So, you’ve seen the solid conservatory roof adverts on the billboards around town, in your local paper and on local installers’ vans in and around your area, but how can you tell if a solid roof conservatory is the best choice for your home? And who do you choose to install it for you?
As specialists in installer certification for the building fabric refurbishment industry, we certify installers who fit both glazed and solid roof conservatories. This means that we know the important things that homeowners looking for replacement solid conservatory roofs or new conservatories need to be asking their installer about. That’s why we’ve compiled our top 6 considerations for when you’re choosing an installer to fit your solid conservatory roof in this handy list!
1. Solid Conservatory Roof for New‐build or Refurbishment?
The design and engineering behind solid conservatory roof systems means that roofs are lightweight.This means that as well as being used to build new tiled roof conservatories, they can be used to refurbish your old conservatory too.
This is sometimes called ‘retrofit’ by people in the industry and lots of homeowners are choosing to do this so that they can transform old conservatories that are too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer into spaces they can use all year round.
If you want a brand‐new conservatory with a solid roof, you’ll need to look for an installer who can do everything, from building the base and walls to fitting the frames and installing the solid roof.
2. Planning Permission and Building Regulations for Conservatories
Most new‐build conservatories with either a solid, tiled or glazed roof will not need planning permission, because they are covered under what is known as a ‘permitted development’. There are just some limits and conditions regarding placement and size, which you can find details of on the Government’s Planning Portal.
Building Regulations will apply if you want to build an extension on your home, but not for a conservatory, if certain conditions are met. In order for your conservatory to be classed as a conservatory and not an extension, it will have to be separated from the main house with external quality walls and/or windows and doors that meet Building Regulation requirements. It will also need to have an independent heating system that has separate on/off and temperature controls to the main house’s heating system.
If these measures are not in place, the conservatory is technically an extension and separate Building Regulations apply. Even when your conservatory is built in‐line with these conditions, the doors, windows and glazing and any electrical work will have to adhere to specific Building Regulations. You can find out more details for your solid conservatory roof project on the Planning Portal.
3. Is your Installer’s Workmanship Certified?
It might be surprising to you that not all building work carried out by builders, installers and contractors is certified. Unless an installation company chooses to register with a UKAS accredited, government approved certification scheme, like ours at Certass, their work isn’t assessed, checked or verified by any third party.
This is where your ‘cowboy builder’ type issues can arise and it’s why the most trusted, reliable tradesmen who have the best standards of workmanship, choose to be a part of a certification scheme like Certass. We’ve written about workmanship standards if you would like more information on how the schemes work.
At Certass, we run schemes that approve every part of building fabric refurbishment from solid conservatory roof workmanship standards certification schemes to cavity wall insulation competent persons schemes.
4. What About Insulation and Energy Efficiency?
Insulation and the resulting energy efficiency levels are one of the most important questions to ask your installer about. After all, most homeowners want a conservatory refurbishment because the one they already have is so inefficient.
Unlike windows and doors, there is no thermal rating system for conservatory roofs, but your installer and product brochure will probably talk about U‐Values instead.
What is a U‐Value?
A U‐Value is a measurement of how effective a material is at insulation. In other words, thermal performance is measured by levels of heat loss and this is commonly referred to as a U‐Value. The lower the U‐Value, the less heat loss there is, so low U‐Values equal good thermal performance.
Typically, solid conservatory roof U‐Values are below 1.0 W/m2K, which means they have very good insulation and will retain the heat in winter and keep cool in summer.
5. Can you Fit a New Roof to your Old Conservatory Frames?
Yes, you can install a new solid conservatory roof on your old frames. Your installer will be able to carry out a survey and let you know whether they are suitable to have a new solid conservatory roof fitted on them.
6. Do you Need New Windows and Doors too?
Installing a solid roof can really improve the energy efficiency of your conservatory, but if the frames, windows and doors are very old and inefficient, you might not get the full benefits of your new roof. Our certified installers will be able to advice you on the best choice for your home.