Conservatory Insulation DIY Guide
It can be disappointing to discover that your conservatory is not usable during certain times of the year. Too hot in the summer and far too cold in the winter, an uninsulated conservatory often fails to live up to expectations.
Many owners, then, choose to insulate their conservatories to keep the temperate just right. Insulation prevents the room from turning into a greenhouse in the warmer months and stops heat from escaping during the colder times of the year.
While there are professional services available, you can also choose to do the job yourself. Insulating your conservatory roof is not as hard as it sounds and can make the space usable all year round.
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The Benefits Of Conservatory Insulation
Insulating your conservatory comes with a host of benefits. The most significant include:
- Prevent up to 90% of heat loss: a standard conservatory roof made of glass or polycarbonate sheeting is not very good at retaining heat. This is because joins are not air-tight and have a low U-value (the measure of a material’s insulating properties).
Adding a thermally insulating layer below your conservatory roof prevents heat from transferring through these materials. This can save anything up to 90% of heat from escaping.
- Save on heating bills: with an insulated roof, heating your conservatory will be a lot easier too. Because heat does not escape through the roof, radiators and room heaters do not need to expend as much energy to get the room up to temperature.
With energy prices rising, this can mean significant savings in terms of energy bills.
- Prevents overheating: thermal insulation also prevents your conservatory from overheating by blocking the sun’s rays. This is especially a problem during the summer, with conservatory insulation acting as a barrier, keeping the room comfortable.
- Reduce noise: having roof insulation also means your conservatory is quieter as the extra layers dampen sound. This is especially the case during rain and hail storms when conservatories can often become unusable without insulation.
- Quick installation: installing conservatory roof insulation is a much quicker job than replacing glass and polycarbonate too. The process takes just a few hours and doesn’t cause much disturbance.
- Removes glare and sun fading: blocking strong light from above also means an end to sun glare when enjoying the space. It also minimises furniture fading by blocking a large proportion of UV light.
- Transforms conservatory into a usable room: most importantly, roof insulation lets your conservatory live up to its promise and become a usable, comfortable room, no matter the season.
Conservatory Insulation DIY vs Professional Job
There are some jobs that should only ever be left to the professionals, but you can attempt a conservatory roof insulation yourself. Installing conservatory insulation yourself requires only basic DIY skills, and thousands of owners have undertaken the job themselves successfully.
While professionals will undoubtedly take less time and make things look easy, going down the do-it-yourself conservatory insulation route can ultimately save thousands.
DIYers should be confident in their own abilities, however. Calling in a company to fix your work as well as finish the job will likely accrue yet further costs. So it’s important to be sure before you start.
What you’ll need
- Roof battens (2×1 timber, at least 2 lengths per support)
- Blanket insulation
- Foil tape (75mm width)
- Tapping screws (50mm)
- Wood screws (50mm)
- Staple gun
- 14mm staples
- Cladding material (PVC, plasterboard, wood)
While you can shop around to get the best deals on these items, you can also buy do-it-yourself conservatory insulation kits from stores like Wickes and ScrewFix. These contain most of the items you need.
What Insulation Foil Is Best?
There is now a range of different conservatory roof insulation rolls to purchase. Most professionals will have their own personal favourite, the most well-recommended are SuperQuilt and ConservaHeat.
These two brands have a good reputation and are produced by well-respected manufacturers. They have excellent U-value properties and can be installed in any conservatory.
Step-By-Step Conservatory Insulation DIY Guide
1. Apply window film if necessary
If you have a glass ceiling, consider installing window film to your panes. This is known as thermal film or insulating film and serves two purposes.
Firstly, it can help prevent UV light and solar energy from entering the conservatory. Second, as it is tinted, it can help improve the appearance of your conservatory from the outside once the insulation is installed.
Simply peel, cut and apply film if necessary.
2. Measure and cut your battens
In order to affix the insulating material, we need to construct a basic framework out of timber battens. These sandwich the insulating material and allow an air gap to form on either side of the foil.
Measure and cut your timber to run along your vertical and horizontal supports, including the tops of windows. Be sure to pay special attention to any mitred joins to ensure a good finish.
You will need 2 battens for each support section.
3. Fix under battens to ceiling
With your battens cut, it’s time to fix the first into place.
Using some 50mm tapping screws, fix the battens into your conservatory support beams. Aim to apply screws every 250-300mm for a secure fit.
In some cases, it may be necessary to drill a pilot hole first through the timber. This will depend on your drill and the quality of your screws.
4. Apply insulating foil
Next, unroll your insulation material and attach the foil to your ceiling battens.
This material is highly flexible and relatively forgiving, but it can help to have a second pair of hands for this stage. To cut, simply use a pair of large wallpaper scissors.
To fix the material to the battens, simply use a staplegun and 14mm staples.
Try to cut as large sections as you can to maximize thermal performance. When a join is necessary, overlap the two sections and use 75mm foil tape to seal the join.
After you’ve insulated the entire ceiling, use the foil tape to seal all the edges, eliminating heat escape and draughts.
5. Fix over batons in place
With your insulation now in place, it’s time to sandwich it with some more timber battens. Having further support here adds another layer of air which can help reduce thermal transfer.
Grab your pre-cut battens and use 50mm wood screws, screwing into the under battens. Be mindful of avoiding the tapping screws and space screws between.
6. Fit lightweight cladding
You now need to install a lightweight cladding material to complete the look of your new conservatory ceiling.
Your choice of material will depend on the strength of the conservatory structure and your preference.
Two lightweight choices include plasterboard and PVC sections. Plasterboard is cheap and easy to cut into shape, affixed with screws, but can crack over time. PVC sections are more durable but are more expensive.
Some owners choose to use wood cladding which can give the conservatory a comfortable aesthetic. However, this can be heavy and might require a structural engineer to inspect your conservatory beforehand.
7. Apply trim and finishing touches
The final stage involves applying trim finishes and reapplying paint where necessary. If you’ve opted for a plasterboard ceiling, you will also need to plaster your ceiling, usually requiring the help of a professional.
Adding conservatory roof insulation yourself does not require planning permission as long as all work conducted is on the inside.
This is because you are not adjusting the height or the structure itself but merely furnishing the inside.
Conservatory Insulation DIY FAQs
Will I experience condensation if I insulate my conservatory?
You can eliminate the risk of condensation forming in your conservatory by only using a good quality insulating foil. These contain a vapour control layer that stops condensation from forming on colder surfaces providing the conservatory has adequate ventilation.
Can you see the insulation from the outside?
Insulation will not be visible if your conservatory has a polycarbonate roof. This is because the material is semi-opaque.
If you have a glass ceiling, consider using tinted insulating foil to mask the appearance.
What cladding should I use with my DIY conservatory insulation?
It’s recommended to use a PVC material or plasterboard as these are lightweight and easy to install.
Using a heavier material like tongue and groove wood panels can make a conservatory structurally unsound.
Do I need permission to insulate my conservatory in the UK?
No permission is needed to install conservatory roof insulation yourself, provided all work is on the inside. If unsure, contact your local authorities who will be able to guide you further.
Is DIY conservatory insulation expensive?
Conservatory insulation materials are relatively inexpensive, and doing the job yourself can save thousands of pounds on labour.
In most cases, the job can be completed for under £600.