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What is the Best Replacement Conservatory Roof?

A Guide to choosing the best replacement conservatory roof

For one reason or another, at some point you may be considering buying a replacement conservatory roof.

With prices ranging for the average new glazed conservatory roof ranging from £2,500 to £5,000 for clear and £4,500 to £8,000 for a tiled conservatory roof, it’s going to be well worth your while to take some time to think hard about what the best replacement conservatory roof design for you might be.

So here is our handy guide to the current replacement conservatory roof options in the market.

What you can find in this guide to conservatory roofs
  • When should I replace my conservatory roof?
  • What are the different types of materials for conservatory roofs?
  • Conservatory roof materials compared – what are the pros & cons
  • How much does a replacement conservatory roof cost?

When should I replace my conservatory roof?

Prior to 2010, to be classified as a conservatory, 75% of the room had to be constructed from translucent or clear materials. However, these days the rules are somewhat more relaxed.

This 75% rule alone, probably contributed to huge numbers of owners ending up with a polycarbonate conservatory roof. I think it’s also fair to say that a high proportion of the market that developed after 2010 is as a result of people replacing polycarbonate with something else.

Why change the roof? – here are our top 7 reasons to replace your old conservatory roof.

  1. During sunny weather, the room becomes insufferably hot.
  2. During the autumn and winter, your conservatory is too cold to use.
  3. Heavy rain on the roof itself makes an annoyingly large amount of noise.
  4. There has been some form of structural failure (broken or leaky).
  5. Your conservatory suffers from a lot of condensation.
  6. Maybe the existing roof is just old and looks shabby now.
  7. You inherited the conservatory after buying the property, and you just don’t like the look of it.

These issues are a mixture of structural problems and quality of life problems. What we mean by that is, you roof may not be broken or leaky, but you can’t use it half of the time either because it’s too hot in there or too cold.

Condensation problems can lead to mold, mildew or fungus which then becomes a potential health hazard.

If it’s a cold room, that means if you want to use it in comfort, you have to heat it. This is inevitably going to increase your utility bills – high bills being something we all complain about!

So, any one of the above can indicate it’s about time for you to take the plunge and get a replacement conservatory roof.

What are the different types of materials for conservatory roofs?

Broadly speaking, new conservatory roofs come in four different designs and these would be:

  • Glass – double or triple glazed
  • Solid – tiles or slates
  • Hybrid roofs – combination of glass & tiles
  • Polycarbonate – lightweight translucent sheets

1)     Glass conservatory roofs

Glass Replacement Conservatory Roof

Let’s start with the obvious, do not fit a single glazed roof.

Firstly, it’s dangerous because a single pane of glass is so much easier to break than a double glazed pane. Secondly, you are just throwing money away because of the miserable energy efficiency properties of single glazing.

Glass conservatory roofs can not only look good, but with the latest products you can get good levels of energy efficiency.

The inclusion of double glazing has resulted in  glass conservatory roofs becoming more and more thermally efficient.

This means that conservatories with glass roofs are not simply fancy  greenhouses anymore.

A modern glass conservatory roof will retain more of your house’s internal heat, which means you’ll save on energy bills. At the same time it works to reduce incoming heat or cold thereby keeping the temperature in your room more stable and enjoyable.

A good quality double-glazed glass roof should last 15 years or more.

The overall thickness of the glass in a sealed unit varies from 14mm to 28mm. The glass itself is usually 4mm thick float glass and the gap between the panes runs from 6mm to 20mm.

28mm units are the most energy efficient and can be upgraded by using inert gasses (such as Argon or Xenon) to fill the gap between the panes.

Additional features such as tinted glass or self-cleaning glass are well worth considering – the first to help reduce overhead glare, the second to keep the roof spotless.

In terms of cost, you’ll find glass costs more than poly-carbonate, but a good deal less than a tiled roof.

2)     Solid and Tiled conservatory roofs

A tiled conservatory roof is going to be free of many of the “annoyances” of glass and polycarbonate.

Firstly, due to the tiling there is less overhead glare. Yes, this does mean you let natural light into the room, but the tiling serves to keep temperatures within your conservatory more stable and therefore you can use the room 365 days a year.

To combat the loss of natural light, many owners choose to fit something like a Velux window (or two) into the roof. This solution serves to provide for both extra daylight and a means of ventilation.

Secondly, it provides a huge improvement in heat and sound insulation. No more drumming of raindrops to drive you mad and keeping the room at a pleasant temperature is less costly.

