How to Choose the Right Skylight

When renovating your home, you may be looking for new ways to stream natural light and fresh air into the living areas.

You can start small by removing the curtains, using mirrors and trimming back the outdoor hedges, but to take your home to the next level, why not make good use of your roof?

By opening up your roof to sunlight, a skylight is a perfect invitation for more Vitamin D and breezy ventilation. As daylight is absolutely free, they’re energy efficient too, which will help to cut your electricity bills.

However, this is where the process gets more detailed. When it comes to letting light in through your roof, you have a few different “skylight” options to choose from — a roof window, a roof light and a roof lantern. The main goal of each is to bring more natural light into the property, but what’s the difference and which should you choose? Let’s take a look:

What Is a Roof Window?

If you have a pitched roof (one that slopes downwards), a roof window is a versatile solution, as the window can be installed onto a wide range of slopes, from 15 to 90-degree angles. A roof window is ideal for loft conversions, lean-to extensions or any other room with a slanted ceiling. They’re also the easiest to open and close, as they work just like a regular window.


What Is a Roof Light?

If you have a flat roof (which is completely or almost level), a roof light can be fitted into the ceiling, which means the room doesn’t need an exterior wall window. It’s not only loft conversions that can benefit from additional sunlight — dull hallways or middle rooms can certainly be brightened up with the addition of one or two roof lights. As the roof light sits very close to the roof, you won’t be able to see it from the outside — perfect for those concerned about how their property appears externally.

Many flat roof lights are simply glass panels, but some can be manually opened and closed with a pole. Alternatively, you can upgrade to an electronic opening system, which is controlled by a simple wall panel or remote control. Some even feature an automated mechanism that closes your window when it detects rain!


What Is a Roof Lantern?

Another option for those with a flat roof is to install a roof lantern, which is similar to a roof light, except that it includes a raised box or “lantern” that projects out of the roof. This extra height and width will channel the light into the room at different angles (as opposed to straight down like with a roof light), which creates a beautiful effect and floods your room with natural light. If you’re considering a roof lantern, there are heaps of inspirational designs online.

Roof lights take on many forms and shapes, including domes, pyramids or octagons, which can enhance the exterior roof design of your home. And if your chosen roof lantern doesn’t protrude more than 150 mm further than the current roof, you do not need planning permission.


How Do I Install a Skylight?

Installing or replacing a new roof window, light or lantern requires specialist skills and experience, so it’s definitely not a DIY job. When choosing a professional, make sure to discuss in detail the different materials that can be used (for practicality and design), as well as its size, how to open your window and your ventilation options.

How Do I Clean a Skylight?

Here’s one last nugget of information — if you’re wondering how to clean hard-to-reach skylights, you’re not alone. Using a ladder is the best option if it’s safe to do so, but otherwise, a long-handled floor mop with a sponge attached is a perfect alternative solution.

There you have it — the different types of roof skylights and their unique attributes. With this knowledge, you’re now armed to transform the look and feel of your home by flooding it with natural light from above.




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