When you add a conservatory to your house it can be a beautiful addition to your home giving you a light, airy additional space. You get lots of glass on your conservatory roof, beautiful views and a place to retreat and relax while reading a book or catching a bit of sun in the summer.
The problem is, despite the space being very beautiful, you can only enjoy it for only a few weeks each year. Apart from those few weeks, all year round you can be left trying to figure out the best way to insulate your conservatory roof.
A southern facing conservatory that is exposed to the sun most of the time. Despite this, it may only reach pleasant room temperature for just a couple of hours each day. Getting an energy efficient electric radiator is a start at solving the heating issues you might have in your conservatory.
During the height of summer, it is usually too hot and during the winter, it can get too cold, so much that you can’t imagine setting foot in it for any longer than a minute. Most of the heat that is desperately needed to make your conservatory comfortable in the winter, tend to escape right through the roof.
Unfortunately, all of the glass that makes your conservatory so desirable and beautiful is also a nightmare for insulating your conservatory and keeping the room temperature in check.
The glass or UPVC roofs and conservatory walls have very little insulation and as a result, any warm air you have will escape when you need it most. The cold air is also free to travel through the conservatory walls and glass roof to make your conservatory space uncomfortable and undesirable.
Does putting a roof on a conservatory make it warmer?
There are several different ways you can improve the insulation value of your conservatory and adding a roof is one of them. This method of putting a roof on a conservatory does make it warmer but involves hiring a professional tradesperson to alter the existing roof space.
Adding a conservatory roof is likely a more expensive option to insulating, but if your budget allows, it will certainly be successful. On the other hand, there are a number of do-it-yourself options you could try which will reduce the cost associated with fixing the insulation problems in your conservatory space.
When you begin to plan this process, there are a few things you should be aware of and should keep in mind.
The first thing to consider is what budget you have and how skilled you are working at heights indoors? If you decide to get a quote from a professional, it will definitely cost more than if you do it on your own. The key thing is knowing if you are capable of doing it on your own?
There is usually no need for building permits from your local council to do internal work like this on your conservatory. But if you plan on altering any electrical wiring or physical structure, there may be associated permits that you need to obtain before your work begins?
If so, a do-it-yourself project may be a little more complicated should power cables or similar need to be re-routed.
Having addressed a few of the potential concerns associated with renovating your conservatory, let’s explore a few of the more popular and cheaper ways to help you insulate your conservatory roof.
Install Thermal Blinds or Curtains
Adding blinds or curtains to your standard windows and doors provides significant draft reduction and helps to keep warm air from escaping your home. If the curtains you have installed have adequate thermal ability (like these conservatory blinds I found), this works even better. Keeping the room open during the day helps the room to warm during the day, either from the functions of your central heating system or from sunlight.
Once the sun begins to set and dusk arrives, closing the curtains will help to keep the heat in the room and reduce the passage of cold into your room.
The same idea applies to your conservatory roof. Adding insulated blinds or heavy (thermal-lined) curtains is an easy and affordable way to regulate temperature across all seasons. In the winter months, it can keep the warm air in, and during the summer months, it can help to keep the space cooler by reducing the amount of sunlight that enters the room.
This is the least expensive option, but it can be a challenge trying to install thermal blinds depending on the shape of your conservatory and your overall do-it-yourself skill. Additionally, condensation could cause the curtains to get damp and mouldy if the temperature fluctuations on either side of the curtains are too extreme.
Upgrade your Existing UPVC Roof
In some cases, the glazing bars that hold your roof in place can be expanded. This allows for an internal conservatory roof layer of UPVC roof panels to be added to your conservatory. The thicker panels have better thermal efficiency and can better regulate the temperature extremes associated with summer and winter months.
An easy solution for someone looking to upgrade the polycarbonate roof in their conservatory is getting this highly rated easy fix cladding. It comes in non-porous, mould free and fully waterproof panels and adds a classy look to your room without needing too much muscle.
