Better Glass Specifications for Conservatories


21 Sep Better Glass Specifications for Conservatories

Offering better conservatory glass specifications in both the roof and for the doors and windows has never been so important, explains Jason McCabe, commercial director of Clayton Glass, the company behind SMARTGLASS®. This article appeared in the October issue of Glass Times.

For much of the last two decades the conservatory sector hasn’t been overly concerned in finding a tailored solution for the glass in both in the horizontal (roofing) and vertical (doors and windows) plane. Yet conservatories are installed in many different locations in terms of exposure (land, coastal and elevation) and in the direction in which they face.

While a handful of conservatory fabricators can assess wind and snow loadings by postcode for the most exacting of manufacturing details, when it comes to much of the glass specification this is often overlooked. Often the salesman is tooled and able to sell a high performance, specialist self-cleaning glass in the roof, but with our new focus on whole room package we are able to do so much more.

With simplicity at the forefront, our own three-tier range of SMARTGLASS® products offers both trade installers and consumers the opportunity to really focus in on the glass, and to increase the specification in performance terms. For those South facing conservatories we’d always specify our Ultimate product, while on more sheltered locations facing a Northerly direction then our standard product would suffice and it’s for these reasons we developed a printed SMARTGLASS® selector for roof and walls. In our new online presence however, we’ve developed this concept further with a clever interactive glass selector widget, on our newly launched responsive website at

The online glass selector takes account the geographical location of the site, and direction in which a conservatory may face, moving through the more aesthetic factors like the tint required and local environmental factors or personal preferences. It then returns the result providing you with a preferred specification, both for your roof glass and one for your doors and windows as well.

This glass selector is the first of it’s kind for conservatories and we’re hopeful that both consumers will use it, so they can specify their exact conservatory glass specifications including those for the doors and windows, whilst the trade can harness it as a valuable selling tool. We’re now in a position where all glazed elements in a conservatory can be tailored to the needs of the consumer and in light of the other variables that affect the amount of sunlight or solar gain any conservatory will receive.

Both this online tool and the printed selector highlight the latest development in the form of our SMARTGLASS®-W product, which now offers consumers the opportunity to enhance the performance of their conservatory further through technically-led glazing in their doors and windows.

This latest range of dedicated glass for conservatory doors and windows is a product breakthrough for this industry and opens up further upselling opportunities for salesmen. The three-tier product strategy remains and consumers can look to products that add security in the form of a laminated glass pane, offer 98% UV protection, use warm edge technology as standard and even feature true self-cleaning properties.

With average conservatory sizes on the increase they will be subject to additional sun and therefore the issues of solar heat gain during the summer, heat loss in winter and harmful UV rays. There is also an increasing trend towards larger openings in conservatories as homeowners look to open up their homes to the world outside with large span patio doors and the latest bi-folding doors. A large expanse of glass down one side of a conservatory will necessitate a glass specification that works to reduce solar heat gain, but ironically the default WER ‘A rated’ product that would be used by many installers is designed to let more heat in, literally doing the exact opposite of what is required through no other reason than lack of specific glass knowledge.

This is something we aim to change and we firmly believe that installation companies can now look to offer a conservatory proposition that benefits from technically proven glass technologies in both the vertical and horizontal planes. There’s more margin to be had and the re-assurance that the conservatories that we are now installing will offer the very best environment for homeowners, regardless of location and orientation.