Is Glass or Polycarbonate a Better Roofing Choice?

When deciding on which roofing material is the best choice for a conservatory or other similar special structure, two different materials are usually found with glass and polycarbonate. Each type has both pros and cons; therefore, it is imperative to learn some important information so that the perfect roofing material for a special building project is selected.

Following is a breakdown of these two diverse roofing material choices.


  • Pros – Usually polycarbonate-glazed material with a thickness of 25mm has a good level of insulation compared to glass and a lower price as well even though it does not look inexpensive. It can be purchased in a wide range of tints, including bronze, clear and opal. In addition, solar control foil can be chosen to reduce heat inside a room and eliminate unwanted glare from the sun.
  • Cons – One downside of polycarbonate is sound amplification. What this means is that during a rainfall, each raindrop that hits the surface will be amplified and create a very loud noise inside the building. If the building is situated in an area that receives a lot of rainfall, this could be a big deciding factor.
  • Tints – Using a clear version of this material will not stop much of the glare from the sun and is therefore not a good choice, especially if a building is facing south. Bronze is the most attractive option for a southern-facing structure as it will block more sun rays. An opal tint probably offers the most in the way of glare protection. Newer products are also available such as ‘ultra shade’ with a bronze/opal combination, which is particularly good to block glare and lower room temperature.
  • Other – Some conservatories using a polycarbonate material look very good; however, when this material is not properly installed or does not have a proper finish, it can look very poor. It can also produce a lot of noise when it rains, particularly if a 16mm thickness is used.


  • Pros – Glass has more clarity and it is fully transparent compared to polycarbonate. It also provides a fantastic panoramic view as well as creating a feeling of being outdoors. Using this material will give a modern look, which is one of the most popular architectural styles today. In addition, glass dampens sound by absorbing it, thus making a room more quiet and peaceful. In fact, it would even be very enjoyable to relax indoors and watch the rainfall outdoors without getting wet.
  • Cons – Glass is more expensive than polycarbonate. It also needs regular cleaning as dirt is noticed very easily on this material.
  • Tints – Tinted glass can be produced by adding a small amount of metal oxide to the float which will create a color effect of bronze, green, gray or blue. Though these different tints do not totally affect its basic properties, it will affect the transmission of solar energy through it which will keep a room at a more comfortable temperature.
  • Other – Glass needs a stronger structural support system. Another consideration is that no matter which type of material is used for the top covering of a conservatory, the lighting will still be inadequate. Even if glass is used, it would be a good idea to have an additional light source installed in the room.


Once the pros and cons of both materials are know, it must be carefully considered which type to select so that the end result will be the conservatory or other special structure envisioned. Contacting a local well-known contractor for such a project may be the best decision to help decide whether polycarbonate or glass is the best choice!

Schulte is the Best Roof Houston Contractor for Your Roofing Needs!

Are you looking for a roof Houston professional who is knowledgeable about glass and polycarbonate for special roofs? Contact Schulte Roofing at 800-367-7663 for help with this and other choices in the greater Houston area!