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What is the difference between a roof window and a skylight?

Roof windows and skylights are an excellent way to add light into areas of the home. Commonly mistaken for one another, however, they actually differ in a few basic ways:

  • Firstly, roof windows open and close whereas skylights are usually stationary. For this reason, roof windows are able to provide fresh air as well as light to properties.
  • Roof windows also tend to be larger than skylights, although as we will cover shortly, the term ‘skylight’ can be used to describe various kinds of glazed structures.
  • Roof windows are covered under British Standards, specifically BS EN 14351-1:2010. This states that roof windows must be fitted in the same orientation and in plane with the surrounding roof, normally at a minimum pitch of 15-degrees.
  • Before they are sold, roof windows are also CE marked against this standard, which gives customers an idea of how they perform under certain test conditions. Skylights are not generally CE marked because they are installed on an upstand or kerb. The upstand or kerb is the part that keeps the skylight off of the roof’s surface.

Now that we’ve looked into the basic differences, it’s important to discuss the term ‘skylight’ being used to describe a number of different roof glazing systems.

For example, you may hear this term used to describe a roof lantern. However, others will distinguish between roof lanterns and skylights by the way they fit onto a structure; some say the main difference between the two is that a roof lantern sits above a roof but a skylight is fitted into the roof’s construction.

The term skylight might also be used to describe much smaller domestic glazed units. Therefore, it’s not always possible to distinguish between roof windows and skylights via the basic differences outlined earlier. ‘Rooflight’ is another term which might be used in the same way as skylight, so they typically mean the same thing.
Roof lantern

Are roof windows or skylights better?

In basic terms, roof windows and skylights will increase the amount of natural light coming into a part of the home. This means both are an excellent way to brighten up interiors and create a sense of space.

If you like the idea of cloud watching or star gazing, however, you might consider a large roof window or a roof lantern. Roof lanterns come in large sizes so they can afford you impressive views of the outside. In terms of style, roof lanterns definitely have the edge over roof windows, however. They feature minimal framing and a contemporary ridged design, providing a stylish focal point to any locations they’re fitted.

Local to Bristol and interested in a stylish roof lantern for your property? Get in touch with Associated Windows today. We install right across the Bristol area and are available to call on 0117 9311777 or can be contacted online.

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