There is a wide range of tiling to choose from such as:

  • Concrete tiles (like a standard house roof) in dozens of designs.
  • Quarried Slate.
  • Synthetic slate.
  • Metal tiles.

If you are changing from a glass or polycarbonate roof to tiles, then you must consider the extra weight loading. Your original frames may not be strong enough to bear the load and so it is exceedingly important to have a structural survey to establish their condition prior to replacing the roof.

Of late, there are lightweight conservatory roof systems that offset a lot of the concern about making your conservatory “top-heavy”.

Synthetic and metal conservatory roof tiles weigh a fraction of natural slate or concrete tiles. Several manufacturers produce these lightweight tiles in a vast array of colours and designs.

Types of Roof Tile Design

Types of Roof Tile Design

Roofing tiles are known as heavyweight where they weigh over 20kg per M2. Lightweight roofing tiles are under this weight and can be around 12kg M2 down to 6kg M2 (https://www.lightweighttiles.co.uk/).

What’s more, modern synthetic tiles can come with a 25 year guarantee.

3)     Polycarbonate conservatory roofs

Lets’ be forthright here, if you want a cheap replacement conservatory roof then you should consider using polycarbonate. However, they may come with a lower price tag, but along with that comes quite a few issues that have driven many owners to replace them.

Known for having less energy efficiency than other roof types, they allow transfer of heat and cold much more than tiles or double glazed panels. They are also quite noisy during heavy rain.

Whilst they are quite safe being shatterproof, they are not really that strong. You can get them coloured in bronze or opal which will offset some of the overhead light glare.

If you are going to use polycarbonate sheets for your conservatory, then you should go for twin on triple walled products with a minimum thickness of 35mm – you can probably go down to 16mm, but that’s as low as we would consider.

Conservatory roofs compared – what are the pros & cons

So, what is the best replacement conservatory roof?

To keep it simple, each type of roof has its advantages and disadvantages, but the importance of each factor is down to the individual owner priorities.

  • If your priority is to keep the initial cost of your replacement conservatory roof as low as possible then the way to go is with Poly-carbonate.
  • If you want to keep your conservatory looking classic, light, and full of natural sunlight go for a glass conservatory roof.
  • If you want your conservatory to look more like a permanent extended part of the home, then a tiled conservatory roof can do that for you. But you’ll need the biggest budget for a tiled roof.

Quick Feature comparison

roof comparison table

How much does a replacement conservatory roof cost?

The final figure is very much going to depend upon the size, style and materials used in the roof itself. Labour costs can also vary a lot up and down the country.

However, here are some examples of average replacement conservatory roof costs.

See our other articles on roof prices:

Get Conservatory Roof Quotes Here

Conservatory roof planning permission

Planning permission for a replacement conservatory roof may not be required, especially if you are just replacing one roof with exactly the same type of roof, albeit a new one.

But don’t automatically assume that you don’t need planning permission. Changing from a transparent roof to a solid roof can change the designation of your room from a conservatory to a permanent extension in some cases.

Building regulations need to be adhered to and compliance is essential.

Here are some useful links:

Planning permission and building regulations are tricky areas, consult with your installer about this in detail before you start any construction work.



A: For glazed & polycarbonate “like for “like” about 2 to 3 days. For a tiled roof this can vary a lot depending on any structural work need for the frames. However, the roof itself can be done in around 3 to 6 days.


A: Just replacing the panels can be relatively straight forward – take out old Poly-carbonate or glass panes and fit replacements.

If you are going from polycarbonate to tile, then you need to check if the existing frame can take the increased load first. If it can, then it should be straightforward to remove the old roof, dispose of it and fit the new one.


A: Theoretically, yes. However, in some cases doing so could make some designs look overly “top-heavy” and detract from the overall visual appeal of the conservatory.


A: A polycarbonate roof panel can be expected to go for about 10 years, this can drop if you don’t look after them properly. Double glazed panels could last for 10 to 15 years. Tiled roofs can last much longer, maybe 40 or 50 years and some come with a 25 year warranty.


A: Replacing an old polycarbonate roof with a new polycarbonate roof will be the cheapest option. Replacing polycarbonate with tiles will be the costliest option.


A: We recommend that you discuss this area in detail with your contractor well in advance of any work starting. They should be familiar with all the requirements for the roof in question. You can also contact your local authority and talk to them about your proposed changes:

Get Conservatory Roof Quotes Here