What Is A Skylight?

Published on Wednesday, 5th April 2017

FAKRO flat roof windows installed in a games room

What is a skylight? I mean…a skylight. What is it really?

In the dictionary, a skylight is defined as a window set in a roof or ceiling at the same angle’ and because the term 'skylight' is so broad, it can be used in the pitched roof sense as well as the flat roof sense when it comes to talking about them.

Flat roof skylights

Until about 10/15 years ago, if you had a flat roof on your property it probably meant you had a garage attached where you stored all of the junk you didn’t want in the house but yet couldn’t bear to throw away (oh, and your lawnmower and other tools if like me you don’t have a shed!)

Since the recession hit back in 2008, more and more homeowners are looking to build upwards and outwards instead of moving home due to the downturn in the economy. Building an extension or converting your loft space into an additional room is seen as the popular choice in recent years with people preferring to add value to their property in the current climate, instead of risking a move to another property.

Because of this change in thinking from homeowners, as well as an increase in state-of-the-art technology, the installation of a skylight into your home is now easily affordable and can add even more value to your home.

Types of flat roof skylights

Flat glass rooflights

When considering the installation of a skylight in your flat roof, maximising the amount of natural daylight coming into your home is often the number one priority. This is, ultimately, the reason for wanting to have one installed in the first place.

Flat glass rooflights are made up of a double, triple or quadruple glazed flat glass unit with insulated supporting upstand. With some products, you may need to build your own on-site upstand to support the flat glass unit however this is clearly outlined on the necessary products where required. This is our simplest form of flat roof skylight and with prices starting from £330, it becomes a highly affordable option when you’re at the first step of considering an installation of a flat roof skylight.

ECO+ flat roof lantern with white internal finish at Sterlingbuild

Flat roof lanterns & pyramids

Made for a modern or contemporary home, flat roof lanterns and pyramids will give you a fantastic view of the sky above and add up to 3 times more natural light than vertical uPVC windows.

Whereas the majority of pyramids and lanterns are non-opening, there is the option to add ventilation across some of our brands with a manual opening or electrically operated vent-flap or slide opening flat roof lantern. With the huge array of options available when it comes to flat roof lanterns, you can effectively build your own. At Sterlingbuild, we give you the choice of internal and external finish, the glazing finish you would like whether that’s clear, a blue tint or privacy, and the option to include a blind with your skylight.

Prices start from £899.99 and offer a touch of luxury to any home.

Flat glass domed rooflights

VELUX and FAKRO lead the way when it comes to flat glass domed rooflights. Offering the same advantages as the flat glass rooflights, the addition of a single-skin, polycarbonate roof dome helps stop the noise trying to make its way into your home.

With the additional dome situated over the flat glass rooflight, acting as an extra layer of protective security, rainwater is easily able to slide off the unit and onto your flat roof which stops any form of pooling happening.

Available in electrically or manually operated and fixed operation, the flat glass domed rooflight costs as little as £328.

Sunsquare internal walk-on rooflights at Sterlingbuild

Walk-on rooflights

A walk-on rooflight makes an amazing centrepiece in any home and can be installed externally on your flat roof or as a stunning internal feature.

Allowing you to bring natural daylight to places where it wasn’t possible before, walk-on rooflights don’t compromise in a loss of floor space.

Available in either single, double, triple or quadruple glazed, the choice really is up to you when it comes to which one to go for. Prices for the walk-on rooflights start at £550.

Pitched roof skylights

Pitched roof skylight is the most common term to homeowners when it comes to installing a skylight into your roof. The most popular being VELUX skylights. The company, founded in Copenhagen in 1941, has had the same effect on the roof window market as the Hoover has had for vacuums. Most people see a roof window and immediately call it a VELUX, whether it is or not.

As spoken about earlier, with more homeowners looking to convert empty spaces in their homes into new rooms fewer people are looking to sell. This has led to a huge increase in people converting their lofts or adding extensions onto the side of their homes with lean-to roofs.

Types of pitched roof skylights

Centre-pivot roof windows

The most popular and obvious choice when it comes to putting a skylight in a pitched roof. The centre-pivot window, with its ease of operation was the first kind of opening mechanism on a roof window and comes in manual opening, electrically operated or solar powered.

Most suitable for out-of-reach installations due to half the window coming in when open, the centre-pivot roof window can also be used for eye level installations. Prices start from just £80 for a pitched roof window.

VELUX INTEGRA electric white roof windows at Sterlingbuild

Top hung roof windows

Built for you to enjoy the best views, top-hung roof windows do not enter the room when opening and are ideal for eye-level installations due to the way they open. With none of the sash entering the room, there's no chance of banging your head on a low swinging sash when the window is opened.

Being suitable for eye-level installations, certain sizes of top hung skylights meet means of escape requirements as per your local building official's regulations as well as being ideal for gaining access onto the roof for any maintenance. Prices start from just £190.

Skylights for uninhabited spaces

There are certain rooms in your home that are completely dark and unventilated and clearly require some light and air to get rid of the smell and feeling of nothingness! These can be storage rooms or even shoe cupboards.

Skylights for uninhabited spaces are specifically designed for this scenario. They're not suitable for living areas such as kitchens, living rooms or other rooms where the room temperature regularly fluctuates on a daily basis. These are the simplest of skylights designed to allow light and air into those areas you don't use as consistently as others.

FENSTRO skylights lead the way with their affordability, starting from just £82.50. Designed to open in either top hung or side hung operation, the FENSTRO skylight comes as a complete package and includes the skylight and universal flashing.

There are far too many pitched and flat roof skylights to mention in one blog post, but I hope I've helped make the decision clearer and easier for you on which product to go for.

Please note: All prices correct at time of publication.