Let's find what you're looking for

    Rooflight Design

    arrow Back to blog 14th June 2018

    The rooflight design might seem like a complicated process, especially if it’s something you’ve not done before. Here, we’re going to cover all of the main rooflight design considerations and hopefully we’ll be able to help you make that initial process a little easier. And remember, you can always give Sunsquare a call if you’d like assistance in picking out the perfect model.

    Skylight considerations




    Here, we’re going to take a look at the practicalities of designing a rooflight and all the rooflight design considerations. What are the main things you need to bear in mind in terms of the rooflight itself?


    Rooflight Sizing


    Size is one of the major factors involved in rooflight design considerations. Interestingly, many of our customers end up wishing they’d gone slightly bigger than they did, which is something to think on: it’s quite possible you’re underestimating the size of rooflight you’ll need. One of the main concerns (and one of the reasons people often go smaller than they should) is that they’re worried a larger rooflight will increase the temperature of the room. However, there are a number of glazing options – which we’ll cover further down the page – that can prevent any increase, so don’t be afraid to go for a larger model than you originally planned.


    The other thing to bear in mind regarding size is not letting the shape of the rooflight impact how big an aperture you select. It’s somewhat of a misconception that by employing a pyramid-style rooflight you can get more natural light from a smaller aperture. Often, the opposite is true! (Of course, if you’re after a pyramid rooflight simply because you love the look there’s nothing wrong with that.

    To find out more information about skylights sizes visit: “What are the most common rooflight sizes?


    Rooflight Upstands


    These are the frames that the rooflight sits in, and they’re worth examining during the design process. An effective upstand allows the roofing membrane to be properly installed before the light itself, and also allows the rooflight to lean in such a way as to allow water run-off. (It also means that should the light need repairing or replacing at any point in future, the roof won’t get damaged as a result.) Finally, upstands are also a key part of ensuring the light meets the building regulations. When planning your rooflight, ensure you consult your manufacturer about installing an upstand: it’s worth the investment.


    Planning permission


    Typically, you won’t need planning permission to install a rooflight. (Rooflights usually replace an existing light or form part of an extension that’s already been agreed on.) The Building Regulations do have limits on the amount of glass panels allowed in a roof design, but rooflights rarely exceed these limits.

    If you work with a specialist on your bespoke skylight, of course, they’ll be able to advise you on what the limits are.


    Rooflight Glazing


    There are a number of different types of flat rooflight glass, and they can all make a big difference to a rooflight’s effectiveness. Here are some of the major types.

    Triple v double glazing


    Another key consideration is whether double or triple glazing will suit your needs best. Both are great options, and offer a number of benefits over a traditional single pane design:

    • The extra glazing makes a huge difference to thermal performance
    • Extra glazing leads to better noise insulation
    • Double and triple glazing can reduce condensation
    • The extra layers help reduce energy consumption
    • Double and triple glazing tend to be more secure, purely because dealing with three panes is tougher than dealing with one


    So, assuming you’re going to go with one of the two, you’re probably curious if triple glazing is really worth the upgrade.


    This is largely down to a few key factors:

    • How good the double glazing you’re comparing it to. Sunsquare’s thermally broken glazing – which we’ll cover in the next section – is far superior to ‘standard’ double glazing, meaning the increase in performance of triple glazing might not be as substantial.
    • What your return on investment is likely to be. Triple glazing can offer increased performance. Indeed, some manufacturers have noted that the increase in heat loss can be as much as 50 per cent. Will the money you save be more than the cost of the window?
    • Which frame the glazing is matched with. Remember that while glazing makes a big impact on a window’s performance, the frame can also have a big impact. It’s possible to enjoy outstanding performance with double glazing if your rooflight’s frame is high quality.


    Remember that if you’re at all unsure about the right glazing, you can always give us a call.


    This isn’t to denigrate triple glazing at all. We offer them at Sunsquare for a reason. The right models can make a real different to your bills.


    Triple glazing can allow for a high level of solar heat gain, ensuring that whatever time of year it is, you’ll be able to enjoy a nice warm home without having to deal with UV rays.


    It’s also a very secure option: it’s a simple fact that if there’s an extra pane in the window, it’s far less likely to shatter in the event of any impact. Triple glazing is simply a more secure option.


    Advanced+ Glazing – the furniture-saving, health-conscious glazing option


    Many of our customers want an option that’s somewhere between triple and double glazing. If you were thinking the same thing, you should take a look at Advanced+ Glazing. This isn’t available everywhere, but if you work with a specialist – such as Sunsquare – you’ll be able to include it in your rooflight design.


    How does Advanced+ Glazing work?

    It’s actually quite simple: an extra film is installed in the airspace of a single glass unit. The result is an increase in performance versus triple glazing, but in a window that’s 33 per cent lighter (indeed, Advanced+ Glazing weighs little more than traditional double glazing!)


