It’s worth noting at this early juncture that although skylights, rooflights, roof windows and roof lanterns are technically unique products, it’s fairly common for the terms to be used interchangeably. (Read our blog on the major differences between these skylights, rooflights and roof windows for more information.)
For the purposes of this blog we’ll be going over the major applications in properties with flat roof areas. Read on to learn about the benefits of rooflights, the types which are available, minimum requirements and much more.
Benefits of flat roof skylights
As pioneers in the industry, the ongoing popularity of skylights and flat roof windows is no surprise to the Sunsquare team. We’ve been working for years to bring the benefits of skylights to the wider public through technical innovation and unmatched product quality, a subject we’ve explored in detail. We are extremely proud of our unique BSI Kitemark accreditation, speaking to the performance of our product line.
Types of skylights, rooflights and roof windows
These days, consumers are spoiled for choice, with an extensive range of skylights on the market available off-the-shelf or in custom configurations. However, for all the varying products on offer, most roof windows and skylights can be broken down into different fundamental types:
Fixed flat roof windows
The most basic of skylights for flat roof applications, a fixed rooflight typically offers a square-shaped or elongated rectangular design combined with long-term durability and performance.
Most beneficial in properties with extra ventilation and access requirements, opening skylights look and act much like a traditional fixed skylight. With added open-and-shut functionality, property owners are provided easy access between interiors and exteriors. Many modern models, including Sunsquare’s range of opening Aero skylights, come equipped with remote control opening operation for maximum convenience.
Owing their design to the historic roof lanterns from which all modern skylights are derived, the pyramid skylight can make an impactful addition to a flat roof property. Available in a range of specifications according to the needs of the given project, the pyramid rooflight is an unmistakeably stylish and contemporary daylighting solution.
These rooflights can be used externally or internally as a glazed floor unit, specially manufactured (as the name implies) to be walked on regularly. They are often seen in outdoor applications, used to enhance the aesthetics of terraces, courtyards and raised garden areas while providing ample natural light to an interior space below.
Every skylight manufactured by Sunsquare is made according to up-to-date standards and regulations, going well beyond minimum requirements whether you order custom or off-the-shelf. This is proven by our ongoing BSI Kitemark accreditation. Our confidence in our products is further demonstrated by our 25-year glazing and 25-year upstand warranties, representing our total faith in the performance, safety and security of our skylights.
The SkyView offers unrivalled thermal performance through industry-leading U-values (as low as 0.93 W/m²K), low-E insulating coatings and highly-effective thermal breaks – not to mention its high standard of safety and durability. Like all Sunsquare products, the SkyView is available in stock sizes as well as custom configurations.
As a fixed rooflight, it is a great option for properties which do not require extra ventilation. With its clean and elegant aluminium profile, the SkyView promises a significant design impact on top of daylighting and thermal performance benefits.
Available in two different forms, our Aero Electric rooflight is distinguished by its remote-controlled opening mechanism allowing for convenient on-demand ventilation. Customers can also purchase an Aero Electric Access skylight to provide a 90-degree opening, enabling easy access to terraces and roof areas. They are sold in three stock sizes as well as bespoke versions. As a BSI Kitemarked product, you can be confident of the Aero’s reliability. With polyamide thermal breaks combined with a Sunsquare upstand providing potential U-values of 0.35 W/m²K, you can also be assured of improved energy performance in your property.
With the Aero Electric range offering complementary accessories to make your life easier – including a rain sensor or full weather sensor pack, automating the opening and closing of your skylight – it is ideal for properties requiring improved air circulation and roof access.
Our Horizon rooflights are designed especially to be walked on – whether installed on the exterior or interior of a property – while providing characteristic daylighting benefits to floors below. As the only walk-on skylight to surpass BSI Kitemark standards, the Horizon meets all relevant safety, thermal performance and weatherproofing regulations. With the use of a laminated inner pane, you’re provided with an extra layer of security to an already durable product, as well as filtering unwanted UV rays. The Horizon can be purchased and installed as a single panel for standalone use, or as part of a large multi-panelled floor area.
Our Pitch Pyramid and Pyramid Multi-pane roof lanterns both provide a slim-line aluminium glazing solution for flat roof applications. Offering levels of energy efficiency comparable with our SkyView model (with U-values as low 1.18 W/m²K) our pyramid skylights continue to be among our most popular products. Robust and durable, while allowing ample natural light to flood into interiors, they make a fine addition to any property – whether residential or commercial. As with all products on this list, our Pyramid models can be manufactured to exact requirements.
Specifications and requirements
Minimum standards and requirements for skylights and roof lanterns is something we’re deeply interested in at Sunsquare, which is why we go above and beyond the call of duty. As the only UK manufacturer of BSI Kitemarked products – rigorously tested for wind loading, weather tightness and air permeability – we guarantee the long-term performance of our product range.
Flat Roof Windows and UK Building Regulations
Although planning permission is rarely required for skylight installations, architects and installers must check requirements with relevant authorities before commencing work.
Many aspects of how a skylight performs – as well as how its installation affects the overall performance of a property – are given in-depth coverage in UK Building Regulations’ Approved Documents A through Q. These provide official guidance on everything from a building’s stability to fire safety and water drainage. It is therefore essential to work with an experienced company, such as Sunsquare, able to navigate and advise on ensuring compliance with building regulations.
It’s for this reason we regularly write blogs and articles about building regulations and skylights, with our brand new Technical Section having been designed especially for architects, designers and specifiers. You can find some of our subject coverage here:
Building Regulations and skylights
Building Regulations Part A
Building Regulations Part F
Building Regulations Part K
Building Regulations Part M
We also strongly recommend reading our blog on selecting the right rooflight supplier!
While skylights can be installed with plastic or polycarbonate glazing, Sunsquare products are provided with glass as standard. As pioneers in the industry, we know that glass offers significant benefits which cannot be ignored – even if the price increases slightly in trade. Plastic glazing, while useful in specially-shaped rooflight applications, is subject to scratching and discolouring in the long term.
By utilising tempered and laminated glass in our skylights as standard, in addition to optional low-emissivity and self-cleaning coatings, we ensure that our BSI Kitemarked product range always exceeds minimum standards – whether for energy efficiency or safety and security. Read our blog on skylight glazing to learn more!
One of the major benefits of using glass skylights is the enormous number of custom configurations which are available: from tinted and obscured, coloured and patterned glazing, to functional variations featuring solar control capability. Don’t hesitate to ask us for more information or make a special request – we’re more than happy to help.
We hope you’ve found some useful information in this guide to flat roof windows, rooflight and skylights. If you think we’ve missed something, or if you have any questions regarding the benefits and applications of our BSI Kitemarked products in your projects, feel to get in touch.
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Written to help architects, surveyors and home improvers alike understand every UK building regulations.