Conservatory Roof Materials: Glass – Choosing The Right Glass

Glass conservatory roofing is the most popular choice of materials, and the epitome of elegant, stylish living. Although it requires a bigger investment than the alternative polycarbonate roof, nothing compares to the feeling of being outside, inside, and being able to see the sky in all it’s glory all year round.

If you’re thinking that glass is the right solution for you, don’t be fooled into thinking your decision has been made. There are so many types of conservatory glass out there, its crucial that you know just what you are looking for so you can narrow down your choices. Choosing the cheapest conservatory glass roof could well be a false economy; here’s what you need to know:

Insulating glass

Up to 25 per cent of heat loss occurs straight through the roof, and with little in the way of insulation in your conservatory, keeping the room at a comfortable temperature can become something of a challenge. While double glazing certainly cuts down some of the heat loss (and gain) in a conservatory, there are now new technologies in insulating glass that could make your conservatory even more energy efficient.

Insulating glass is also referred to as triple glazing, and can be air filled or even filled with an inert gas to stop heat transfer even more. Standard double glazing has a U-value of 1.6, and with triple glazing you can reduce this number to as small as 0.8. To compare, the U-value of walls is around 0.3, so things are definitely moving in the right direction.

Safety glass

Safety glass, also known as tempered glass, has been toughened using heat to create a compressed outer surface and a tensioned inner core. This means that if the glass gets broken, it will crumble into small chunks rather than splintering into dangerous shards. Safety glass does not alter light or heat transmission, and makes absolute sense in a conservatory environment where a rogue football or loose slate could cause a pane to become broken.

Toughened glass such as this is around five times stronger than standard glass of the same thickness, so is ideal for structural applications like your conservatory. This type of glass should be approved under BS EN 12150, so look for the logo when choosing your glass. Safety glass is now used in many applications around the home, as well as in car windscreens and door glass.

Self cleaning glass

Normal glass will accrue leaves, moss, algae and bird droppings over time, which will require professional cleaning on a fairly regular basis to avoid your roof starting to look bad. It is possible to clean your glass roof yourself if you have a pressure washer and a good step ladder, but it’s not the safest of jobs and can be a hassle.

For this reason, glass manufacturers have developed what is known as self cleaning glass. This type of glazing has a hydrophilic coating, which means dirt will be broken down and washed away every time it rains. It also means that naturally occurring UV rays from sunlight can break down organic dirt too, helping to keep your view clear every day.