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Thread: Conservatory roof insulation - creative advice needed!

  1. #1
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Conservatory roof insulation - creative advice needed!

    Dear all,

    We have a double height conservatory on our house that we use (or rather the dog uses) throughout the year. It is open to the house, and there isn't a way of closing it off. As you might imagine, it has always been a heat sink, but given the rocketing heating costs I need to do something about it.

    If it were solely down to me I would replace the roof with a solid one, but the missus has nixed that as she "likes the light" and has plants in there...

    At the moment it has a pretty thin polycarbonate roof. I was thinking that if I had a second inner polycarbonate roof fitted, with translucent insulation sandwiched between, that should help considerably. What do you think? It would still let light in, but provide considerably more insulation?

    Given that the results won't be as guaranteed as replacing the roof, I don't want to spend a fortune on this to then find it makes little difference.

    Any thoughts, ideas on materials, suggestions, recommendations very gratefully received!








    So clever my foot fell off.

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  3. #3
    Master sweets's Avatar
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    Your roof is already twin wall polycarbonate, so not too bad (compared to a single layer of glass) when it somes to leaking heat.
    It also means that there is no visibility through the roof.
    Which means you can add another layer of twin wall polycarbonate, with an air gap between the two, in order to get the deisred additional insulation.
    I am not aware of any translucent insulation material that might equal the thermal performace of such an arrangement.
    It would seem that your surrent glazing bars have what looks like a suitable step, onto which another layer could be fixed with a retaining bead, without too much hassle.
    It looks like the type of job that would take an intelligent craftsman a day to template, cut and fit a suitable number of sheets.
    You would probably only need to use 10-15mm thick twin wall to achieve significant improvement.
    Much better and much better looking than anything single wall.
    4 layers of polycarbonate with airgap between would insulate quite well.
    I would recommend that you seal and insert moisture scavenger material into the air gap, to avoid mould, spiders and everything else getting in.

  4. #4
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Thanks - this is very helpful indeed.

    So you wouldn't recommend putting some kind of translucent insulation material between the two layers of polycarbonate?
    So clever my foot fell off.

  5. #5
    Master
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    We went for a solid roof with 2 large Velux windows in it.

    To be honest compared to the roof we had before, identical to yours, we have not noticed any loss of light at all. Certainly less noise when it rains too!

    Not cheap to do mind. From memory ours was a guardian roof.

    My parents also changed theirs from insulated glass 13yrs old, to a living roof solid roof with 2 large window pains. They havenít felt they lost any light at all, but gained a more useable room..


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  6. #6
    Can you fit K glass?

  7. #7
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    I know an old couple (well widow now) who did exactly what Sweets has suggested. It turned the conservatory Ito a room that can be used every day and wasnít very expensive to do. By sitting the new sheets as low as possible on the supporting beams, it creates a quadruple glazed unit (with three air gaps) which is a great insulator whilst still allowing plenty of light through.

  8. #8
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingBanana View Post
    Thanks - this is very helpful indeed.

    So you wouldn't recommend putting some kind of translucent insulation material between the two layers of polycarbonate?
    Air is a pretty good transparent insulation material to be fair.

  9. #9
    Master
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    I went down the route of replacing with a timber & tile construction with three large velux.
    Gave me a proper roof with masses of insulation, warm in winter cool even on the 30C+ days, being south facing gets huge solar gain.
    No loss of light due to velux windows, but a better light. The horrible glare from the polycarbonate panels.
    SO quiet when it rains, the polycarbonate was unbearable.

  10. #10
    Master andyjay's Avatar
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    Before we took the conservatory away and replaced it with an extension we had a similar issue with it being open to the house. I did consider the idea of putting up more layers in the roof, but as the extension idea grew, these ebbed away. Instead we put up some thermal curtains between the house and the conservatory to protect the house in the two extremes of hot and cold, and we were massively surprised just how well they worked. They were quite thick and especially in the summer created a really effective barrier to the heat. Maybe an another option to think about?

  11. #11
    TFB, we had the same as you, a large conservatory with polycarbonate roof bolted on the back of the house by the previous owners.

    They obviously got it past building control by putting segregating doors in at the time of sign off, and then removed them. Our surveyor at the time of buying said nothing negatively about it.

    We would roast in summer and freeze in winter. We scoured for solutions, but ultimately we bit the bullet and tore it down and replaced it with a proper extension with rooflights and bifolds.

    Best thing we ever did. If you have the money and need the space then I can only recommend the same.

    Polycarbonate conservatories where of a time, and that time has moved on.

    But, good luck whatever you choose. Iíll post a couple of photos of before and after when I get home.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    TFB, we had the same as you, a large conservatory with polycarbonate roof bolted on the back of the house by the previous owners.

    They obviously got it past building control by putting segregating doors in at the time of sign off, and then removed them. Our surveyor at the time of buying said nothing negatively about it.

    We would roast in summer and freeze in winter. We scoured for solutions, but ultimately we bit the bullet and tore it down and replaced it with a proper extension with rooflights and bifolds.

    Best thing we ever did. If you have the money and need the space then I can only recommend the same.

    Polycarbonate conservatories where of a time, and that time has moved on.

    But, good luck whatever you choose. I’ll post a couple of photos of before and after when I get home.
    Could have always put doors back?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Could have always put doors back?
    Helps to solve the heat gain/loss issue, but we would have still had an 80s carbuncle on the back of our house, that resonates like a machine gun when it rains hard.

  14. #14
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweets View Post
    I am not aware of any translucent insulation material that might equal the thermal performace of such an arrangement.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingBanana View Post
    So you wouldn't recommend putting some kind of translucent insulation material between the two layers of polycarbonate?
    Bubble wrap? Not entirely joking.

  15. #15
    Master Ruggertech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogthrob View Post
    Bubble wrap? Not entirely joking.
    Bubble wrap is indeed an excellent insulating material. The only problem is it is not made to last a long time, and will go yellow and eventually start crumbling.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggertech View Post
    Bubble wrap is indeed an excellent insulating material. The only problem is it is not made to last a long time, and will go yellow and eventually start crumbling.
    Is it better than air? Suppose it does prevent circulation though an air gap could be compartmentalised.

  17. #17
    Master Ruggertech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Is it better than air?
    Not sure, a lot of it is air I suppose.

  18. #18
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggertech View Post
    Bubble wrap is indeed an excellent insulating material. The only problem is it is not made to last a long time, and will go yellow and eventually start crumbling.
    Just because you can find anything on the internet, I Googled "uv resistant bubble wrap", and hey presto, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Elixir-Lami...6804025&sr=8-7

  19. #19
    Master Ruggertech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogthrob View Post
    Just because you can find anything on the internet, I Googled "uv resistant bubble wrap", and hey presto, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Elixir-Lami...6804025&sr=8-7
    Good find, that would do the job.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggertech View Post
    Not sure, a lot of it is air I suppose.
    Argon bubble-wrap is the one you want.

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