt for a roof replacement.
Is a solid conservatory roof worth the cost?
With a long lifespan and the uplift in your property value, the cost of converting an old conservatory roof to a new roof is definitely money well spent. The only time the cost is possibly unjustifiable is if you have a very small conservatory; a solid roof can sometimes detract from the appearance and the structure is unlikely to support it anyway. There are usually better options to choose from in these situations and they will often be cheaper.
What are the potential problems when replacing a conservatory roof with a solid roof?
The usual pinch point is whether the original conservatory building can support a traditionally tiled or slate roof. If not then the top options are to consider whether the conservatory can be altered to bear the extra weight or whether you should be looking at an alternative to a solid roof which is a lighter material. Generally, a roof replacement will solve most of the drawbacks and problems you will have faced with your original glazed roof so it can be worth the additional challenges and cost at the building stage.
What is the best type of solid roof to choose for a conservatory?
Subject to any building constraints, the decision is usually made based on styling and personal preference. The roof design needs to suit the original conservatory and also blend with or act as a complement to the main house. If the house is listed or in a conservation area then there may be restrictions on the materials you can use for your new roof and how the finished conservatory should look in appearance.
How can I envisage what a solid roof will look like?
There are plenty of images online which will give you an idea of how different a conservatory can look with a solid roof and which one might best suit your style of conservatory. You can also photograph your conservatory and superimpose different roofing materials on an edited picture – this can help with the choice of roof materials and colours.
How long will the roof replacement take?
On average, to strip off an old glass or polycarbonate roof, make repairs or increase the integrity of the original conservatory and then fit the new roof, will take around 5 working days. There are usually finishing jobs such as fitting the rainwater goods and if you want skylights or Velux windows then the entire job will take longer, probably 7-10 days.
What happens if my conservatory is just not strong enough to support real roof tiles?
Rather than engage in costly and lengthy works or even have to start again with a more substantial building, you could opt for a lighter tile covering which can look just as good at a fraction of the weight. There are synthetic alternatives available for both standard roof tiles and slates which are incredibly hard-wearing and weatherproof, much lighter than a standard tile or slate and usually more economic as well. Natural slate is very expensive and also surprisingly fragile if you need to access the roof for repairs. A synthetic alternative will avoid costly alterations to the existing conservatory frame as well as significantly reducing your overall spend.
What do I need to have in writing before the work starts?
Always make sure you obtain a written copy of both the site survey and the quotation before work begins. You would expect to pay a deposit but never make the final payment until the job is completely finished including any snags and you are totally satisfied with the work.
Will I receive any guarantees or warranties?
Make sure the company you use has adequate insurance in place before they start work. You should receive paper copies of any guarantees and warranties which are attached to the supply of actual materials once the job is complete. The overall project should receive a guarantee of a minimum period of ten years. And there should be a sign off to state that the work is compliant with building regulations.
How can I find a reputable building company?
Ask friends for recommendations or you could just hop on social media and put a post out for some names of local companies. People are only too keen to share their experiences online, both good and bad. If the work is local then you might even be able to go and look at some previous conservatories which have been altered from glazed roofs to solid, previous customers of the building firm you want to use. There are also authentic peer-reviewed sites where you can look for a trader if you are really struggling to get a personal recommendation.
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Replacing your conservatory roof with a solid roof can transform your property. It retains all the appeal and design strengths of the original conservatory whilst making it even more usable and valuable to the fabric of your home and family life. A solid roof will update and regenerate the look and appearance of your home whilst turning your conservatory into a more energy-efficient space with improved insulation and thermal regulation, a win for your lifestyle and your pocket.