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Ultimate Guide to Buying a Skylight

20 June 2022
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.

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Your ultimate guide to 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.

Before installing your new skylight, we encourage you to read this blog to ensure you put your best foot forward in your development.

Is a skylight best for the space?

Whether installing in a home area or work environment, the placement of your new skylight requires some planning. If you are hoping to use a skylight to access another floor or need it to be strong enough for people to walk on, we can help you assess your options to find the best fit for your job.

The answer to that question is usually yes — a skylight could be the best for your space if you have the right one. Take a look at our case studies to see how we have managed to install skylights in tricky spots.

Is a skylight possible for the development?

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, 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, or visit the Planning Portal for further information.

Where should the skylight be fitted?

You should discuss the positioning of your skylight with your architect to get the most out of the placement and reap the greatest benefits. When discussing the placement, it is important to consider further questions, such as:

  • 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, meaning 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 massive benefit to any building, especially residential or commercial buildings where people spend significant quantities of time. Still, you must also be aware of the dangers associated with 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, you can end up with a greenhouse effect without the correct glass specification. Skylights placed on roofs that face north provide fairly constant, cool illumination. Skylights on east-facing roofs will provide maximum light and solar heat gain in the morning. Some very clever glass specifications 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.

Which skylight is best for the development?

Once the decision to install a skylight into your space has been agreed upon, you can choose from a variety of options.

  • Ventilation and access
  • Do I need to be able to walk on it?
  • Range of accessories
  • What size should I get?

Our Range

At Sunsquare, we have a wide range of skylights suitable for all needs. Primarily focusing on flat roof skylights, our engineers have expanded our offering over the last 15 years to develop a range of cutting-edge designs. We stock everything from classic flat or pitched rooflights, to electrically controlled opening accessible rooflights and skylights that can be used inside or outside with strength to be walked on. These skylights vary from static strong glass to aero hinged openings and sliding facilities allowing the window to blend into the roof even when open seamlessly.

Pyramid skylights have also been featured in modern designs due to their aesthetic beauty and functionality. Sunsquare has developed a range of pyramid skylights for pitched and flat roofs and the first of its kind, a 30-degree opening fully hinged pyramid skylight allowing for the ventilation of a standard skylight and the beauty of conventional pyramid design.

Roof access and ventilation

Ventilation and access are both factors to consider. Some questions to ask are:

  • Do you need access through the rooflight, for example to another floor? An Aero electric roof access rooflight, Aero Glide skylight or new Glide Box could suit your needs.
  • Or would you like to be able to open the skylight to allow for some fresh air? An Aero Electric vent rooflight or Aero pyramid skylight might be perfect. An opening skylight can mean 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.

Skylight sizes

We offer a variety of sizes and bespoke-sized designs — there are few limitations to the personalisation we can offer.

The most common reaction to a new skylight is that a client wishes they had either gone bigger or added ventilation. Our bespoke sizes ensure you get 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.

Accessories for your skylight

Skylights are no longer just glass-covered holes in the sky as various accessories are now available to improve their usability. For example, many electric vent skylights can have ‘self-closing’ capabilities that are activated when raining and easy close hinges to reduce the risk of slamming shut.

All Sunsquare skylights come with sun protection as standard and low maintenance glass means you spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying the sky above you.

Skylight upstands

Skylight upstands are the frames that skylights sit on. They are essential in ensuring 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 from the skylight. This allows the roofing membrane to be correctly installed prior to the rooflight installation. It also ensures that the correct lean is accounted for to allow water run-off and that the correct height is achieved to comply with building regulations. It also means that if in the future the skylight needs a repair or replacement 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.

Aesthetics

Adding a skylight to a roof will alter a property’s aesthetics, so think about how a property’s internal and external finish could be integrated with a skylight. In the case of Sunsquare products, the decor stop allows the plasterboard to be finished inside the skylight frame, meaning that the only thing you can see above you is the sky.

How much will a skylight cost?

Quality skylights usually start from around £700 and rise in price according to complexity and size. An electronically opening skylight for ventilation can begin at around £1200 and a walk-on unit at about £1000. But it’s important to consider the value for money you get when buying a skylight from us, not to mention the warranties and guarantees we offer on our skylights.

Who can install the skylight?

At Sunsquare, we offer a complete 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), meaning it needs to be secure and manufactured correctly.

It is better to avoid exposed edge glass on any skylight. It can create difficulties when moving the skylight onto the roof and makes a weak point in the skylight, as the edge of the glass is the most fragile part.

How to maintain the skylight?

The final stage of deciding on your skylight is the maintenance involved in keeping it. Sunsquare skylights can come with a range of accessories that ensure your skylight can be easily managed. “Self-cleaning glass” may seem like a dream come true for many, but our range of low-maintenance glass walks the line between fantasy and reality. With a film coating that keeps glass clean after being blessed by all the weather that our British skies may offer, you will need to clean your windows far less often than with unprotected glass.

Sunsquare skylights are high quality and built to last, with our guarantee on any new product we can ensure you won’t have to worry about untimely replacement. In the circumstances when your skylight does need repairs or replacement, we offer a range of services to extend the life of your skylight. Read more about replacements in our blog, “how often do skylights need to be replaced?”

What to read next?

After deciding to have a skylight fitted, read our helpful piece How do I know which Skylight to Choose?

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