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Rooflight FAQs – Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy

With house prices rising, rooflights make a fantastic home improvement by increasing the amount of natural light into your rooms. However, choosing the right rooflight for your home can be a daunting task. With a multitude of options and copious amounts of technical jargon, deciphering which one to choose is no easy feat!

To untangle this plethora of information we spoke to Gavin Helgeson, who provided some in-depth expertise on what to look for when buying a rooflight. Read on to find out more…

Measuring Up

Like most home improvement jobs, getting the measurements right is a key task. “It’s important to get the right measurements so the fitment is spot on.” Gavin advises, “the measurement required to buy the correct size rooflight is called ‘the external kerb or upstand’ and can be easily provided by your builder.

“Most rooflights sit over a structure called a ‘kerb or upstand’, this is a lip surrounding the opening on the roof created for the rooflight”.

Also, it’s advisable to keep the shape of the rooflight to match the shape of the room its going over. For example, square or rectangle. Also, always allow for at least 0.5 metre of ceiling around the perimeter of the rooflight for artificial lighting, as during those dark evenings the space beneath the rooflight will have no natural light.

Choosing Your Style

There are a lot of different styles of rooflights designed for different sizes and style of room. Gavin tells us: “Decide how the additional light will benefit the room below. Have you got a dark basement which could be ideally suited to a walk-on rooflight or a large lounge area that may be perfect for a large lantern style rooflight to flood the room with natural light. Browse the style you like and make a note of the rooms you wish to add more natural light into”.

We can offer an alternative colour on request, but as standard our fixed ‘flat’ rooflights are powder coated Anthracite Grey (RAL 7016 dark grey matt), our walk on and circular rooflights are powder coated black (RAL 9005 matt), and our lantern, pyramid, hinged opening and sliding rooflights are powder coated Anthracite Grey (RAL 7016 dark grey matt).

Choosing the Right Size

You probably wouldn’t buy a large fireplace or a new sofa without seeing it first, so, if possible, it’s important to go and see some of the products in the showroom, to get a good idea of the quality and size. Gavin adds: “A showroom lets you see the quality of the product and get an idea of the size in real life. Pictures on the internet only go so far. Remember that a rooflight becomes an integral part of the structure of your roof, so it is important you are reassured on the quality of construction and the aftercare you might expect.”

When selecting the size of your rooflight, it is important to remember that along with the amount of natural light that flows into the room, the sun can also be overbearing if the wrong-sized light is used. Gavin adds that there are special coatings that can be applied to the glass to reduce impact from sunlight, but still let enough light to come into the room. Gavin says: “A range of tints and solar reflective options are also available for particularly sunny positions or climates.”

Size and features make the biggest impact to pricing. Prices* range from £272 for a fixed rooflight to over £17,000 for our most advanced bi-parting sliding rooflights.

Insulation and Energy Efficiency

woker processing glass using heatsoaking

Insulation in windows and doors ensures that we don’t get cold when the wintery nights set in and if you’re going to cut a chunk out of your roof, it is also important to take a note of this when buying your rooflight. Gavin says: ‘The measurement used to understand how well glass will perform in terms of insulation is ‘thermal performance’ and measured as a ‘U-Value’. The ‘U-Value’ can only be calculated on the complete construction though and not just the glass. The lower this value is, the better the insulation will be.”

We use state of the art software to create thermal models of all our rooflights to ensure they meet with the latest standards and requirements regarding thermal efficiency. We have the option to incorporate triple glazing to further enhance the thermal efficiency and performance. All these measures ensure that our customers can have comfort that their rooflights meet or surpass the requirements set out by British Standards and Building Regulations.

Specifications and Building Regulations

rooflight specs

Duplus standard specification is toughened Low E Safety Glass. All our rooflights are supplied with two panes of heat soak tested glass as standard. This increased specification reduces the chances of spontaneous breakage due to Nickel Sulphide inclusions. Nickel Sulphide inclusion is a naturally occurring phenomenon in glass. Unfortunately, there is no way to totally remove the risk of Nickel Sulphide inclusion. However, to reduce the risk further the glass can be put through a finishing process called Heat Soaking.

When you make an improvement to a property, you usually have to adhere to building regulations and sometimes planning permission, depending on what you will be doing. Gavin advises: “Rooflights on the whole do not require planning permission. Certain building regulations must be met, so it is important to ensure that the rooflight you choose adheres to these regulations”.

Installation and Maintenance

Large lantern rooflight for flat roof applications. Seamless glass to glass hips and ridge joints to give a truly contemporary feel.

As we deliver our rooflights fully assembled, installation shouldn’t take much longer than a few hours. The rooflight is structural bonded and therefore can be lifted by the perimeter frame or the glass (using suitable glass sucker or craneage).

One of the benefits of our rooflights is it being the last item to be fitted on the roof. Therefore, there should be very minimal disruption to the homeowner during installation.

Our rooflights require very minimal maintenance. Simply cleaning with warm soapy water once or twice a year should suffice. Due to the robust design and high-quality construction of our products, we expect a life expectancy of 30 years plus.

When you finally have your rooflight installed, you can really enjoy this fantastic new feature, open up rooms, and bring a whole new perspective to your home. The simple installation and design features of the Duplus rooflight allows it to be replaced (although rarely needed) very easily and most importantly without the expense of a specialist. Our specialists can offer guidance with this.

*The cost estimates given are illustrative only and can vary depending on quality, location, and specifications