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Installing a tiled roof conservatory

Installing a Tiled Conservatory Roof, Complete Buying Guide for a Solid Roof Conservatory

Many glass and polycarbonate roofs that were installed at the peak of conservatory popularity are now showing signs of age, leaking, and becoming less weatherproof. A modern lightweight tiled roof is the perfect choice when considering roof replacement for an old, worn-out conservatory roof.

Solid tiled roofing is becoming very popular today when replacing these aging roofs, but many existing conservatories cannot bear the weight of traditional tiling materials like natural slate and clay.

Today’s new lightweight tiling options offer the advantages of traditional tiling without the weight, allowing you to replace the roof without necessarily having to upgrade the structure of your conservatory.


What is a Lightweight Tiled Conservatory Roof Replacement?

A lightweight tiled roof replacement involves completely removing the old roof and replacing it with new framing, insulation, and lightweight roofing tiles. These lightweight tiles are made of a variety of materials including synthetics such as fiberglass, rubber, polymers, and zinc coated lightweight steel. Natural materials like ground limestone and minerals are added to provide the tile with the look of natural slate, concrete, and clay.

Lightweight tiles are available in an appealing range of styles and colors, so you will be able to find a tile that matches or compliments your home.

A solid tiled roof may give you less natural light than a glass or polycarbonate roof, but it will transform your conservatory into an extension of your home. If you wish to retain natural light, you can add window lights to the roof. Solar panels can be installed on a tiled conservatory roof.

Whether your conservatory is Edwardian, Victorian, a Lean-To, T, or P-shaped, a lightweight solid tiled roof can suit your needs.

Tiled Roof Conservatory Replacement

When replacing your old conservatory roof with a tiled roofing system, you’ll find that most installers will use a timber frame and others will use an aluminium frame. Both of these materials offer advantages and disadvantages.

Timber can be cut and built to any size specifications and any necessary adjustments can be made quickly on the job site. Timber is a natural, sustainable product, it’s very strong, provides insulating qualities and good support to a tiled roof. A timber frame does not have problems with condensation like an aluminium frame can.

The primary disadvantage of timber is that it is heavier than aluminium, and you may find that the structure or foundation of your conservatory needs strengthening or repair to hold a timber frame. If the roof tiling is improperly installed, water can leak through and cause timber framing to rot.

Wood Framed Conservatory Roof

Modern architectural aluminium is much improved over the cheap aluminium used in the 1970’s. Extensive improvements, including thermal barriers and computerisation of manufacturing, have made aluminium a strong and stable building product. It weighs much less than wood, is 100% recyclable, will stand up to bad weather, is unharmed by water, and is corrosion resistant.

The most significant disadvantage of aluminium is the cost. It is considerably more expensive than wood. Low quality, inexpensive aluminium may be unable to support the roof overtime and won’t have the thermal abilities that high quality aluminium will.

There are now half a dozen or so large companies, plus many smaller companies specialising in installing solid tiled conservatory replacement roof systems. Following are reviews on some of these companies.

aluminium-framed-roof

CosyRoof

CosyRoof is one of the U.K. and Ireland’s top conservatory roof conversion companies. CosyRoof conversions usually take 2-3 days and include a timber roof frame, guttering, fascia boards, and a fully finished, plastered, and insulated interior ceiling. CosyRoof finished roof systems provide a 0.17 U-value, a small amount of insulation.

They offer a 10-year insurance backed guarantee and a 40-year warranty on roof tiles. CosyRoof provides roof conversions for any conservatory style.

Guardian Warm Roof System

The Guardian Warm Roof systems consist of over 20 components supplied by different fabricators. After the old roof is removed, an aluminium frame is attached to the structure. The roof is insulated and then tiled with either Metro Tile or Tapco products. The Guardian roof system will provide a u-value of 0.18.

Guardian roof systems are LABC-registered which gives you an advantage with building regulations approval. This means you should likely require a less costly and time-consuming inspection process.

Guardian Warm Roof systems take 3 to 4 days to install and are compatible with a wide range of conservatory styles. Roof lights and interior lighting can be included.

Supalite

Supalite also provides a “warm roof” system. The system uses a lightweight aluminium frame which generally does not require the need for additional support to the existing structure or foundation, although you should always check with a building control body (BCB) first.

