Wondering whether Conservatory Insulation is right for you? Read our extensive guide and see if it’s right for your property.
For homeowners, a conservatory is a great way to add value and utility to your property. Whether it’s a space for relaxing, dining, or working, the promise of a conservatory is a bright and airy room that can be enjoyed all year round.
However, as a lot of owners soon discover, an improperly insulated conservatory can be something of a disappointment. Too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter, a conservatory without proper roof insulation can be difficult to enjoy. Left unchecked, this can often lead to problems such as condensation, mould, and increased energy bills.
This is because glass is not a very good insulating material. Older conservatories, especially, are prone to thermal transfer through single glazed panes and poor joinery. With more modern conservatories, even the best double or triple glazing can lose heat through the framework and conversely act as a greenhouse in the summer. In addition, most conservatories also have a polycarbonate roof. These sheets of plastic are even less efficient than glass, noisier, and allow heat or cold air to transfer easily.
Fortunately, insulating a conservatory roof is an easy way to maintain a stable interior temperature. This means your conservatory can be used comfortably all year round.
Table of Contents
What Is Conservatory Insulation?
Conservatory roof insulation is a way to regulate the temperature inside your conservatory.
Because heat rises, addressing the roof of a conservatory is considered the most efficient method of temperature regulation. While blinds, rugs, and wall insulation offer some benefits, they often prove inadequate and do not allow the room to be enjoyed as it should be.
Roof insulation involves retro-fitting multi-layered foil quilts to the ceiling of your conservatory. These foil quilts are sandwiched between batten struts, and finished with plastic cladding. This traps heat in the winter and preventing a build-up of temperature in the summer.
The metric used to measure the thermal efficiency of materials is called the u-value. The lower the value, the better the material is at insulating. The u-value of multi-layered foil quilts used in conservatory insulation averages around 0.175-0.5. This is a massive improvement over glass roofs, for example, with single glazed panes having a u-value around 5.
Advantages Of Conservatory Insulation
There are many advantages to insulating your conservatory, making it a wise investment for any owner.
While the sound of rain pattering on a roof can be quite pleasant, during heavy downpours the sound of water hitting glass and polycarbonate can become an annoyance. This can often drown out conversation or distract you from reading, for example.
Acting as a sound dampener, a fully insulated roof keeps your conservatory quiet and peaceful, no matter what the weather. The multiple layers of foil, foam, cladding and pockets of air all work together to reduce noise and let you enjoy your conservatory free from distractions.
More Energy Efficient
Having better control over the temperature of your conservatory means you no longer need to run energy-intensive heaters, fans, or air conditioners.
With the cost of energy ever-rising, roof insulation is a cost-saving measure if you find yourself relying on these devices to make your conservatory habitable.
Not only that but being more energy-efficient makes your home greener. Using less energy keeps your conservatory warm or cool and lowers your carbon footprint, relying on its improved thermal properties instead.
Prevents UV Damage
An insulated conservatory roof blocks out a lot of the sun’s damaging ultra-violet (UV) rays.
Over time, UV light can alter the molecular structure of objects making them brittle and appear faded. Furniture is especially prone to this, with conservatory sofas often looking old before their time.
With roof insulation, most incidental light is prevented from entering your conservatory. Instead, light is reflected into it with the effect of the UV rays diminished.
Preventing up to 90% of heat loss, roof insulation is the most cost-effective solution to making your conservatory’s temperature comfortable. While there are other methods available, with most heat lost or entering through the roof, insulation is the best way to utilize your existing structure and guarantee thermal improvement.
With the conservatory lying dormant in many homes over the winter months, roof insulation can effectively allow you to regain a room. Able to regulate a steady temperature, your conservatory can then be used as any other room in your house without the concern of it being too cold or too hot.
Disadvantages Of Conservatory Insulation
While the benefits of conservatory insulation are numerous, there are very few downsides to the process other than the upfront cost and minor intrusion involved during installation.
