Buying a Skylight
Deciding to purchase and fit a skylight in your home, commercial property, or as part of a property development project is an important decision with many factors to consider. Skylights are very different to any other glazing that a property owner is likely to have at home or in the workplace, so we have put together this article to break down the considerations you must think of.
Where should your skylight be? Positioning your skylight
The first questions you should be asking yourself:
- Which room(s) do you want your skylight(s) to be installed in?
- How much natural light are you hoping to let in?
- Do you need an internal skylight or floorlight?
Position and function are important aspects to look at, so certain rooms in a house might be more suited to a skylight than others. You may even wish to add extra light to a basement or lower room, by fitting an interior skylight or rooflight.
Natural light is a huge benefit to any building, especially a residential or commercial building where people spend larger quantities of times, but you should also look out for over exposure to harmful UV rays. This would be more common in a south facing position.
While it is lovely to be seated under a skylight, without the correct specification of glass you can end up with a greenhouse effect. Skylights placed on roofs that face north provide fairly constant, cool illumination. Skylights fitted on east-facing roofs will provide maximum light and solar heat gain in the morning. There are some very clever glass specifications that remove the UV but still allow the full quota of light, be sure to browse Sunsquare’s full range of glazing options for your skylight.
Roof access and ventilation
Ventilation and access are both factors to consider. Some questions to ask:
- Do you need to be able to get to a space through the skylight?
- Would you like to be able to open the skylight to allow for some fresh air?
It is possible to have an opening skylight. You not only get as much natural light as is possible, but also ventilation (especially important for a kitchen space). Opening skylights can be electronic, contain rain sensors and have many other clever gadgets attached.
Choosing the right size skylight for you
The most common reaction to a new skylight being fitted is that a client wishes they had either gone bigger or added ventilation. Sunsquare can discuss bespoke sizes with you to make sure you are getting exactly what you want for your home or project. We can share case studies with you to show you larger skylights if you are worried about the impact.
A lantern or pyramid shaped skylight allows natural light into a property and could be considered an attractive addition to the line of a roof. The only thing to be aware of is the issue of planning permission and maintenance as they sit on top of a roof, not flush.
Planning permission - do you need It?
Planning permission is rarely an issue with skylights as it is usually part of an already agreed extension or replacing an existing rooflight. If it is a new addition to an existing roof, then it is still unlikely to need planning. This is always worth checking, but it is rarely a problem.
To help you plan, take a thorough look at building regulations. There is a limit to how much glass an individual structure is allowed. Most architects will know of the regulations as will building contractors.
Written to help architects, surveyors and home improvers alike understand every UK building regulation, sign up for our whitepaper on building regulations.
Skylight Upstands are the frames that skylights sit on. They play an important role in making sure your new skylight fits well and lasts as long as possible.
It might sound strange, but it is best to have an upstand created separately to the skylight. This allows the roofing membrane to be properly installed prior to the rooflight installation. It makes sure that the correct lean is accounted for to allow water run-off and the correct height is achieved to comply with building regulations. It also means that if in the future the skylight needs a repair or replacing for one reason or another, there is no damage to the roof.
Any skylight with an integral upstand should be avoided for the above reasons. At Sunsquare we provide upstands separately so that the client can rest assured that the skylight will fit, and the roofing structure is correctly dealt with.
The addition of a skylight to a roof will alter a property’s aesthetics, so think about how the internal and external finish of a property could be integrated with a skylight. In the case of Sunsquare products, the decorstop allows the plasterboard to be finished inside the skylight frame meaning that the only thing you can see above you is the sky.
Installation of your new skylight
It is better to avoid exposed edge glass on any skylight. It can create difficulties when moving the skylight onto the roof and creates a weak point in the skylight, as the edge of the glass is the most fragile part.
At Sunsquare we offer a full design, manufacture and installation service for peace of mind. Always look for a company that has BSI certification. It is important to purchase from a well-trusted company, as this is not just a matter of putting glass in a hole. A skylight will sit above you (and potentially your family). It needs to be secure and manufactured correctly.
Skylight costs and value for money
Skylights of quality usually start from around £700 and rise in price according to complexity and size. An electronically opening skylight for ventilation can start at around £1200 and a walk on unit at around £1000.
What to read next?
After deciding to have a skylight fitted, read our helpful piece How do I know which Skylight to Choose?