Supalite provides lightweight tiles in a range of colors and styles with up to 60-year life expectancies.

Eurocell

Eurocell offers the Equinox tiled roofing system for conservatory roof replacement. Equinox uses lightweight aluminium rafters on a timber deck to provide a high level of air flow through the roof system reducing the risk of any condensation. Upgraded boarding increases strength to allow larger roofs without the risk of sagging.

The Equinox system can be installed in as little as 2 days providing a completely finished exterior and interior and is compatible with all conservatory styles. The Equinox roof system provides u-values as low as 0.15. They also can include roof windows with a choice of features or large glazed areas in up to 850mm widths. Tiles include a variety of synthetic slate and coated steel in a full range of colors.

About U-Values

The lower the u-value, the slower the heat transfers through the roofing materials, meaning the better insulated the conservatory is. For comparison, a triple-glazed glass roof will give you a u-value of around a 2.0.


An Overview of Tiled Conservatory Roof Installation

The roof installation process begins after the old roof has been completely removed. Following is an outline of the various stages and materials used to install a new solid tiled conservatory roof.

Framing

Some installers use timber frames and others use aluminium frames. Both materials have their pros and cons as detailed above. The new frame and rafters are installed on the conservatory structure.

Most conservatory roof conversion companies install a layer of plywood decking over the frame.

Exterior Insulation

Exterior insulation is installed between the roof rafters. It can be installed from the outside before the plywood decking and felt membrane are added or from the inside after the decking and felt membrane are installed. The insulation is commonly a three-inch thick solid insulation, but blanket or mineral wool insulation are occasionally used.

Felt Membrane

At this point, the roofing felt is installed. Roofing felt is a permeable moisture barrier allowing warm moist air from the inside the home to escape while preventing moisture that is outside the home from seeping into the roof system. Roofing felt is a mandatory requirement under roof tiles.

Lightweight Tiles

Once the felt membrane is laid, the flashings are installed, and the exterior of the roof is covered with lightweight tiles. Lightweight tiles are available in synthetic materials like polymers and are formed to look like natural slate and clay tiles and shingles. There are also lightweight tiles made from zinc coated steel that are formed to look like individual tiles. These tiles are available in a wide range of colors and styles to match or compliment your home.

Interior Insulation

Insulating the interior of the conservatory usually consists of fastening two-inch thick solid insulating boards to the roof frame and rafters.

Plasterboard

The final layer to the interior ceiling is a layer of plasterboard. The plasterboard is nailed directly to the rafters, or, in some cases, timber battens are nailed to the rafters and the plasterboard is mailed to the battens. The interior ceiling is then skim coated with plaster making it ready for paint.

Solid Tiles Conservatory Options

Velux Roof Windows

Velux is a top brand of roof windows and makes a variety that can be installed into a solid tiled conservatory roof. Velux windows are available in a choice of sizes, glazing options, and both interior and exterior finishes.

Velux windows

Velux windows provide a low maintenance solution to bringing more daylight into a solid tiled-roof conservatory.

Downlights

Downlights can be added to a conservatory ceiling, but the necessary wiring must be done before the ceiling is finished. Downlights are recessed into the ceiling, so you only see a small part of the fitting. They are available in fixed of directional versions, most commonly in a downward direction. Some are available with different beam widths, narrow, medium, and wide for flexibility. LED bulbs are the norm now.

Conservatory Downlights

Downlights are an excellent tool to create atmosphere and drama to an area. They can be used throughout the conservatory or just in areas where you need the light for tasks like reading.

External Soffit Lights

Conservatory soffit lighting can add a dramatic accent and be used as a security tool, but not all tiled conservatory roof replacements include external soffits. If you want to add soffit lighting to your conservatory, make sure the brand you use or the company you hire can install exterior soffits. The wiring for soffit lighting will need to be in place before the roof is finished.

Soffit lights are usually recessed, but there are a variety of lighting styles and color choices. You can also find lights with narrow, medium, and wide beams. All soffit lights should be fireproof.


Replace Conservatory Side Windows

Glazing technology today is vastly superior to what it was 20 years ago. Coatings are now applied that help glass retain heat in the winter and reflect UV rays in the summer making your conservatory less prone to temperature fluctuations.

