What a difference a day makes

Dave Jackson, the brains behind Icotherm Solid Roof, talks about the opportunities for replacement conservatory roofs and how installers can offer a quick fit solid roof refurbishment to existing conservatories.

Imagine replacing a polycarbonate or glass conservatory roof with a solid thermally efficient, tiled roof and getting it watertight in just one day. Reducing time on site for installers has always been our goal, and that’s what we’ve done by creating the Icotherm Solid Roof. It’s a modular roof system created from made-to-measure factory built pods.

It’s the pods that are the key to quick installation. The best way to describe them is like structural insulated panels (SIPs) used in modular home building. Like SIPs, our pods offer a high-performance method of replacing or building conservatory roofs. They are lightweight, simple to put together and, best of all, can be easily adapted onsite if needed.

Unlike SIPs the Icotherm pod system is very versatile and we can manufacture all designs. In fact they’re so versatile that that we never say no to a roof design.

We have customers who spend most of their time replacing conservatory roofs. It’s a great way for homeowners to get the open plan look they want – and it’s so much cheaper for them than knocking down their old conservatory and building a new extension.

There are hundreds and thousands of conservatories that aren’t being used. Much of the UK has fallen out of love with rooms that are either too hot or too cold for most of the year. They want a big open plan living space that’s part of the house. This means that temperature control becomes even more important – whether it’s keeping the heat in or out – and we could see that better insulation would give this level of comfort to homeowners.

In our Bolton factory, we use 150mm of very high spec insulation and we get phenomenal results. It’s easier for us because we use timber rather than aluminium for our roof structure. I believe that aluminium is possibly the worst material you could use in a solid roof for insulation purposes. It’s so cold you have to add more insulation just to counteract the effects of using it.  

We manufacture every roof to the perfect size in our factory. Once they’re made, Icotherm roofs are delivered direct to site. The pods are all numbered so that it’s simple to find the right pieces. No special tools are needed either – just what you’d expect window installers to have in their tool box.

We know that installers want to get the house watertight as quickly as possible, so the quick fixing time is great for this.

What we didn’t want was to drop off a Meccano set to installers – with hundreds of complicated pieces to build onsite. That’s why we deliver as few pieces as possible. We also decided from the start that it needed to be easy to adapt onsite too. Sometimes the measurements are too tight, or a wall is out of true – installers come across these issues all the time and no one wants to be held up when a home is open to the elements.  

We pre-make so much in the factory, we can deliver just a small number of parts, and it means an Icotherm Solid Roof will be watertight in less than a day.

Incorporating an old conservatory into the floorplan of a house means getting sign off from Building Control, so we got that sorted straight away. Customers can fast track Building Regulations through our partnership with JHAI. They are approved inspectors for Building Regulations approvals. The Icotherm Solid Roof system is approved by them and it’s a simple and inexpensive system to use.

We’re constantly developing new additions to the roof. We already have integral lighting – pre-fitted that just needs connecting to the mains. As more installers look at the massive opportunities for replacing conservatory roofs, we believe that they’ll want a highly insulated roof that’s easy to sell and even easier to install. After all, time is money.