Wickes and Timber Conservatories

We see more and more timber conservatories originally supplied by Wickes, Baltic Pine, or local Joinery companies. Often the base and windows are fine, but the roof is showing its age. The roof construction is generally "of its day" with outdated glazing bars , (often timber) and thin polycarbonate. We have now restored dozens of these conservatories using modern roof materials and components, making them fit for another 20 years service. Wickes, Baltic Pine and Timber Joiner made Conservatories Most of the timber conservatories we survey have a basically sound roof structure. They are let down by the dated or worn out  roofing materials. We have developed a system which restores the roof not only to its former glory, but updates the materials to modern standards and insulation. Typically the polycarbonate is upgraded to 25mm multiwall, in a range of finishes. The finished product is, apart from routine cleaning, largely maintenance free.  On the basis that most of the roofs we renew are 15-20 years old, then with the much improved modern materials, we project a lifespan of 20 years plus. Special colours Roof components come in brown or white as standard. We can paint these to a colour of your choice for a small premium. Painted components would require re-coating after 5-6 years, but since the original powder coating remains beneath, this is a cosmetic procedure and does not affect the durability of the roof. Procedure After removing all the old roofing materials, we install the best materials available. The heart of the system is the screw down, powder coated aluminium glazing bar. The rafters are first fitted with the multi ribbed gasket shown in the photograph. This extends right into the conservatory gutter allowing any condensation to drain without entering the conservatory. After fitting new polycarbonate or glass panels, the external cappings are fitted. Again these are fitted with multi ribbed seals for water tightness. The securing screws are fitted in the central channel, this then has a second capping inserted to shield the screws from the elements. This is vital for durability. Where there are hip rafters a special version of the bar is installed. This has two “wings”  which overlap the main bars, thus eliminating the need for untidy flashing at these joints. All bars have a upvc or cast aluminium bar end cap to prevent panel slippage and provide a neat finish. The ends of the polycarbonate panels are sealed with a new pvc drip strip to match, together with new breather tapes. The next step is to install the ridge assemble. Again this is made of powder coated aluminium and because it is seamless, is totally waterproof. We do however, for total security , install a butyl rubber flashing beneath the ridge for protection from wind blown rain. Very important in the UK. On Victorian conservatories a “spider cover” is then fitted. This is the semi-circular cap you will see on all modern upvc conservatories and fits at the point where all the triangles meet. This is then dressed with a finial (spike) and a cresting (fancy cornice). Neither of the latter are structurally necessary, and are optional. However We find that omitting the finial makes the roof seem somehow unfinished, and have been told that a cresting deters roosting birds. The choice is yours. Finally we install new draught seals at the eaves .Wall or valley flashing is often in good condition and we are quite happy to re-use it in these cases, in all cases though we fit additional butyl rubber flashing beneath any lead to prevent wind blown water entering the conservatory. Polycarbonate comes in many tints and colours, including the very latest Macrolux IR Gold, which reflects 99% of the suns rays, whilst remaining transulscent. We have installed solar inserts in new polycarbonate for many years to reduce heat and glare. Macrolux uses the same technology of micro metal particles, but these are now added at the manufacturing stage for durability. Materials and products we will not useSome cost savings can be made by using other materials, the system we use has been tested over the last 15 years and proved to be the best on the market. If you ask us to fit any of the following we will politely decline! Bitumen based flashing: Never, ever , ever. It attacks polycarbonate and only sticks to itself and your hands. We only use Butyl rubber, aluminium or lead. Innovative materials The new lightweight aluminium composite flashings are brilliant, and no-one steals them from your roof. Like all new products they will take a while to catch on in the UK, but they are actually far superior to traditional lead, tradition and nostalgia are powerful things! Below are some examples of recent work we have carried out. Double click any picture to enlarge it. We have now restored hundreds of timber conservatories, extending their life for many years to come and cutting out the maintenance issues normally associated with timber conservatory roofs.  

A section through the glazing bar we use. Note the concealed screws