This is a question that I am often asked, in my 24 years installing conservatories I have found that unless planned properly at the start, these wonderful structures can be just too hot to use when the summer weather takes hold SK Windows.
These days there are so many options to prospective conservatory owners to consider. The most important thing to consider when planning a conservatory is the aspect that it will face in the garden. This will determine the material used in the roof when the conservatory is designed. Most reputable conservatory companies are well experienced in these types of decisions, and will gladly offer advice and guidance to make sure the conservatory owner gets a fully useable building that is suitable for all year round use.
Conservatories that are situated in north or east facing gardens, or areas that are heavily screened by trees should not suffer too much from overheating. It is however the conservatory that is built in a south or west facing that can be affected by overheating.
For north facing gardens, A good range of roofing products are available, It is important to consider getting a good level of light into the structure especially in gardens that are heavily screened or shaded. Specify clear or possibly Opal white finished Polycarbonate if you are on a budget, but If your budget allows, it is worth spending the additional amount and specifying clear toughened Glass for the roof. It is recommended that you also specify an easy clean or self cleaning glass. This has an innovative special coating that stops dirt and the like adhering to the surface, this is simply washed away with rainfall or a gentle hose down. These special coatings last the life of the glass unit without the need for re-applying.
There are of course some pros and cons when considering glass or polycarbonate, The latter is cheaper, it is light and virtually unbreakable. The downside is that even with the clear finish, the view through the roof is somewhat distorted, and is quite noisy in rainfall. Glass on the other hand is silent in rain, but could on rare occasions, possibly break if a roof tile slipped off in high winds. The option for preventing this is to fit a tile or snow guard on the eaves of the house to catch any tile should one become dislodged.
South or West facing conservatories need special attention when planning the roof. Again for those on a budget, you can specify polycarbonate with a bronze tinted finish, or a grey ‘heatguard’ option. For those who prefer glass roofs, There are a wide range of tinted options, Grey, Bronze, Green and Blue ‘antisun’ glass is available. The most recent option is a glass designed by Pilkington called ‘Activ’ It is available in clear or a blue tint, and combines the benefit of solar protection with a self- cleaning coating.
For the winter months I would suggest incorporating Pilkington ‘K’ glass into the roof glass units in conjunction with your choice for the outer pane. This glass is a low emission product that effectively reflects heat back into the room thus minimising heat loss especially in the winter months, this, Pilkington claim, gives great saving on heating costs. I have found during my many installations that It does also seem to have the opposite effect in the summer and will assist the tinted glass with cooling down the structure.
It is also imperative to also allow for one or more roof ventilators to be fitted into the roof, these are available with either manual or electric operators and are wonderful at clearing any heat build up by venting it out through the roof.
For those with existing conservatories, there are options available to cure overheating, Firstly the provision of roof ventilators if none are fitted will help to cool the building down. For polycarbonate roofs, there are several options, firstly if the roof is currently clear, you could consider replacing the sheets with a heatguard or a tinted option.