Bucking the solid trend
Ian Sims, managing director of Double R Glass and Roofs examines the solid roof sector.
With the weather extremes we have witnessed so far this year, it’s clear to see why solid roofs continue to be so popular. “Britain to freeze until May” were the headlines we were reading in early March, while in June we heard “June heatwave set to break 40-year record”.
Depending on the configuration of existing conservatories, some struggle to keep up with the quick changing weather extremes we experience in this country. The age-old problem of being too cold to use in winter (whenever that winter weather may arrive) and too hot in the summer, hits home when the weather is extreme and consumers have conservatories they genuinely can’t use. Glass roofs are a far cry from the polycarbonate option that was the favourite conservatory roof for some years, but solid roofs have perhaps had the biggest impact.
Double R was the first company to offer the Guardian Warm Roof solid roof solution, which is still the UK’s most popular tiled replacement roof today. We have seen first hand how the sector has developed since we brought this product to market in 2011, and how it has continued to grow.
Interestingly the majority of solid roofs we sell seem to remain in the replacement sector, ie, they’re installed on top of existing conservatories. This was, and still is, the obvious target audience for the product: to allow homeowners with existing conservatories to get more use out of them. It’s an easy sell.
However, despite its increasing popularity, the solid roof doesn’t seem to be seeing the same success where new conservatories are concerned – we estimate just 20% of our solid roofs end up on top of a new structure. It also remains unchartered territory for a large number of installers; perhaps because they’re not sold on the ease and speed of installation, or perhaps because they were put off by the uncertainty surrounding the relevant legislation where solid roofs are concerned. Either way, hopefully now that the product has been proven and sales continue to soar, more and more companies will realise the benefits of solid roofs for both replacement and new projects.
Double R is a conservatory roof specialist – whether glass or solid – and we concur with other recent press reports that solid roofs continue to be on the up. They currently account for around a third of our conservatory roof sales. This continued interest and demand means they still provide an excellent opportunity for installers to add value and revisit previous customers with a new and improved offering.
Double R works closely with customers, providing as much or as little support as they need in this field. For those that would like to add a solid roof to their portfolio but feel a bit daunted by the prospect, we can help with practical advice and training. For those that have more experience, we can simply offer a quality product with great service.