Self Build Conservatories

Roofing Options for your Self Build Conservatory

There are two main choices when deciding on the roof for yourself build conservatory either glass or polycarbonate. You can also get them gas filled, tinted, self cleaning etc we'll go through the options below.

When glass first started to be used for roofing back in the mid/late 1980s there were a few problems that developed over time such as:-

  • The conservatories got very hot during the summer months and cold in the winter.
  • They let in a lot of sunlight during the summer which made it hard on the eyes.
  • The glass made it very easy to see dirt or droppings and conservatory roofs were often hard to clean which often meant dirt built up over time and looked unsightly.

Since then things have improved with technologies like self cleaning glass and tinted glass.

Conservatories With Glass Roofs

Pilkington have made some big advances in recent years making glass probably the best solution for most people.

Each glazed section is made up of sealed double glazed units (25mm in most cases). These are filled with argon gas to increase the insulation properties of your windows. They also have something called 'arctic glass' which is an invisible coating that helps keep the conservatory nice and cool on a summers day.

A tinting now called 'Optifloat' (originally known as 'Anti sun') is used to reduce sun glare which makes the conservatory a pleasant place even on the sunniest of days.

Self Cleaning Glass

Probably the most impressive of the new technologies is the self cleaning glass. You may have seen this featured on the TV show Grand Designs and it will save you all the hassle and time of cleaning windows/roofs of your DIY conservatory.

It works in two ways, the first part known as 'photocatalytic' in which a special coating on the glass reacts with the light to break down any dirt. The second part known as 'hydrophilic' takes place when it rains, water hits the glass and runs off in a sheet rather than droplets taking the loosened dirt with it. The glass is also designed to be quick drying without any marks.

Conservatories and Polycarbonate Roofs

The alternative to a glass roof is to go with polycarbonate (which are sheets manufactured from plastics).

A polycarbonate roof won't show up the dirt from the inside but it will still require cleaning or over time you'll get a build of algae which can cause the roof to discolour and look bad from the outside.

The main advantage over glass is that it's a lot cheaper and still offers good insulation (the lower the 'u-factor' the better the insulation).