All things considered, insulating your conservatory roof is the most affordable way to reclaim your conservatory, but it does involve an upfront cost. While this can cost more than some other, inferior, solutions, the energy savings alone can help recoup this expense over just a few years.
As with many types of home improvement, the installation does involve having work-people come to your property for a short time. Trained professionals, roof insulation installers are respectful of other people’s homes and due to the exterior location of conservatories, the intrusion is not felt so keenly.
How Is Conservatory Roof Insulation Installed?
Installing conservatory roof insulation involves multiple steps and will vary slightly based on the company used. Nevertheless, the process is largely the same between companies:
- Roof panels are surveyed and measured, cutting insulation materials to the correct size.
- Sub-frame is fitted to your existing roof. These battens are typically made from wood or plastic and add stability to your existing roof structure.
- Multi-layer foil quilting is then attached to the sub-structure, using thermal tape along seams.
- Counter battens are then installed beneath the insulation, sandwiching the foil quilting.
- An internal finish is then installed, typically uPVC cladding giving a clean, blank canvas for decor and ceiling fixtures.
How Much Does Conservatory Insulation Cost?
The typical conservatory roof installation cost is somewhere between £1,500-£6,000, depending on 3 factors:
The Size Of Your Conservatory
Larger conservatories will require more materials and take longer to install. If you have a particularly large conservatory, contractors will need to spend more time installing your insulation. This, alongside the price of materials, will be factored into your quote, however.
While material prices tend to stay similar across the board, different regions tend to have different costs for labour. This is due to differences in the cost of living where more affluent areas can expect to pay a little more for installation.
Different companies have their own techniques, materials, and methods of installation. While the process is largely the same, differences do occur with premium and budget solutions fetching corresponding prices.
DIY vs Professional Installers
For those who cannot afford to pay contractors or believe they can do the job themselves, there are plenty of guides on the internet for DIY conservatory roof insulation. You simply need the materials and a bit of know-how. This can often save thousands in paying outside companies to do the job, with many people choosing to go down this route.
However, while it can be tempting to have a go yourself, installing conservatory roof insulation is usually best left to the experts. Installing insulation requires specialist knowledge and awareness of issues that are often overlooked in the DIY approach.
Going with a team of trained professionals may cost a little more but it takes the headache out of the process and ensures the finished product is not only thermally effective, but looks good too.
Out of the current crop of installation teams, there is one that stands out:
The UK market leader, Conservatory Insulations has completed over 20,000 installations and is a family business offering a professional service. They use their own specially designed foil quilts that outperform the competition. and take great pride in what they do.
Alternative Insulation Solutions
The most common is the installation of a new roof. This is a more major undertaking than the installation of roof insulation and involves a new structure being installed. This is often made of timber that is packed with insulating material. It then has lightweight roof tiles attached and a plaster finish added to the interior.
With new conservatory roofs ranging from £5,000 – £9,000, however, this is considerably more costly than roof insulation and for many homeowners is not as cost-effective.
This thin sheet of self-adhesive material attaches to the glass and polycarbonate of your conservatory, reducing UV rays and improving thermal properties.
This solution is often not enough to make conservatories warm enough to use in the winter but is a good way to boost their thermal efficiency in conjunction with other solutions. Solar film can be applied by yourself or by a professional.
Conservatory Insulation FAQs
How long does conservatory insulation take to install?
A professional company will typically install roof insulation within a day. A large, awkward, or complex conservatory shape may take two days.
Does roof insulation make the conservatory darker?
Installing roof insulation does make conservatories somewhat darker as it blocks light from entering above. With a reflective ceiling material, however, such as uPVC, this is somewhat mitigated with added benefits of blocking UV rays.
Do you need planning permission?
Normally, planning permission is not needed unless your building is listed or resides in a conservation area.
Will I lose much ceiling space with roof insulation?
Roof insulation only protrudes around 2 inches, meaning you won’t feel your conservatory has gotten smaller.
Can I still insulate my roof if it is made of glass?
While some companies will recommend solar film for glass panes, most will still offer installation as a solution. The only marked difference will be the addition of a tint to the glass to prevent the foil from being visible from above.