If you’re planning a conservatory roof replacement, upgrading your old windows at the same time would be a worthwhile investment. Fitting your conservatory with A-rated glass could reduce the amount of energy lost by over 30%.

Conservatory windows are available in timber, uPVC, aluminium, and many sizes and styles.

What are the Benefits of a Solid Tiled Conservatory Roof?

Replacing an old glass or polycarbonate conservatory roof with tiles offers many benefits to a homeowner. Following are some of these benefits:

  • A lightweight solid tiled conservatory roof replacement can increase your home value by 10% to 15%.
  • Solid tiled roofs are insulated so they stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer providing valuable year-round living space.
  • Because your conservatory now includes ceiling insulation, it will be more energy efficient and save you money on your heating and cooling costs.
  • A solid tiled roof provides a barrier against outside noise making your conservatory a quieter space.
  • A solid tiled conservatory roof replacement is less expensive and much faster to complete than building an entirely new conservatory or extending while still providing an upgraded, more attractive appearance.
  • A solid tiled roof requires very little looking after. The tiles are durable, extremely weather resistant, low maintenance, and many brands carry 40-year warranties.
  • Lightweight roofing tiles are available in a wide range of style and color choices so, choosing tile to coordinate with your home will be easy.

How Much Does a Solid Tiled Conservatory Roof Cost?

Although there are a number of variables, the cost to replace a glass or polycarbonate conservatory roof with a solid tiled roof can range from £250 to £1,000 per m2.

Examples:

Low Cost | Simple conservatories, like a Lean-To style, without roof lights or other features, should cost between £250 and £500 per m2. The tile would be a basic choice.

Average Cost | Most conservatory roof replacements will fall into this range and include fairly uncomplicated styles like Edwardian and L or T-shaped designs. Cost will range between £500 and £850 per m2. Tile would include synthetic slate or clay, or lightweight steel shingle.

High Cost | An ornate conservatory in a Victorian or P-shaped style with roof windows or other features can cost as much as £850 to £1,000 per m2.

What Should Be Included in the Cost?

The cost for a solid tile conservatory roof replacement should include all materials such as framing, plywood, plaster board, and insulation. Costs for tiles, roof vents, fascia boards, guttering, lead flashings, a plastered interior ceiling, and VAT should also be included.

Factors Affecting the Cost of a Conservatory Roof Replacement

Some of the factors that can increase the cost include the need to repair or strengthen the walls or foundation of the conservatory. Electric work, roof windows, and an up-graded tile can also increase the cost.

The cost to remove and dispose of the old roof may be included in the roofing estimate or may be an additional cost.

Prices may be lower in large cities where there are more tradesmen and more competition than in rural areas. But you’ll generally pay higher prices in and around London. Who you hire can also affect the price as small companies may be more flexible and able to negotiate costs with a homeowner.

Are Building Regulations Required?

When installing a solid tiled conservatory roof, you will need Building Regulatory Approval. This is because a solid roof will change the classification of the conservatory from a temporary structure to a permanent structure.

The Building Control department will conduct a survey of the existing conservatory, deciding whether the windows and doors need to be replaced and if the existing structure is able to bear the load of the new roof.

Here is a link to the Local Authority Building Control for England and Wales

Your roofing installer may be able to assist you with this process.

Before 2010, you needed planning permission but today you may not because planning permission was given when the conservatory was built meaning that you probably don’t need it again for a replacement roof.

In some cases, a solid or tiled roof can change the classification of the conservatory from a temporary structure to a permanent structure, so it is recommended you speak with the planning officer at your local council to confirm this before starting any work.

Solid Tiled Conservatory Roof Replacement vs. Extending

Both an extension and a conservatory are meant to provide additional living space to your home. The technical differences between a conservatory with a solid tiled roof and an extension are that a conservatory has a door leading into the house and an independent heating system. An extension is open to the rest of the home and heating is provided by a central system. Both will add significant value to your home.

Building an extension to your home can cost between £1,500 per m2 for basic quality to £2,400 per m2 for excellent quality. Adding a finished and insulated solid tiled roof to an existing conservatory will cost, on average, £800 per m2.


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