Is it time for a change?

In certain parts of the market, companies have been fitting the same old glazed roofing systems for decades, but like everything in life things change, explains Chris Cooke, director of Prefix Systems. It’s also why the S2 Sheerline product will be a revelation he adds.

The market for the cost-effective small conservatory has long gone and the market sector as a whole, has evolved. Consumer tastes have changed and their respective lifestyle demands have done so too, so why hasn’t the market evolved over the last decade for glazed roofs?

With a plethora of brands back in the halcyon days of the conservatory market you’d think that product innovation would be high on the agenda – it certainly was from the likes of K2, Global and Eurocell who all came to market as true disruptors in the early years. But there’s been a distinct lack of thirst for new thinking in recent years where the focus has been on the emerging solid roof market, as with our award-winning Warmroof as a standout development.

Back in this period of overwhelming customer demand for conservatories, the designs were influenced by decorative cresting and finials in a nod to yesteryear, complete with decorative cappings inside and out. But the market has changed – it’s all about modern living with clean lines and even the humble ogee skirting boards are now replaced with flat sections, and ones that are far easier to clean!

While casement horns and sculptured profiles were the norm in the 90’s and early 00’s we’ve seen a demise in their sales over the last decade. So, while they matched the glazing bars and internal trims at the height of the conservatory market for a seamless and integrated design perspective, they now look like a legacy from yesteryear when you consider how modern design has impacted on the extended living space market.

We’re experiencing more glass than brick in these structures with large openings the norm for bi-folding and sliding doors and we’ve also seen the near disappearance of the top openers over fixed that were standard back in the day.

The emergence of aluminium over this period can’t be ignored either as the success of our Opal brand has also shown.

The same design philosophies that make Sheeline such a compelling aluminium partner have been echoed in the S2 glazed roofing system. It provides bold, square cappings to the outside and there’s an option of an aluminium exterior including a thermally broken ridge cap.

It provides for a radical transformation in appearance for a glazed roof, with similarly adorned and understated flat cappings to the inside, without a decorative edge in sight. Typically, there are fewer components, the benefit of a robust box section eaves beam and even an integrated eaves bolster.

Everything has been designed from the ground upwards with modern design philosophies to the fore. The window and door market has evolved through innovation and clever design thinking over the years and finally the glass roofing sector is enjoying the same attention.

Dedicated roof glass is now the norm too, offering solar control and easy clean coatings and S2 has been designed to accommodate greater structural and wind loadings that are required, an important design principle that’s different to the older legacy conservatory roof systems. While it is too early to say that it will replace the tired conservatory sector, what we do believe is that S2 marks the emergence of a new, modern glazed extension market.

Is it time for a change? Our customers certainly think so as they’re changing over to S2 in their droves and for good reason. It’s a new product generation that’s been expertly engineered by Garnalex under the Sheerline name, and now manufactured by Prefix Systems with our unrivalled know-how and attention to customer care.

It’s out with the old and in with the new S2!