Conservatory self-cleaning glass
Does self-cleaning glass work?
Spring is just around the corner but before it arrives, things can have a habit of looking just a little grubby. This is true of glass. Autumn leaves, winter rain, dust and dirt can leave windows streaky.
Conservatory roofs can be particularly susceptible to the build-up of dirt and grime. Windows have vertical face and so shed water – and dirt – quickly. Conservatory roofs have less of a gradient, which means dirt can get left behind and is more inclined to build-up.
This build up can form the basis for the growth of lichen, mould, algae and moss, particularly where glass is north facing or over-hung by trees.
This means that it’s a time to bring in the professional window cleaners or grab a sponge, bucket and sturdy ladder yourself – a maintenance cycle that most of us could probably do without.
Self-cleaning glass, while in our experience not eradicating cleaning altogether, reduces the need to do so, also keeping your view uninterrupted for longer.
How does self-cleaning glass work?
Self-cleaning glass features a special coating that reacts with UV rays in sunlight. This photocatalytic process, loosens and breaks down organic dirt particles on the surface of the glass.
The surface of the coating is also hydrophilic, which means that it behaves a little bit like soap, so that rather than attracting water to form droplets, it forms a thin layer that then sheets away quickly and dries without leaving unsightly drying spots.
Even then we would recommend an occasional wash down with soapy water [see are top tips for cleaning conservatory roofs below]
Part of wider innovation in conservatory glass
Self cleaning glass, is one of a number of innovations in glass technology. These make today’s conservatories, sun rooms, glazed extensions and orangeries far more flexible year-round living spaces, keeping them warm in winter and cool in the summer.
This includes energy efficient low-e glass which provides a high level of insulation reducing the amount of heat that is transferred through the glass and your home to the world outside. This helps to keep your conservatory, orangery or glazed extension, warm even on the coldest of days.
Conversely, solar control glass helps to regulate the amount of solar energy coming into your conservatory, which unchecked can lead to an uncomfortable build-up of heat. A wide range of tint options also provide a control on light transmission.
Can you retrofit conservatory glass?
Good window, door and conservatory installation companies will walk you through glass options, making sure that your new conservatory or glazed home extension delivers flexible year-round space.
Many of these active glass solutions can also, dependent on the installation type, be fitted retrospectively.
This can include the replacement of polycarbonate roofing with glass or even solid-roof options.
Self-Cleaning glass – the verdict
The reality is that even low maintenance products require a little TLC from time to time. Self-cleaning glass goes a long way to reducing the maintenance cycle on your conservatory roof but won’t eradicate it all together. This said it massively reduces the build-up of dirt and grime, while low-e and solar glass make conservatories genuinely flexible year-round living spaces.
How to clean your conservatory
As we have said, even self-cleaning glass in our experience can require a little helping hand every so once in a while. And the same principles apply as standard conservatory roof cleaning – you’ll just have to do it far less often!
• First give it a once over with a soft broom or brush to remove and dislodge debris including leaves and other dirt
• There are a number of specialist products on the market to clean your conservatory roof and reduce the build-up of algae. As a basic option dilute soapy water can be used – the key is to avoid the use of harsh chemicals
• Whatever you do don’t scrub it as this can damage the photocatalytic surface coating
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