What’s the Difference Between a Roof Window and a Skylight?

Roof windows and skylights are often confused with each other, possibly because their names are so similar, or because they seem to describe the same type of feature. But they are different, and this short guide should enable you to make a more informed purchase regarding the new windowed feature for your home.

A skylight is a basic form of non-standard window you can have built into a room. The skylight is constructed into the roof of a room, usually with a type of timber frame, and it can come in various set or custom sizes. Modern skylights are no different to standard windows in a room, though they are built to allow more light to enter a dark room, especially a loft room, or sometimes a hallway. Skylights can also be installed onto flat roofs, and can be domed or vented. These skylights are built with an electric motor to allow them to be opened automatically, depending on various settings or conditions.

 Roof windows, however, are more like a flexible piece of window glazing. They can allow for more options that modern or traditional skylights, and can be placed onto walls and ceilings/roofs to create a fuller open light display as a set of windows, rather than just a large, singular window like a skylight. Roof windows also boast an array of opening styles. One of the most popular kinds of roof window are those that open using a central pivot, meaning that the top half of the roof window swings inwards, while the bottom half swings outwards. This style is perfect for a room where furniture would be placed beneath the window, and they don’t allow much access for children to climb out of, making them safer for the family home.

In the majority of cases, skylights and roof windows do not need planning permission before installation. There are very few exceptions to this rule, but if you are in doubt, it’s always best to check with local authorities before deciding to have a skylight or roof window installed into your home.

Depending on the room you want to install your new window feature in, it should be easy to tell whether you need a skylight or a roof window. Skylights are for dark rooms where air circulation isn’t an issue. Rooms like lofts, bathrooms, hallways, and conservatories. A skylight is perfect for extra lighting in a room that isn’t used often, or for long periods of time. On the other hand, a roof window is better for rooms that need a little extra light, but are also used regularly, like living rooms and kitchens.

Either window solution will definitely improve the lighting situation in any room they’re placed in, but their various features should be taken into account before they are purchased. It’s always best to speak to a specialist and get their opinion before you buy your new window feature, and take into account the needs of the household, as well as the room.

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