If there is one product that has changed how home owners and indeed our industry sees the conservatory and now glazed extension market it is the solid roof. It has been a revolution in our market place in the last few years and has seen the rebirth of a once rapidly dying market.
King of the pile
There’s been lots of new products arrive into the industry in the past few years that have helped to transform the glazed extension market. Internal pelmets, feature gutters, even bigger feature corner products, pre-fabricated wall effects, superb window and door products. But the one product that has had by far the biggest influence on the whole market is easily the solid roof.
The solid roof is the one product that can turn a shabby, old and tired conservatory into a proper room in the house that can be used at all times. No other glazed extension product can have such a dramatic effect as that.
It is the reason why so many home owners have turned to solid roof conversion as a way to enhance the conservatory they already have. It allows them to convert a room, rather than knock the whole thing down and start again. In the wider context of the whole of the fenestration market, it has been one of the most successful recent products of our time.
A variety of quality
It’s been a game changer of a product, but that’s not to say there aren’t differing qualities within the solid roof market. There are some aimed at the value end of the market, towards home owners who perhaps want a quick fix on a small budget. There are those though aimed at the other end of the market, towards home owners who want to spend good money on a high-end product.
Naturally I prefer the latter of those two. I believe that the better the product, the less chance there is of problems with the roof later in the product’s life, the better it will hold up aesthetically in later life and the finished product will be of a higher standard too.
I also naturally fear that at the value end of the market standard of installation will not be anywhere near as high in comparison to the quality end of the market. Solid roofs are heavy items in comparison to their polycarbonate counterparts. Original structures were not built with that much top-heavy weight in mind. It’s likely that installers who have identified this market as a cash cow will be rapidly putting these roofs up without carrying out important checks on foundations, dwarf walls and existing framework.
You don’t need much of an imagination to understand what could go wrong if a solid roof if fitted to an existing conservatory when it shouldn’t be up there.
In terms of potential for the solid roof, it’s limitless. The replacement market is estimated to be around three million existing conservatories. That alone is huge potential for makers of solid roofs. But lets not be narrow minded.
There are tens of millions of homes in the UK that currently do not have any sort of glazed extension on the back of their homes. This is mega potential that our industry has to work hard to tap. And when it does, home owners won’t be considering polycarbonate or even a glass roof, it will most likely be a solid roof.
We’re in a period of time in this country where things have become a little less certain due to a certain vote a few weeks back. There is a momentum from businesses, including our own, to make the most of any potential business that is out there. The solid roof market is one area that we should be tapping for all it’s worth.
Surely this market alone can be valued in the billions?
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