What are Roof Window Skylights?
Lighting is essential in living spaces. It can make a room feel spacious and inviting. It is also necessary for visual comfort.
Therefore homeowners are always looking for ways to improve the lighting in their living spaces. And a popular way is by installing or purchasing homes with custom roof windows in Sydney.
These installations are often confused with skylights because they are installed on the roof. However, they differ from them in many ways.
If you plan to install a roof window, it’s important to understand what it is to ensure you make the right choice.
What are roof windows?
Roof windows are framed glazed units you install on a pitched roof to stream light into a room from above and aerate it. They are a type of vertical window you can locate on a sloping roof.
You can use roof windows together with vertical windows to save on energy costs. They are often used to bring light into windowless rooms such as attics.
The way roof windows work differentiates them from skylights and daylights.
While skylights are mostly closed and are only used to bring in extra illumination and a view of the sky, you can open and close roof windows like you do regular ones. Therefore, they are also used as an emergency exit option in case of fires.
The location of roof windows in a room also differs from that of skylights. Skylights are often out of reach because they are located high up on the ceiling, while roof windows are easy to reach when standing or sitting. Therefore, you can sit or stand in front of them while enjoying a view of the outside.
Skylights are usually solar or electrically operated while roof windows are manually operated. They are flexible windows you can partially or fully open by hand. You can also install security locks on them for safety purposes to prevent falls.
Roof windows open outwards, and they are either top hung or central pivot. The fact that you can open them makes them an ideal ventilation solution for buildings. Therefore, you can use them to reduce humidity, increase ventilation and get rid of foul odors in the home.
Usually, roof windows are pre-installed into homes over attics and lofts. They allow homeowners to turn these spaces into bedrooms, studies, or walk-in closets.
Therefore, you can use roof windows to extend your living space. They are also an excellent way to increase the value of your home.
Roof windows are usually CE marked. Therefore, they are manufactured to withstand air pressure, water leaks, and glass deflection.
They are also weatherproofed during installation using flashing, which further strengthens them and prevents water or air leaks. Therefore, they can withstand the elements.
If you use triple glazing on your roof window, you can even use them as a sound barrier to cut down on the noise coming into a room from outside.
Do you want to install a roof window in your home?
If you want to install a roof window over your house, you must get planning permission from the local authorities and follow specific building regulations.
These regulations and specifications guide homeowners on the type of roof window to install in order to fit the area or the style of the building.
Roof windows are less versatile than skylights in that they can only be installed at a specific pitch and plane. Therefore, you cannot curb- mount them like skylights, and it narrows your installation options.
Usually, the pitch of your roof will determine the way you install a roof window. The lower your roof pitch, the higher you should locate it. Its size should also not exceed 20 percent of the size of walls in a room.
Roof windows are installed at a minimum pitch of 15 – 60 degrees on the same plane with a roof. On the other hand, flat skylights are installed at a pitch of between 0 and 60 degrees. They are also fitted higher up than roof windows.
Roof windows are typically installed using recessed or conservative flashing that blends well with a building’s roof. Therefore, they are often installed between the tiles of a pitched roof to ensure they lie flush against it.
The width of roof windows is usually determined by the spacing between roof rafters. If the width of your roof window matches the spacing between your roof rafters, you can install it between rafters for stability.
Roof windows installed between rafters are more durable than those installed on rafters. However, you should install your roof window on the trimmers if its width exceeds the spacing between rafters.
Windows installed on trimmers are larger and are often installed horizontally as opposed to vertically. They also require special manufacturing. Otherwise, standard sizes are available off the shelf for those that fit between rafters.
Factors to consider when installing roof windows
Roof windows are available in standardized shapes, sizes, and specifications for different homes. When deciding where and how to install roof windows, here are a few factors you should consider.
The type of roof window
Roof windows are available in different designs. There are top-hung roof windows, center pivot windows, and high pivot windows.
Top hung windows open outwards from the top, giving you a clear view of the outside. It is a classic design that is easy to clean and user-friendly. They are also easy to install and maintain.
Center pivot windows are ideal for shallow roofs because you can install them at a lower level than a top-hung window. You can stand or sit with ease under a center pivot window without obstructing its rotation.
High pivot windows are similar to center pivot windows. They differ slightly based on the axis of rotation. It is located higher than the centerline on high pivot windows and at the center on center pivot windows.
