Conservatories are a fantastic addition to any home, and a great way to add extra space for a busy household. In fact, we love our conservatories so much in the UK that a government report suggests that almost 18% of households have one!
Whilst styles and designs have developed over the years, one thing that many more cost-effective conservatories have in common is their roofing.
The transparent, or sometimes opaque, plastic roofing material you often see is called polycarbonate, and it’s created by layering multiple sheets of thermoplastic together to create a single panel.
Polycarbonate is a fantastic product, and incredibly diverse too. The same material on your conservatory roof is also being used to make everything from baby bottles to riot shields!
But how good is polycarbonate when it comes to a conservatory roof? What are the pros and cons to consider before buying or upgrading your existing conservatory?
Let’s dive in and find out.
Polycarbonate conservatory roofing pros
Polycarbonate is the most popular roofing material here in the UK, and there are some very good reasons why that’s the case.
It’s cheaper to buy
Polycarbonate is far cheaper as a roofing material than glass or tiles. Whilst conservatories aren’t cheap to build from scratch, they are a cost-effective way to add an extra room to your property – and part of the reason they are affordable is because of the materials.
Many homeowners looking to build a new conservatory will be heavily steered by pricing, and opting for a conservatory with a roofing material more akin to what you may find on the rest of the property will be far more expensive.
In fact, polycarbonate can be four times cheaper than a glass alternative.
It’s quicker to install
One of the additional reasons why polycarbonate conservatory roofs are cheaper is that it’s quicker and easier to install.
Polycarbonate is lighter to handle and less likely to smash if dropped than glass, and big panels can easily be installed in one go versus a tiled roof that must be erected one tile at a time.
The comparative lightness of polycarbonate also reduces the structural load on your conservatory, which can help reduce costs too.
It lasts longer than you might think
Just because polycarbonate is a far cheaper material than glass or tiles for your conservatory roof, doesn’t mean you’ll have to replace it every few years.
Polycarbonate conservatory roofs can typically last between 10 and 15 years, or up to 25 years if you maintain it well.
Polycarbonate conservatory roofing cons
Whilst polycarbonate conservatory roofs do have some fantastic benefits that have spearheaded its widespread usage across the UK, they do have some major drawbacks.
Have you ever wondered why your conservatory gets freezing cold in the winter when the rest of your house is nice and toasty, or why it becomes an oven in the summer?
One of the key reasons is a lack of thermal regulation and control, and your polycarbonate roof is the primary culprit.
Polycarbonate conservatory roofs are poor insulators, meaning that any heat you pump into the space in the winter can quickly escape through the ceiling, adding hundreds to an energy bill each year. The transparent nature of the material also means that it’s poor at blocking harmful solar rays and lets in too much light and heat in the summer months.
We probably appreciate our conservatories most during inclement weather, when we can cosy up and enjoy a garden view whilst it’s cold and raining outside.
There’s just one problem – heavy rain falling on a polycarbonate conservatory roof can be deafening! Whereas rain on a glass or tiled roof can create a nice, gentle background soundscape, rain on thermoplastic can sound more like pebbles being dropped on your conservatory roof.
This point is a little more subjective, and of course, many homeowners will love that their transparent or slightly opaque polycarbonate conservatory roof lets in plenty of natural light into the space.
However, there are a few visual drawbacks when it comes to polycarbonate roofs too.
Firstly, they tend to get dirty quite quickly, and you will see all of that dirt when you look up from inside the space.
And secondly, a polycarbonate roof adds to the feeling that your conservatory is an add-on to your home, rather than an integrated part of it.
Running the same flooring and ceiling effect (such as rendering or wood panels) from your main house through to the conservatory will result in your conservatory feeling like it’s just an extra room, rather than a bolt-on to the back of the property.
Upgrading your conservatory roof (without the hefty price tag)
So, we’ve looked at the pros and cons of polycarbonate conservatory roofs and there are great points on both sides of the coin.
Polycarbonate is cheaper, it’s easier and quicker to install, and it has quite a long lifespan too.
But, it’s also noisy, will make your conservatory feel like it’s not as integrated with your home as it could be, and it’s poor at regulating temperature.
If you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade your existing conservatory roof but don’t want to pay a fortune to replace the polycarbonate with tiles or glass, then there is an alternative way to get the benefits without the hefty price tag!
At Sagars 365, we install conservatory roof insulation that fixes to the inside of your existing conservatory roof. Using our tried-and-tested multi-layer foil quilt technology, we then finish your new ceiling in either PVC cladding or premium plaster.
The result? Your conservatory will be far more efficient at regulating temperature, and you’ll be able to enjoy using it 365 days a year! It’ll also be quieter during inclement weather, and feel like a proper extension to your home.
Plus, our customers tell us that with Sagars conservatory roof insulation installed, they save more than 25% on their heating bills.
And it’s far more affordable than you might think. Our prices start from just £1,999 + NO VAT, and 99% of our insulation projects are completed in just one day, meaning minimal disruption to your household.