I am a massive believer that the rapid rise of the solid roof market was down to the fact that there simply was not a good enough conservatory roof product from the outset. Polycarbonate roofs are way too loud, allow the conservatory to get about as hot as the surface as the sun, and about as cold as a polar vortex in a US winter. They set the emerging conservatory market bar very low.

Glass isn’t too bad. It’s a lot quieter when it rains when you’re under a glass roof. It’s self cleaning, although some question how good that claim really is. They regulate heat a little better. But for most glass roofs, they still don’t eliminate glare, and the conservatory can still get pretty hot during our weekend of summer and pretty chilly at all other times.

This is why the solid roof has become so popular so quickly. It has given home owners a remedy from all the issues I’ve mentioned above, whilst giving them that genuine extension look. But it’s had an easy route to success. Polycarbonate and glass aren’t really a match for them.

Quality concerns

Our industry is fantastic at taking a great concept and idea, then cheapening it as much as possible via quality cuts and then giving it to the home owner.

There really are some poorly made solid roofs out there. Roofs with cold spots, roofs that are poorly conceived and poorly constructed. Then there are installers that don’t take the due care and attention for the existing conservatory structure and thrown the roof on there, with little regard for weight and pressure. It is this “value” part of that niche that worries me. There are many problems that could occur due to a crappy product and a crappy installation.

Thankfully, there are areas of our industry with a bit more foresight and wits and have decided to go down the quality route. I am a fan of Ultraframe’s LivinRoof and RealRoof and of Prefix’s Garden Room. All excellent examples of a premium, safe, long lasting solid roof. Installers should feel good about selling those sorts of things.

But back to the question at hand, is the solid roof product a temporary niche?

Back to glass

Solid roofs became popular because there was no better alternative. Well, I think the glass industry has righted that wrong.

Glass technology has come a long way from just self cleaning. Perhaps the most advanced glass product on the market right now is the electrochromic, true solar control glass by US-based SageGlass. Here’s a video to demonstrate how that particular product works:

A glass product that can give a home owner true control over heat and light, at their own convenience. SageGlass are going to have a big presence at this year’s FIT Show, you can click here to find out more about that.

There will be more like this. Sage Glass have set the bar high, but there will be other manufacturers who will develop their own smart glass technologies. And when they do, the glass market will be highly more advanced. It will also give home owners a very good reasons to go back to glass and ditch the bigger project that is a solid roof.

We have to remember that as Brits, we do like the outdoors. We love the light, we love the connection our glazed extensions have with our gardens. That’s why a glass roof works so well in principle. It’s in practice where it hasn’t quite met expectations. Well now, as glass tech is moving on leaps and bounds at a very rapid pace, I suspect that attention will fall away from the solid roof market and back towards an evolved glass market.

What do you think? All comments on this post are welcome via the comments section below. And remember to subscribe to get daily DGB updates sent to your inbox.

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