High pivot windows are best for attics with a low ceiling to allow you to place furniture close to them without obstructing their rotation.
While some roof windows are frameless, you can also install a framed roof window. Wood, steel, aluminum, or PVC framing is available for framed roof windows.
Your choice of framing must be determined by durability. PVC frames are energy efficient, and their insulating capabilities prevent condensation.
Wood frames may look aesthetically pleasing, but they are prone to water damage. Therefore, it’s better to pick metal frames such as aluminum, steel, or plastic for a long-lasting roof window.
You can also buy a frameless roof window. They have clean lines, and they only offer the view of glass from below.
Most homeowners choose roof windows with PVC framing because it lasts long.
However, if you like wood, you may install a roof window with timber-aluminum framing, which will last longer than pure wood. You may also combine timber with PVC for a durable frame using wood such as pine.
There are also different glazing options to choose from when installing a roof window, such as double glazing, triple glazing, and tinted glazing, among others.
Double glazed windows with a low-emission coating are more energy efficient. They will help you to cut down electricity costs by reducing heat loss.
Your roof window should also offer thermal efficiency; therefore, opt for glazing made of solar glass for this purpose. It will prevent condensation issues too.
The solar glass will reflect heat away from your room, keeping it cooler during hot days. If privacy is essential, opt for tinted glass, which will also reduce sun glare.
Impact-resistant glass such as laminated glass is essential to prevent the glazing from breaking into fragments if it is hit by something, especially for roof windows located in sensitive areas such as kid’s rooms.
If you require colored glazing for aesthetic purposes, choose a color that will give you a pleasant view of the sky and the best illumination.
Blue glazing will give you a bright view of the sky, even on cloudy days. However, if you live in an area with too much sun, installing a roof window with a dark tint such as grey will lower the intensity of the sun’s rays.
The way you maintain your roof window will determine how long it lasts. It’s best to pick a roof window that you can easily maintain.
Since glazing gives you better illumination when clean, installing a roof window made of self-cleaning glass is a good idea.
You should also include easy ways of ventilating your roof window, such as making it partially openable to ensure you do not suffer water damage due to condensation.
You can install several accessories for your roof window. A locking system is essential for those located in kids’ rooms to keep them from opening it easily. Since roof windows are located on roofs, such a safety feature can also prevent accidental falls.
Blinds are another option for those who need to keep sun rays out of a room when it gets too sunny. They help regulate the temperature in a room, ensuring the hot sun rays do not overheat a room.
You should install a roof window depending on how much light or heat you can get from it.
Roof windows facing north offer consistent light and less heat throughout the day. Such a placement is ideal for any home.
A south-facing window will allow a lot of heat and light into a room throughout the day. Such a placement is best for homes in cold areas.
Ensuring your roof window gives you quick access to the roof is also essential for maintenance. It may also act as an emergency exit. However, ensure you install a child lock to prevent children from accidentally going onto the roof.
Also, avoid areas with obstacles such as trees when installing your roof window to ensure the maximum amount of natural light streams through them.
How to maintain a roof window
Once you install a roof window in your home, follow these tips to keep it in excellent condition.
- Avoid closing your roof window for extended periods of time. Open it at least once a day to prevent condensation issues.
- Clean it regularly using a mild detergent, warm water, and a non-abrasive cloth to prevent a build-up of grime and dirt.
- Lubricate the hinges of your roof window often to ensure the closing mechanism remains in good working order
- Lacquer or varnish the frames when necessary to keep the finish in excellent shape
- Clean the air filter of your roof window once in a while with warm water and mild detergent to get rid of dirt or dust
What does it cost to buy and install a roof window?
Roof windows are more expensive to install than skylights, but they offer better thermal performance. They are also more suitable for attic spaces than skylights because they are easier to maintain and use.
The installation cost of roof windows differs depending on the type, size, framing, and glazing material.
The brand also matters. Some roof window brands are more expensive than others. Therefore, they will be costlier to install.
However, the average installation cost for a roof window is between $ 900 and $2,130 for each window. Replacement windows will cost you between $150 and $750.
The cost of labor when installing a roof window is determined by how long it takes to put it up. Some contractors charge hourly rates, while others may give you a general estimate.
It’s best to hire a skilled worker to install your roof window to prevent issues such as water leaks. Once you do, perform regular maintenance by following the tips we have given you, and it will last for a long time.