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The Difference between a Roof Window and a Skylight

The Difference between a Roof Window and a Skylight

There are many benefits to letting natural light into a room. Skylights and roof windows are both fantastic ways of doing so.Although they have similar functions, the two are often confused.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you understand the differences between a skylight and a roof window.


What is a roof window?

Roof windows let in natural light into a room.

Covered by British Standards, roof windows must be in the same orientation and ‘in plane’ with the surrounding roof, typically at a minimum 15 degree pitch, and weathered into the roof using a skirt or flashing. This means that roof windows are installed within your line of sight, so you can easily walk up to and open them.

Roof windows also must be CE marked before they are sold and are generally big enough to qualify as means of escape in case of a fire.

Doubling as a fire escape, roof windows can also be a way of fulfilling building code requirements.


What is a skylight?

Skylight is a generic term for anything which lets in light through the roof, but there is a specific type of skylight – a pitched roof skylight – which differs from a normal roof window.

These skylights usually come with integrated flashing and are less thermally efficient than a roof window.

This means they are great for providing ventilation and light for uninhabited spaces like unconverted lofts, storage areas or garages. But they are unsuitable for use rooms in you use regularly.


What is the difference?

Ultimately, the difference between skylights and roof windows depends on their placement and location.

The decision between the two depends on what you will use the space for.

If the space is used for storage and visited only occasionally, then skylights are usually the best option.

However, if the loft is a normal part of the house, then it will need a roof window that can be used as an escape route to adhere to fire safety regulations.



Both types of windows serve a similar purpose and are great at improving the quality of lighting within any given room or living space.

Ready to transform your house? Browse our range of skylight and roof windows today.



Written by: Joe

Published on: 17 January 2024

Categories: Uncategorized