Timber is the natural choice

Dave Jackson, director at Icotherm, explains why timber is best for energy efficient, solid conservatory roof replacements.

You probably won’t be surprised if I say that solid roofs are one of the fastest growing home improvement products on the market today; it’s the perfect option for homeowners choosing to improve, not move, and transform inefficient conservatories into a room that they can actually use.

Everyone knows about these kinds of conservatories. They have old glazed or polycarbonate roofs with no insulation or ventilation to speak of. They’re bitterly cold in the winter and baking hot in the summer – a prime example of bad energy efficiency and not a good advert for our industry.

There are thousands of these conservatories across the UK, sitting lonely and unloved, cut off from the rest of the house. Homeowners are opting to refurbish them as a cost-effective way to get take back some space and start loving their conservatories again. In order to do that, they’re opting for solid roofs, which all carry the promise of turning conservatories into a space you can use all year round. But how many actually do?

It’s no accident that most of the UK’s housing stock has a timber roof construction. Timber is the natural choice for warmth, strength and longevity. With the right design and manufacturing, it’s the perfect option for conservatory refurbishments too.

It isn’t just timber’s performance benefits that make it an ideal choice for roofs, it’s also a really versatile material. On-site adjustments are inevitable during retrofit projects – the house wall is never quite square, and the frames aren’t always dead-on level. Timber roofs allow for on-site adjustment without compromising the insulation or the installation.

Other roof materials just don’t offer the flexibility, and if the roof doesn’t fit well it can compromise the performance of the whole roof; the insulation won’t fit properly, leading to gaps that cause cold bridges, or condensation, and installers can end up getting call backs from unhappy customers.

With Icotherm’s timber pod system, these little on-site adjustments won’t reduce the performance value of the roof. Timber is easy to manipulate to fit perfectly onto old, not-quite-square, not-quite-level conservatory frames. The insulation can be adjusted to fit the frame adjustment too, so it’s a perfect fit for frame and insulation, with no gaps and no cold bridges.

Properly insulated and ventilated timber roofs have less potential for cold spots and a warmer roof that’s fully ventilated means that condensation can’t develop. The key is to make sure that you’re never left with any gaps or spaces that have the potential to cause cold spots and affect the thermal efficiency of the conservatory you’re refurbishing.

When installers finish a job, they want to be confident that it’s up-to-standard and isn’t going to cause them any headaches. The only way to do that is to know that every roof that’s installed is fitted properly on site.

With a massive skills shortage in the industry, and because solid roofs are a relatively new product for many installation companies, we’ve made it easy. Our timber solid roof is constructed from specially designed timber SIPS-style pods. There are very few components and our installation manual is really simple to understand, so roofs are fitted fast, in the best way.

The thing we’re missing at the moment, as an industry, is appreciating the basic demands from homeowners: they’re not interested in U-values or technical warble; they just want a quick, cost-effective refurbishment on their conny so that they can start making the most of the extra space.

The easier we can make it for installers to make the most of this opportunity is with a roof that can be easily installed and make a real difference to the efficiency of a conservatory. Icotherm Solid Roof is the perfect product for doing just that.