    What are the benefits?

    Advanced+ Glazing blocks 99 per cent of all UV rays that hit it. This capability means that Advanced+ Glazing can:

    • Give you a cooler home in the summer. It’s particularly ideal in any room which gets a lot of sun at that time of the year.
    • Protect your furniture. Over the long-term, sun rays can warp wood, dry out leather and even cause upholstery colours to fade out.


    If these are the sorts of benefits you’re interested in, you should definitely consider Advanced+ Glazing as part of your rooflight’s design.


    Solar control glazing

    Another option is classic ‘solar control’ glazing. As you’ve probably gathered from the name, this form of glazing allows sunlight to pass through the rooflight whilst reflecting the heat that the rays result in. This is great for anyone who wants to brighten up a darker room without having to deal with the inevitable increase in temperature!


    This is a very popular option for commercial offices looking to maintain a pleasant work environment without having to spend thousands on air conditioning or waste time fiddling with blinds!


    Low maintenance glass

    It’s also worth mentioning low maintenance glass. This is an option that many manufacturers – Sunsquare included – offer as part of their rooflight design.

    Rather than being a specific type of glazing, it’s actually a treatment that can be added to your rooflight.


    What are the benefits?

    Simple: you’ll spend less time cleaning your light! Indeed, low maintenance treatment can cut down your cleaning time by as much as 70 per cent without affecting your solar gain or the transparency of the glass.


    What’s more, low maintenance glass is far less likely to suffer from corrosion than traditional glass. If you can afford it, it’s an investment that’s well worth making.


    Opening Options


    When it comes to opening options, there are three main choices:

    • Classic rooflights. These models don’t open at all, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they don’t provide a pleasant atmosphere. At Sunsquare, all of our rooflights are BSI Kitemarked for air permeability, weather-tightness and wind loading.

    • Vent rooflights. These models are similar to the traditional models, but also offer the ability to be opened, leaving a gap ideal for encouraging much-needed ventilation into interiors below. These models can be purchased with a range of options, such as windows that open and shut automatically and even those that can detect the weather conditions and operate accordingly.

    • Roof access. If you’d like extra access to your space, then a roof access rooflight could well be the best option. The other benefit of roof access rooflights is, of course, that their ability to open far wider means they allow for even more fresh air to move into the room.


    The most popular option at Sunsquare is the ‘vent’, simply because of the versatility. Some people prefer a manual rooflight they can push open, while others want a window that’s already open and letting the cold air in when they get home from work!


    Get in touch

    If you’re at all unsure about designing your perfect rooflight or want some help with your rooflight design considerations, then give Sunsquare a call on 01284 723377. We’re specialists in working with our customers to ensure they get nothing less than the best possible results from any flat roof rooflight installations.

    Share this guide

    Want to know more

    If you want to know more about this or anything else then get in contact.

    Call us on 01922 714087

    Email sales@sunsquare.co.uk

    refine search


    28 April 2021

    Lowest U-Values in the skylight industry

    U-values are touted by companies as a selling point for their products. Until now, all skylight U-values are calculated in exactly the same was as a vertical window, which gives a false reading and misleads the client.

    Read morearrow
    The benefits of using BSI

    26 May 2020

    Desire for quality never stops

    In what has been one of the more traumatic times for British industry, Sunsquare, whilst not fully operational until beginning of May, have been busy during downtime. Our desire to continue to be the market leading in our field didn’t get locked down. Quite the opposite. Not only have we been testing product and designing, […]

    Read morearrow
    Self Cleaning Glass

    05 October 2019

    Thoughts on Brexit

    Obviously Sunsquare are not immune to industry trends, but it is comforting to see that the clients that have used our services over the recent turbulent months are citing quality and qualification as the reason for using the skylight budget with us.

    Read morearrow
    The importance of environmental management

    27 August 2019

    The Demise of a British Great | R.Durtnell and Sons Ltd

    We were very sad indeed to receive a letter a few days ago for the official receivers for R. Durtnell and Sons Ltd.

    Read morearrow
    Aero Pyramid Skylight

    10 August 2019

    Sing when you’re winning

    It’s been quite a few months for Sunsquare. New skylights launched, shows to shout about and a spanking new website to admire.

    Read morearrow
    Skylights and rooflights

    13 June 2019

    Another industry first for skylight pioneers Sunsquare

    Sunsquare has not only achieved the Kitemark accreditation for another 3 years, but the ISO9001 and ISO14001 accreditations with no non-conformities.

    Read morearrow

    Sunsquare Accessories

    Find out morearrow

    Sunsquare Skylights

    Find out morearrow

    Since 2004, Sunsquare Limited has been pioneering skylight design

    Call us on 01922 714087