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Solid conservatory roof vs polycarbonate roof. How do they differ?

Posted by Clare Whitehall on Mar 10, 2023

If your conservatory roof has seen better days, you might be considering options for a replacement.

Once you start researching the replacement roof options available, you're likely to have several questions.

One of the most common questions we’re asked is which materials are best to replace your current conservatory roof with.

Up until 2010 your options were limited. Conservatory roofs needed to be at least 75% translucent. This is why polycarbonate roofs were historically so popular.

But following the 2010 update to building regulations, you're now able to choose a solid roof for your conservatory.

In this post, we’ll look at the differences between solid and polycarbonate conservatory roofs to help you make the most informed decision on your conservatory roof replacement


Conservatory with a decomposing polycarbonate roof, before being replaced by Projects4Roofing

Energy efficiency

One of the biggest differences between a solid conservatory roof and a polycarbonate roof is energy efficiency.

The energy transfer (for ease, let's call it heat loss!) in building materials is measured by the U-value. The lower the number, the better the materials are for retaining heat and keeping your energy bills under control.

A typical polycarbonate roof has a U-value of between 1.6W/m2k and 2.4W/m2k.

The solid roof conservatories we install at Projects4Roofing have a U-value of 0.15W/m2k.

So solid roof conservatories are far superior when it comes to energy efficiency. This is down to the additional insulation they provide, which can also help regulate the temperature in your conservatory during the summer and winter months.

With a polycarbonate roof having poor thermal efficiency, it's easy for heat to escape through your conservatory roof in winter, making it freezing cold. And in summer, polycarbonate roofs allow the strength of the sun’s rays to stream into your conservatory. This can make your conservatory unbearably hot and uncomfortable to spend time in.

With a solid conservatory roof, the increased insulation and thermal efficiency reduce the amount of heat escaping through your roof in winter. A solid conservatory roof also stops the sun's rays from flooding your conservatory in summer and helps keep it at a more comfortable temperature.

So, with a solid roof conservatory, you can enjoy a stable temperature in your conservatory all year round.


Quaint solid roofed and energy efficient conservatory

Maintenance and longevity

When you invest in a new conservatory roof, you want to make sure you're choosing a solution that will last.

If you choose a polycarbonate roof, it's likely to last 10 to 15 years before it needs replacing or repairing.

The UV rays from the sun can deteriorate polycarbonate roofing over time. This often causes discoloration and makes it brittle. Also, when polycarbonate becomes brittle, it is more likely to develop cracks. This can lead to leaks and draughts in your conservatory.

Polycarbonate roofs are typically constructed with several panels that are held together by a seal. The seals are also prone to wear down over time. When they do, this can also cause leaks into your conservatory.

Polycarbonate roofs can also suffer from slippage or sliding of the panels. This can lead to gaps in your roof structure that allows heat to escape and allows water to leak through when it rains.

When you choose a solid conservatory roof, you don't have to worry about any of these issues.
Solid conservatory roofs are typically made from lightweight tiles or slate that are extremely weather resistant. Solid roofs don't become brittle and crack and don't suffer from panel slippage to cause gaps in your roof structure.

A solid roof conservatory will very rarely require repair. In fact, we are so confident of the solid conservatory roofs we install that they come with a 20-year installation guarantee and a 10-year manufacturer guarantee. Nonetheless, a typical solid roof can last for up to 50 years.

Solid roofed conservatories also require very little maintenance. Using a telescopic brush with warm soapy water is all that is often needed to keep your roof looking clean and pristine.

A polycarbonate roof needs more regular maintenance to prevent the growth of moss and algae. If left untreated, this can weaken the seals and lead to leaks. If you have a polycarbonate roof it is also recommended to inspect the panels and seals on a regular basis to identify any signs of deterioration before it's too late.

Solid roof conservatories are the better choice if a low-maintenance, long-lasting solution is what you're looking for.

Beautiful and soundproof conservatory with a solid roof on a cloudy day

Sound insulation

Your conservatory should be a place where you and your family can relax and unwind. You don't want the sound of heavy rain or noisy neighbours to spoil your peace and tranquillity.

If you choose a polycarbonate roof, you should be aware that it is not insulated or soundproofed. This means you're more likely to be disturbed by the sound of rain or external noises when you're trying to enjoy time in your conservatory.

With a solid conservatory roof, the additional sound insulation helps prevent external noises from spoiling your relaxation time.

The Guardian Warm Roof that is installed by Projects4Roofing has insulation fitted between the ceiling and the tiles.

So, the sound of your neighbours enjoying a party in summer won’t bother you, and you’re unlikely to notice that it’s raining until you look out the window!

Lovely and insulated solid roof conservatory


So, which type of roof should you choose?

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re choosing a new roof for your conservatory.

Obviously, you need to make the choice that is right for your personal preferences and budget. But if you’re looking for a solution that helps you save on your energy bills, maintains a stable temperature in your conservatory all year round, provides you with peace and tranquillity, requires little maintenance, and lasts longer…it has to be a solid roof.

Our team of roofing specialists has been installing solid roof conservatories for over a decade and believes that the best solution in the market is the Guardian Warm Roof. All of our installation team are Guardian-certified installers.

If you’re interested in viewing some of our previous solid conservatory installations and hearing what our customers have to say, head over to our testimonials page.

And if you’d like to understand more about solid roof conservatories and their benefits, please just give us a call. One of our friendly experts will be able to provide all the information you need to make an informed decision.

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Topics: Solid Conservatory Roof, Conservatory Roof, Polycarbonate roof

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