Conservatory Roofs: Things you should know before choosing a roof

Glass Roofing is the basic structure that distinguishes a conservatory from the house. Most conservatory roofs look simple and similar to a layman, but the design, fabrication and installation is not quite so simple a procedure.

There are companies that specialize in developing roofing systems. Most of the conservatory installation companies purchase the roofs from the bigger companies that specialize in roofing systems.

In order to understand conservatory roofs, we must discuss its three different aspects separately.
• Glass
• Frames
• Ventilation

A. Glazing

There are two main types of glazing being used today—glass and polycarbonate.

Toughened safety glasses are used that comply with BBA standards. They must have the strength to withstand rain, storm and snowfall.

Sunrooms can get really hot when the sun is high up in the sky. Tinted glass is nowadays used to block some amount of light and helps in maintaining a pleasant environment inside.

Imagine relaxing in your atrium lounge watching the floating clouds above. Suddenly your view is blocked by a splash of bird dropping! What an unpleasant sight! It’s definitely not possible to climb atop a conservatory to wipe those stains here and there. What do you do? Self cleaning glass is the answer.

Self cleaning glass has a special coating that reacts with the UV rays of the sun to break down organic dirt deposited on the surface of the glass. This loosened dirt is washed away when it rains. The coating also helps in spreading the water droplets on its surface like a sheet so that it may dry faster. Thus there are no water droplet marks on the surface. Your glass is sparkling clean after a short shower.

All types of glass can be single or double glazed in various combinations according to the location and temperature requirements of the conservatory.

Polycarbonate—a substitute for glass is becoming very popular these days. It is a sturdy material that can stand against the weather. It is lighter than glass and does not require extra supports. Polycarbonate can be molded in any shape or size providing design freedom to architects.
Bronze and Opal tinted Polycarbonate is popular in various combinations to enhance the looks of the orangery. Bronze hides the dirt and opal creates an effect of white light inside the room, thus controlling temperatures.

All said and done, glass is still preferred by many for its shear transparency to light.

B. Roof Frames

Conservatory roof frames are made of wood, aluminum or UPVC. Wood has been the traditional material. But now-a-days, more and more roofing systems are being built with aluminum and UPVC.

Aluminum roof frames come with special polyester coating that give it a wooden effect of mahogany or oak. They are structurally the strongest. As aluminum is a good conductor of heat, there is no expansion or contraction due to temperature changes.

UPVC roofing of conservatories is now equally popular due to good design, colour and finish available in the market.

C. Ventilation

Ventilation is an important aspect of roof design. It helps in maintaining air circulation inside the room. Ventilation works on the basic principle of drawing in cool and fresh air from the doors and windows, and allowing the carbon dioxide containing warm air to escape through the air vents situated on or near the roofs.

Vertical air vents situated on the higher portions of the wall or on lantern top roofs are a popular choice as they do not let in rain. Alternatively, good quality roof vents are also available that are absolutely impermeable to air or water, when closed. High tech electronically operated roof vents fitted with thermostat and rain sensors can be bought if you can afford it.

a) Before finalizing your choice of vent, you must ensure that they gel in completely with your conservatory design and should not stand out. Vents are available in all types of materials, colors, designs and budgets.

b) Next quality of sealing, beading, system of opening and closing should be decided upon.

c) The type of glazing should be in accordance with the temperature you want to maintain in your orangery.

d) Determine ease of use.

e) Scientific installation with regard to positioning of the vents and cross ventilation of air should be

It is most important to shop around systematically for all suppliers of conservatories and their parts before settling on one.