Adding a second layer of thin UPVC under your existing conservatory roof can also have a similar effect by offering better insulation value. For this method, it is worth noting a couple of important things. Before calling a contractor or heading to your local home supply store, you need to ask yourself how old your existing UPVC roof is. Most UPVC roofs only have a life expectancy of 10 years (at the most).
If your roof is approaching the end of its useful life span it may be more cost-effective to simply replace the entire roof with a thicker UPVC that has a higher insulative value. While this may be an expensive solution in the short term it will likely save you money overall as you will not be installing a ‘second roof‘ only to replace the entire roof yet again a few short years later.
Insulate a Conservatory Wall – Thermal Paint
Thermal paints are specifically designed to help with the thermal efficiency of your home. This Thermal paint (found on Amazon) comes with additional features like anti-mould and anti-condensation, preventing any potential problems that can arise from using other ones.
Some manufacturers will refer to this type of paint as emulsion paint where others will use the thermal paint label. Regardless of title, these paints are designed to act as a buffer between the internal heat generated in your conservatory and the cold roof and wall surfaces.
The effectiveness of these paints is widely debated but since roughly 25% of your household heat is lost through the roof it never hurts to give them a try – as a quick cost effective option.
DIY Internal Conservatory Roof Insulation
An alternative to doubling up on polycarbonate panels is to go out and buy your own layer of bubble foil thermal insulation (see more reviews). It’ll need to be around 2 inches thick and cut to size to fit your existing panels. Granted it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing solution but it will do the job and reduce heat loss.
The video below shows an example of what is required.
Another option is multifoil insulation.
This is a far less cost-effective option as this type of insulation is designed to fit your roof panels. This type of conservatory insulation has been known to prevent around 90% of heat loss in conservatories and is also said to deflect 95% of the sun’s rays on hot sunny days. Aesthetically it may also be a bit undesirable.
Convert your Polycarbonate Conservatory Roof Panels or Glass roof
Another solution is to change your roof altogether. Now for some, this may be a desirable solution and for others not so much. After all, part of the allure and pleasure associated with having a conservatory attached to your home is all the beautiful glass and the scenery in your back yard. However, the best way to improve the insulation value of your conservatory roof and enjoy the benefits of long-term temperature regulation is to convert to a solid roof.
Changing over to a solid roof will allow you to regulate the temperature in the room without the concerns about condensation that come from installing curtains or the second layer of polycarbonate.
Most conservatory frames can support a lightweight metal structure upon which a roofing material such as slate tile can be added. Changing your roof to a solid roof also allows you to install a layer of insulation between the roof and ceiling of your room which will help with temperature regulation.
This is certainly the most long-term solution, but it does have negatives as well. It will remove some of your light in the room. Your roof panels will no longer be glass or UPVC and therefore not clear. You will still have your conservatory walls but for some, the loss of the light in the roof may be quite undesirable. Also, if your conservatory is very old it may not be able to support the weight of a solid roof structure.
A conservatory is an investment in your home which likely comes at a huge cost to build. As a result, you want to be able to enjoy the room throughout the year if possible. Unfortunately, this is not always possible given the roof design of many conservatory rooms.
If the glass or polycarbonate on your conservatory is too thin you are going to experience temperature extremes that make the room virtually unusable during much of the year. Unfortunately, the cold winter months and the hot summer months account for most of the months in the year. So now you have a room that you paid for and cannot use.
There are several solutions available to make your conservatory space useful and desirable regardless of the outdoor temperature.
Solutions such as curtains, blinds and do it yourself insulation option offer a range of financial requirements and a range of aesthetically pleasing outcomes. Other options such as adding a layer of UPVC or installing a newer, thicker polycarbonate roof are also possible and carry with them a range of pros and cons.
Finally, there is always the option of sacrificing the clear roof for the sake of vastly improved insulative value and overall energy and cost savings. Each situation will be unique and different and requires considerations such as budget, aesthetic desires and do it yourself savvy.
Regardless of your choice, in the end, there are ways to enjoy your conservatory irrespective of the weather on the outside of your home.