Conservatory Roof Design, Polycarbonate, PVCu Conservatories

Conservatory Roof Design, Polycarbonate, PVCu Conservatories

This question is answered by the Conservatories Online editorial team — Both Monarch and Quantal are excellent well respected brands in the conservatory roofing business. We ourselves would not have any problem using a Monarch/Quantal combination. Its worth remembering that most PVCu conservatory suppliers will source their PVCu framing and roof framing from different suppliers — so using two different sources for the majority of the conservatory components is not unusual.


Question submitted by Gary — North Wales

We have just had a conservatory built on our bungalow with a box gutter fitted by a local company. After some rainfall and leaking, inside and outside of the box gutter joint we inspected the work undertaken. Our findings were that there was no runaway for the water around the conservatory (the new guttering was perfectly level all the way around) and was three quarters full of water. Should there be a runaway for the water? The conservatory size is 4m x 3m.

Secondly, inside the box gutter is our original gutter which continued across the back of the bungalow. I thought the box gutter was a replacement and performed the job of the original gutter is this correct?

I hope you can help us with these queries so we can go talk to the builder with some understanding of how it should work.

This question is answered by the Conservatories Online editorial team — Modern conservatories are installed (or should be) LEVEL. Due to the way both "normal" gutters and boxgutters are attached to the ring beam that is at head of conservatory framework these gutters will also be LEVEL — ie with none or minimal fall. This means that on occasion you can get "standing water" in the gutter and this is considered normal. That said we would not have thought this level of water would reach a three quarters level.

Occasionally some designs will allow for the existing gutter to be still in place (effectively sitting inside boxgutter) but this is not that common in our experience. On most occasions the boxgutter replaces the existing gutter as you suggested. Without knowing what roof system your builders used or having site of the installation its impossible to comment on its effectiveness but from what you say we would consider they at the very least owe you an explanation of how the boxgutter system" will work in the long term.

Question submitted by Marc

This question is answered by the Conservatories Online editorial team — Roof glazing is a matter of personal choice. For sure many people prefer glass roofs and we would always recommend this if budget allows. Most people also consider that glass roofs have a higher quality feel — not "cheap" looking in the way that polycarbonate is sometimes described. Be aware however that with a glass roof you will almost certainly require blinds. (To be fair you may also require blinds with polycarbonate).


Question submitted by Richard

I have been deliberating on whether to go for the Everlite or Ultraframe roof system on my lean-to conservatory. I had decided on the Ultraframe with 25mm polycarbonate, but am now worried about the pitch, as some people have said that a 25 degree pitch is necessary, but I only have room for a 15 to 20 degree pitch. Can you advise what a suitable pitch would be with the Ultraframe system?

The Ultraframe roofing system utilises 25mm polycarbonate, and can accommodate pitches of between 5-30є as standard, but can go to 45є when required. If the pitch required by the customer is between 15-20є, they can comfortably accommodate this.

Ultraframe can offer two wallplates which will accommodate pitches of between 5-30є, with ventilation.

Question submitted by Vck

We are in the process of getting quotes and so far we have been impressed by Anglian Conservatories. The advice seemed sound and I could verify a lot of what he told us on your web site. However you do not mention their products. They claim to be the only company with BBA agreement for everything (White Knight windows, roof and doors). You refer a lot to Ultraframe and Quantal who have BBA agreement. Would the quality of Anglian’s products be therefore of similar quality? He also mentioned an electronic ventilation system called Ridgeflow. Another supplier told us it was rubbish. Have you heard of this and does it work?

This question is answered by the Conservatories Online editorial team — Anglain are one of the UK’s largest suppliers of conservatories and offer an excellent range of products. As we understand it Anglian use the Ultraframe roof system.

