Conservatory Roof Advice

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Conservatories Are Changing For The Better

If you are confused by the options now available for your conservatory, you are in the right place!

 

Here's some free impartial advice on the best course of action for YOU!

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The Facts

  • Conservatories built with Glass or Polycarbonate roofs tend to be Too Hot in summer, Too Cold in winter, and Too Noisy when it rains.
  • Most Conservatory owners do not get a lot of use from a Conservatory with either a Glass or Polycarbonate roof.
  • A Conservatory can represent a very poor value for money option to extend your living space.
  • The government relaxed laws in 2010 governing Conservatories meaning you can now have an insulated solid roof added to your conservatory.
  • This means you can now get the value for money living space you wanted from your conservatory.
  • Since 2010 the Conservatory and Roofing industry has become a wash with companies offering Solid Roof alternatives for your Conservatory.

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Insulated Ceiling With Led Lights

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Products such as the Guardian Warm Roof or Superlite Roof will replace everything above your window and door frames, including the ring beam, any box guttering, external guttering and lead flashing if necessary.

 

The Nutshell - Full replacement roofs are a good alternative and played a major hand in getting the Conservatory regulations relaxed in 2010. Providing they are measured/fitted well and you have no underlying issues with your building, they work, mainly because they are designed and tested specifically for purpose.

 

Manufacture - These roofs are pre-manufactured in kit form. Effectively a big Mechano set assembled in a factory, dis-assembled and then re-assembled on site:

  • Good; in that this means the components and build quality is uniform to a pre-approved standard.
  • Bad; as this relies on a very accurate measure on survey which is very common to be wrong, resulting in a kit that doesn't fit your building. The result at your end is either fitters 'bodging' the roof, or having to re-measure and start again.

 

Cost - No way of sugar coating it, the full replacement warm roofs are expensive. Can be more than double the cost of their more modern competition. The company selling it to you will give you the old chestnuts of 'You get what you pay for', and 'tried and tested', but the fact is, like everything, the industry has moved on and there are many more cost effective alternatives if you are careful what you buy.

 

Conservatory Roof Advice Summary - Although comparatively expensive, nobody can discredit that a well measured and well fitted replacement roof such as Guardian or Superlite work. Be careful who you buy from, as they are a specialist product and if a company has limited experience of fitting them, you can end up with a very expensive mess. Although not absolutely necessary (see our Tips an Myths section), look for companies offering Building Regulations Certificates and approved Kite Marks such as TrustMark and The Federation of Master Builders, if you are paying top dollar, than expect perfection!

Full Replacement Warm Roof System

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If your current roof structure is in good condition, i.e. aluminium frame, ring beam, box guttering is sound, then why replace it (and pay for the pleasure!) with a similar aluminium structure to support lightweight Tiles and Insulation?

 

The Nutshell - Since the Conservatory Regulations changed, there is an abundance of lightweight roof amendments on the market which work around your current structure such as CosyRoof and Comfortable Conservatories. Ranging from fully Tiled externally, to simply insulating the internals and keeping your glass or polycarbonate outside.

 

Manufacture - These roofs should be built on site from approved materials such as treated timber, lightweight tiles and high quality insulation:

  • Good; experienced, skilled craftsmen on site cuts down on mismeasures, meaning that even if complications occur (it is construction after all), the right trades, with the correct tools and materials should ensure minimal disruption.
  • Bad; relies on the scruples of the company to use good quality materials and tradesmen. If poor materials are used, or fitted badly, the build may not last too long when subjected to harsh winters and hot summer days.

 

Cost - Should be considerably less cost than a full replacement roof. Typically 30% - 50% less than a full replacement and some roofs have managed to qualify in the 5% VAT banding due to their overall efficiency. Also worth noting, the bulk of the raw materials used will amount to a fraction of the price you will be quoted and with less overhead costs (surveys, travel from central factory, overall factory manufacture costs etc) the company should be working to higher profit margins than a factory built roof, meaning you can get out your negotiating skills and barter your salesman down significantly from their 'best price'.

 

Conservatory Roof Advice Summary - When completed well, these alternatives represent fantastic value for money and comparing a satisfactory finished job with a Full Roof Replacement option you will not tell the difference. Find a product/company you like and DO YOUR RESEARCH! Check the roof construction (good ventilation, weight, external and internal finishes), quality of materials, give any company the full 'Google' treatment, don't be suckered in by glowing reviews, make your own mind up, and if you are happy you've ticked all the boxes, you could grab yourself an absolute bargain. However, if any boxes are even slightly unticked, or something just doesn't quite feel right, stay well clear no matter how 'cheap' the deal.

