Conservatory roofs – is glass or polycarbonate best?

So, you’re considering a conservatory; great choice! Not only does it add more space to your house, but it also adds value to your property. Choosing the right conservatory is very important and there’s a lot to different options out there.

We’ve put together a little guide that focuses on the choice of roofing you can have on a conservatory. The most popular materials for conservatory roofs are glass and polycarbonate – but which choice is best for you?

Glass Polycarbonate
Energy efficiency (U value) 0.95 (Atlas conservatory roof) 1.5-2.4
Durability + Robust, handles bad weather well
+ Roughly 20 years or more
– Durable but disposed to damage
and leaks over time
– Roughly 10-15 years
Maintenance – Dust shows up easily
+ Reduced condensation
+ Requires frequent cleaning
to avoid mould build up
+ Risk of mould due to condensation
Comfort + Increased heat reflection, leading to
more pleasant internal conditions
+ Good noise insulation
– Hot in the summer, cold in the winter
– Loud during rain storms

Glass vs polycarbonate; which is more energy efficient?

Conservatory roofConservatories with poor thermal insulation require heating appliances such as oil radiators and space heaters. These energy-hungry appliances dramatically raise your energy bills; hence a quality roof is a wise investment.

U values measure how much heat a building structure loses. Products with a high U value have poor thermal insulation, whilst low U values mean that the product is much more energy efficient.

Polycarbonate roofs generally achieve a U value between 1.5-2.4, whereas some glass products, such as Atlas conservatory roofs, have U values as low as 0.95. This means that high-performance glass roofs will maintain a more consistent temperature, whether it’s a cold winters day or a beautiful summer afternoon.

Which is more durable?

uPVC conservatoryPolycarbonate is a durable product by nature, however, they are disposed to damage and leaks in the harsh winter weather over time. Glass roofs are less prone to wear and tear and less likely to scratch over its lifetime.

Due to its robust nature, glass offers better protection than polycarbonate roofs from weather conditions such as heavy rain, high winds or snow.

Which requires more maintenance?

On the outside of the conservatory, polycarbonate roofs have a reputation for having a build-up of moss over time. This mould can be difficult to clean the longer it’s left, but there are many specific polycarbonate cleaning products and home remedies, such as a mixture of elbow grease and soapy water, that should fix the problem.

Glass often shows up dirt and watermarks but take care when cleaning it as most have a protective layer that could be damaged with heavy duty cleaning products.

On the inside, conservatories with polycarbonate roofs are more susceptible to mould than the glass equivalent. The fluctuating temperatures lead to an increase in condensation throughout the conservatory.

Unfortunately, this isn’t avoidable, however, measures can be taken to minimise the risk of mould. Have a look at our guide to help minimise condensation in your conservatory.

Which costs more?

Polycarbonate is the more affordable option of the two, however, poor insulation from the roof may see homeowners relying on external heating choices, such as space heaters, which are notoriously power hungry. Glass is typically more expensive but many choose quality glass to avoid the sweltering heat in summer, and Arctic conditions in winter. There are many glass options available, all with a range of benefits to increase the comfort of your living space.

Which looks better?

This ultimately comes down to personal preference. Polycarbonate is notorious for its poor ability to keep out the noise of rain or a loud storm, meaning glass will make those stormy conditions more bearable. Glass allows for a beautiful view of the night sky and lets in more natural light during the day than a polycarbonate roof.

Atlas conservatory roofs have the power to make your neighbours envious!

Chase Windows offer a wide range of conservatory options, such as Atlas conservatory roofs. With our many years of experience installing conservatories, we’ve built a reputation for providing quality workmanship.

Get an instant online quote, contact the Chase team or visit our showroom to see what we can do for you.


Over 11,000sq ft of space with of 6000 sq ft of purpose built showrooms, one of the largest home improvement showrooms in the North London, Hertfordshire and surrounding counties. With state of the art displays and kids area all under one roof.

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Hoddesdon, Herts
EN11 0BZ

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Enfield, Middlesex

Tel: 0208 366 6500


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