Conservatories are great additions to your home. I’ve got no doubt about this.
I’ve got a conservatory and I love it. But it’s use is limited at certain times of the year.
As you’re likely to already know, when it’s hot outside conservatories are like saunas. When it’s cold outside conservatories are like ice boxes. Not ideal.
Insulating your conservatory to a good standard will mean you can use this great space comfortably all year round.
This blog post will give you ideas on how to insulate your conservatory using several effective methods.
- Pros and cons of insulating a conservatory
- 7 ways to insulate your conservatory
- What is the best way to heat a conservatory?
Pros and cons of insulating a conservatory
Before diving into the methods to insulate your conservatory, you have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages should be quite clear:
- Better temperature regulation to use the space all year round
- Lower energy bills if you heat your conservatory with an external source
- Blocking light from entering during the day
- Can be expensive
- May require building work
That being said, I think the pros of insulating a conservatory will out-weigh the cons further down the line when you have a fantastic, usable space no matter what the weather outside.
7 ways to insulate your conservatory
There are several methods to insulate your conservatory.
Some are on the expensive side, whereas others are very cost effective. Let’s check them out.
1. Polycarbonate roof panels
If you want better insulation against the cold weather, you should consider swapping the current glazing with thick polycarbonate roof panels.
This is a low cost way to insulate your conservatory.
Polycarbonate panels are light weight, durable and should last at least 10 years. The only downside is that they are a type of plastic.
Even better, you can install a double pane carbonate panel by applying an additional thin layer of polycarbonate underneath the thick one. This will greatly improve the insulation efficiency.
Some might even apply solar control films to these panels to keep the sun rays out during the summer.
2. Insulated conservatory roof panels
A step up from polycarbonate roof panels is to install fully insulated roof panels.
The basic idea is the same. The panels just replace the existing glass or sheets already in place. No need to tear the whole roof down.
Conservatory insulated roof panels are generally made from a thick layer of extruded polystyrene sandwiches between two layers of aluminium sheets.
The installation of such panels can see real improvements to insulation levels as measured by the U-value.
3. Aluminum foil and thermal wadding
If you’re looking for an affordable alternative that you can apply on your own with excellent results when it comes to thermal insulation, you should consider aluminum foil and thermal wadding.
This classic combination will reflect sunlight with excellent efficiency whilst helping to keep the heat in the room. Aluminium is also a sustainable material too as it’s 100% recyclable.
The main drawback of this method is that it’s not aesthetically appealing for many. It will also prevent light from passing through as well, which may impact what a conservatory is all about for you.
4. Drapes, blinds & curtains
Adding drapes, blinds or curtains may seem like a simple method. And it is.
But if you install a set of thermal curtains for example, you’ll be adding an insulating later.
Thermal curtains are particularly effective during the colder months when it gets dark early anyway (4pm in the UK!).
If you’re more concerned about outdoor temperatures coming in during the summer months, add some blinds.
Blinds are an easy way to enjoy full control of light access and block out those rays.
This method is also quite affordable when compared to other options and you can install them yourself if you have enough DIY skills!
The only problem here is that drapes and blinds can only do so much, as they don’t create a true thermal barrier.
So it might be best to pair this method along with other options for temperature control.
5. Full insulation with false roof
If you want to fully insulate your conservatory with a reliable method that can last for several years, you should consider full insulation.
This method involves installing a false roof and might not be possible with all conservatory builds.
You’ll need to install wooden battens that can then be boarded out to form a roof. You can then paint the outside of this for your new ceiling.
In between this roof and the glass panels is where you’ll put your insulation. Check out this blog for eco insulation ideas.
6. Solar control films
Solar control films are semi-transparent large stickers that you apply to glass panels in order to make them reflective on the outside and transparent on the inside.
They’re extremely easy to apply and they reflect most of the sun rays, keeping the conservatory interior cool on hot sunny days without compromising the value of a glass panel conservatory.
The only disadvantage is that they’re only suitable for summer, so they won’t keep the conservatory warm in winter. Here’s how to install these films:
- Start by cleaning the glazing and applying soapy water over the glazing
- Carefully adhere the films to the glass
- Push any air bubbles out
- Cut the excess, and repeat for other panels
7. Integrated roofing
Lastly, if your conservatory is outdated or you rarely use it, you might want to consider tearing the roof down and building a completely new one.
This is the most costly of the methods, but the bonus is that you’ll then have a permanent, fully integrated and fully insulated conservatory.
It’s exactly what my parent in laws have done to resounding success.
You still get the benefit of high light levels from the glass walls but the result is a true extension of your home.
What is the best way to heat a conservatory?
There are a few tried and tested methods to heat a conservatory, plus a few newer ones.
The first answer is to connect it up to your central heating and install radiators. This method could get expensive if you’re heating up your conservatory when no one is in there in winter.
You can turn the radiators down or off if you’re not using the space of course, but it can be a little faffy.
Another good option is to install a small log burner. The smaller sizes will be more than powerful enough to heat up your conservatory. It will also provide a lovely aesthetic for relaxing in. Take a look at the best small log burners here.
There are then a couple of electrical options.
Firstly, underfloor heating. This may be a good choice if you don’t mind the initial expense and building work required.
Secondly, an excellent choice could be to install one or two electric radiant heaters. This stylish slim heaters look great and provide direct heat to warm you up quickly.
Before you go…
Almost all conservatories will benefit from adding some form of insulation.
With energy costs as high as they are, it’s important to be as efficient as possible. This is particularly true for heating, which is arguably one of the biggest household utility spends.
In terms of the heating itself, there are a number of options. Your conservatory can be linked up to the central heating or if you’re adding a new permanent roof, you might want to install a small log burner. These are brilliant and very effective!
You might be interested in reading this blog too about eco friendly ways to heat your space.
- Guide To Conservatory Roof Insulation Panels [Benefits + Installation]
- Electric Radiant Heaters: Full Guide To Understanding Radiant Heaters 2023
- 8 Best Types of Eco Friendly Insulation To Keep Heat In & Costs Down 2022
- Do Electric Fires Use A Lot Of Electricity? [All You Need To Know]
- 4 Affordable Ways To Improve Insulation In Your Home Ahead Of Winter
I’m the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about living a more sustainable, environmentally friendly life. Away from the laptop, I love spending time in nature and with my young family (plus Murphy the dog!). I write and send out the Eco Life Newsletter.