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Upgrade Your Current Roof To An Insulated Solid Roof

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Glass Or Polycarbonate Replacement

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Is it worth replacing your current conservatory roof with a more modern, efficient glass or polycarbonate roof? If you like the look and feel of your traditional semi translucent Conservatory roof, but your current roof is inefficient, poor quality or damaged you may want to consider this as an option.

 

The Nutshell - Both Double Glazed Conservatory Roofs and Polycarbonate Roofs have improved dramatically over the past few years and can be much more efficient than 20 year old Conservatory Roofs. However, always bear in mind you are still buying Glass and Plastic products which do not offer anywhere close to the insulation properties of a solid roof. This means, no matter how 'all singing and all dancing' the salesman makes the 'heat reflective', 'self cleaning', 'tinted' products appear in your living room, they will not give you an all year round living space when exposed to the elements.

  • Good; Glass and Polycarbonate Roofs can look very beautiful. Fast, easy installation around your current structure, with little to no construction on site. Retain natural light.
  • Bad; Not as energy efficient as a solid conservatory roof and you still probably wont get an all year round living space. Short lifespan compared to a solid conservatory roof option. Difficult to clean and maintain.

 

Cost - This will vary massively depending on the company. A good quality self cleaning, heat reflective glazed conservatory roof should typically cost around the same as upgrading your current roof, although some companies will be charging even more!! Also bear in mind, you may end up spending additional large amounts on roof blinds and cumilative costs of extra heating.

 

Conservatory Roof Advice Summary - Whether replacing like for like is worth it, is entirely down to what you want to gain from the room. If you are happy with your conservatory as a part time, seasonal room, then great. If you want to gain an extra year round living space, then there is simply no glass or polycarbonate roof which will do this.

Always bear in mind, no builder or property developer would dream of using a glass or polycarbonate roof on a house designed to be lived in full time!

Tips and Myths  →

Top Tips

Myth Busting

Ask yourself,

  • Is your current conservatory structure in good condition?
  • Are you happy with the current design? And would it be worth extra investment to upgrade the windows/doors, or even to amend the base to give you the ideal room?
  • What will you use the room for? Balance this against how much you are willing to spend.
  • What do you want the room to look like, both inside and outside?

 

Do Your Research

This is a specialist industry, meaning your local, trusted builder/handyman probably won't or can't do the work.

Each company you see will tell you why their conservatory roof system is the best for you and it is up to you to figure out which one suits your needs.

Due to the Conservatory Regulations only changing in 2010, the industry is brand new and so very much unregulated. Make your mind up about the company with thorough research before inviting them into your home.

 

Narrow it down to 1 or 2 companies offering what you want

If you have done the research and found the product/company which suits your needs, only arrange visits with your desired product/company.

Arranging 5 or 6 quotes from different companies will get confusing as you are not comparing the exact same thing and a good salesman, may convince you to buy a bad product.

You can always arrange to see more if you can't reach a suitable deal with your first or second choice company.

 

Be Prepared To Buy 'On The Day'

When you arrange a sales visit, don't be afraid to say yes if you are happy with everything.

Like all home improvement and high ticket purchases, you are in your strongest negotiating position if you are prepared to say yes.

Be cheeky with the price, go low but with a definite promise of that magical yes for the salesman if your expectations are met.

Building Regulations

Very confusing subject, do you need a certificate? Who obtains building regulations? Should you contact the council? What are building regulations?

To simplify the issue as much as possible, building regulations is the minimum building standards required to carry out building work. Therefore, if a product is not building regs approved (i.e. meeting minimum building standards), you should not be considering using that product/roof system or even using the company.

However, the myth some companies will tell you that you 'need' a building regulations certificate to change the roof on your conservatory is simply not true. Look for companies offering to get one, but always remember this is a Conservatory, which was probably exempt from any approval when you built the entire structure, from foundations, to base, to solid walls, to frames/doors and of course the roof. If the complete works didn't need any certification, why would amending the roof?

If you would rather have a certificate for your peace of mind, then all reputable companies offering a good product will be able to obtain it, but bear in mind there is always a charge for this as your local authority will have their own charges, plus whatever the company adds to that for doing the application. Typical cost £250 - £300.

The exceptions to this are if you live in either a conservation area or your property is listed. In this case, you probably know already to contact your local authority yourself for advice on what you can or can't do prior to arranging any home improvement projects.

 

Planning

Not to be confused with building regulations.

The simple advice here is, if you didn't require planning permission to build the Conservatory, you will not require permission to amend the roof.

Again, if you live in a conservation area or listed building, contact the local authority for advice if you require planning permission for the work to be completed.

Contact

Thank you for visiting conservatoryroofadvice.com. We hope you have found the advice useful. Please remember, the advice given by Conservatory Roof Advice is guide line advice only and in no way represents legal advice about your home. If you require further advice about building regulations or planning permission regarding your conservatory roof, please contact your local authority for advice.

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