There are many things to consider when purchasing a flat roof skylight for your home or commercial property. Skylights are very different to any other glazing that a property owner is likely to have at home or in the workplace.
As a result there are some important things to look out for when considering adding a rooflight to a property:
Position and function are important aspects to look at. Obviously, natural light is a huge benefit to any home, but one has to look out for over exposure to UV in the home. This would be more common in a south facing position.
Whilst it is lovely to be seated under a skylight, without the correct specification of glass one can get a greenhouse effect. There are some very clever glass specifications that remove the UV but still allow the full quota of light.
The other aspect to consider from the outset is ventilation or access. It is always wise, if possible to have an opening skylight so that it can perform the function of not only allowing natural light but also adding ventilation or access.
You should also consider how the internal 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.
Also important is size. Our most common reaction to a new skylight is that a client wishes they had either gone bigger or added ventilation. It is great to have as much natural light as is possible and consider that certainly in a kitchen environment it may be wise to look at an opening skylight. These can be electronic and have rain sensors and many clever gadgets attached.
It is a common misconception that a lantern or pyramid shaped skylight offers a more attractive look and more light. Our experience over the last 10 years of designing bespoke skylights is that the opposite is actually true. There is less natural light coming through a pyramid than a flat glass skylight and certainly more issues with planning and maintenance.
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 again it is unlikely to need planning. This is always worth checking, but it is rarely a problem. Pyramid or lantern skylights are more of a problem as they stick above the parapet and can create an eyesore to neighbours. The only regulations that one has to look at are 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.
There are some extremely important things to look out for when considering the purchase of a rooflight. Be sure to have the upstand created separate to the skylight.
Upstands are the frames that a skylight sits on and play a very important role in ensuring your new skylight fits and fits well for the long term.
This allows the roofing membrane to be properly installed prior to the rooflight installation. It means also 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.
For ease of installation it is better to avoid exposed edge glass on any skylight. It can create difficulties when moving the skylight on to the roof and also 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. The fact that it is above you and your family at all times means that it needs to be secure and manufactured correctly.
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.