The Ridgeflow product is an Ultraframe option and its been growing in popularity as people become increasingly concerned with ventilation. Our guess is that the supplier who said that the Ridgeflow product was rubbish did not use the Ultraframe product or if they did use Ultraframe products — they did not want to supply this part. We have found that some conservatory companies are reluctant to offer their customers these added benefits — perhaps thinking that the increased cost will result in a lost sale or more likely consider that adding these "extras" only complicates the sale and offers them very little extra revenue. For instance the ridgeflow will require an electrical supply — as hard as it maybe to believe that may the true reason they are reluctant to promote it. (ie they do want to get involved with electrics)


Question submitted by Roger

I have been procuring quotes for a Victorian conservatory 4.0m by 4.6m. I have filtered out the rubbish and am now down to the 2 final contenders. They are very similar in price but the main difference is that one has an Ultraframe roof and one has a Quantal roof. In your opinion which is the best system and why? The conservatory is south facing.

This question is answered by the Conservatories Online editorial team — The Ultraframe and Quantal roof systems are in our opinion two of the very best conservatory roofing systems available and while the two companies themselves may not agree with us we really feel there is very little to choose between them. As we often say its how its fitted that matters most of all — and that is off course down to the skills of your potential suppliers.

Both roof systems have been awarded the British Board of Agreement (BBA) certification for their roof systems. (Ultraframe makes a big point of the fact that they where first to get it!) The BBA is a prestige standard for construction throughout the UK, and a prerequisite of new build specification. BBA certification is awarded following a successful independent inspection program that includes analysis of structural performance and weather tightness of the roofing system, as well as the manufacturing process and customer experience.

The external finish to the roof is one of the main differences between the two systems. The Quantal System is finished externally in aluminium and they would argue that this means that the external appearance of the roof remains cleaner and is easier to maintain in the long term. We think this is a fair point but would point out that because of this and the way the rafters are glazed that installation would take a little longer to complete when compared to the Ultraframe system which is finished externally in PVCu capping. Attaching the PVCu capping to the rafters is a simple process and because of this the Ultraframe system is particularly popular with installers and DIYers. Keeping PVCu roof rafter cappings looking pristine requires regular cleaning — especially in the autumn when the leaves drop. This is a point that many conservatory owners only ever discover after they have bought a conservatory. PVCu may be "maintenance free" but that don’t mean it wont need cleaning!

We understand that the Quantal system is a little more expensive than the Ultraframe system (The external finish of aluminium creates a higher component cost) — so arguably if both companies are similarly priced the Quantal System represents the "best value".

We appreciate that we have not come down firmly on favour of one system but hopefully the above will help in any case. You can’t go far wrong with either system provided the Installation Company is reliable and trustworthy.


Question submitted by Rob

We have a south facing garden and are confused as to what roof is best. One company says we must have polycarbonate as glass will cause a sauna and damage furniture. The other says we must have glass as otherwise the conservatory will be so cold that it will be unusable. I understand that Pilkington k glass will keep heat in but will a glass roof get too hot in the summer? Please help a very confused couple.

This question is answered by the Conservatories Online editorial team — If your conservatory is to face south then we feel that it’s quite likely you will require blinds or shading of some sort with both a polycarbonate roof and a glass roof. By mentioning the cold we assume the supplier using the glass roof is specifying Pilkington K Glass? This is off course very good — but be aware that if a 25-mm polycarbonate is specified then the insulation in a polycarbonate roof would be similar. As a generalisation polycarbonate will give more protection from sun and glare but this does not mean especially with a south facing conservatory that you will not need blinds


Question submitted by Dave

This question answered by the Almost Impartial Guide editorial team — Without knowing more detail on the exact circumstances and site conditions its impossible for us to say for sure that the box gutter in incorrectly positioned. Certainly in our experience the bottom of most box gutters would "finish" either flush with the bottom of the fascia or perhaps slightly above. If however you had a fascia of less depth than that of the box gutters then its possible the box gutter would be below the level of the fascia. It is possible your installers made an error when measuring the overall height up o fascia or they are using a standard model with predetermined heights. Its also possible they measured the correct height but then the base level (usually DPC level) finished at a lower point than was originally envisaged. Hopefully these points will explain just why it’s not possible for us to be more "precise" in our reply.

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