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Choosing a rooflight

Choosing a rooflight

What questions should you be asking to ensure you get the right rooflight for your project? In this article, Lumen advises on what to ask to ensure you get the right rooflight for your project.

Do I have a pitched or flat roof?
The design for a flat rooflight is different to that of pitched and these quite often sit on an up stand section built onto your roof. If you have a sloping roof you can generally find rooflights that can be installed between 70 and 15 degrees. It is always important to know and mention the pitch of your roof when talking to rooflight suppliers.

How big can my skylight be?
Modern technology allows some very big areas of glazing but if you are working with an older or Listed property then it is advisable to use conservation rooflights and keep to smaller sizes. More modern projects are better served by products like our Lumen EVO skylights which have much larger areas of high specification glazing without the more traditional glazing bars used in conservation roof windows.

Do I want it to an opening or fixed design or can it be a combination of the two?
Some rooflight manufacturers specialise in fixed skylights and others in opening. Having fixed rooflights quite often works out more cost effective because you can have larger pieces of glass without the overhead of expensive electric mechanisms. Quite often we advise our customers to have a mix of both, particularly on bespoke rooflights. This allows Lumen Rooflight customers to have the best of both worlds utilising high specification fixed glazing with smaller opening vents operated by manual mechanisms, gas struts or electric actuators.

How would I like my rooflight to open?
In simple terms, do you need ventilation or access to the roof? If not, then it is probably advisable and more cost effective to have a fixed piece roof light. Smaller rooflights tend to operate manually but if you opt for a large rooflight, most will be operated with electric actuation. There are a wide variety of actuators available and products like our bespoke Lumen Conservation rooflight will require a cill mounted actuator to push the casement open. Designs such as the Lumen Evo can have side mounted and concealed actuators to lift casements.

If you need access to the roof for fire escape then your rooflight casement should provide assisted opening to ensure an easy exit. If you have an electrically operated system, it should have a battery back-up system just in case the power is switched off.

What glass should I use in my roof light?
There is no 'one size fits all' option and so glass specification should be chosen to reflect your most important requirement. Lumen Rooflights provide a good u-value with the added benefit of self clean by using Pilking Activ, argon gas cavities and Pilkington Optitherm. If you need your rooflights to provide better sound performance you could opt for a more specialist product like Pilkington Optiphon. Speak to one of our team concerning your rooflight glazing options.

Will my location affect the performance of my rooflight?
If your project is located near to the coast or in an area of high pollution it can make a difference to the life of your roof light. It is important to tell any supplier about any geographical factors that could impact on the performance of their product. High salt content or pollution can attack the protective paint coatings and in some circumstances reduce effective life to months rather than years. Location issues can be overcome by increasing the paint specification but this can only be done before a rooflight is installed, so if you are hoping to use your rooflight to look out onto uninterrupted views of the sea you need to mention it.

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