A window in the ceiling of a house can be referred to as a roof window, rooflight or skylight. Although there are differences between each term, they are often used interchangeably. In our guide, we’ll explain these subtle differences to help you identify what you really need when it comes to roof windows.

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What is a roof window?

A roof window is generally the most flexible type of window that can be installed into the ceiling of a house. They come in a wide range of options and can be used as a single window, or part of a set.

The most obvious distinction between a roof window and a rooflight or skylight is that roof windows are often able to open. This is typically from a central pivot, but top-hung is also a popular choice.

Roof windows have specifications that require them to be fitted in the same orientation as the roof so that they sit flush and maintain a clean roofline. They are also CE-marked, meaning they have been tested through various conditions, such as air pressure, leakage, and rainfall.

Check out our range of pitched roof windows to find your perfect match. For an additional touch, you can add roof window blinds to keep out the light if needed.



What is a skylight?

Skylights and rooflights are more general terms and often interchanged. Skylight roof windows generally refer to windows fixed into the roof, like roof windows.

However, they do not open, unlike roof windows, and have fewer specifications. They are generally fitted much higher up than roof windows, often in higher ceilings.

They also aim to let light into the room, as opposed to roof windows. Roof windows are normally inserted to provide views out and let light in.

L-shaped combination windows

What is a rooflight?

Rooflights are different to skylights or roof windows. This is because they are usually fitted “out of plane” to the roof itself, often installed above the tiling line. This provides a feature, as well as being able to let more light in.

They are often made of several panes of glass that join to form a dome or rectangular shape above the roof itself.

Check out our range of flat roof windows to find the right one for your property.

VELUX CFU 2093 Fixed Flat Glass Double Glazed Rooflight

What is the difference between a rooflight and a roof lantern?

One of the easiest ways to identify the type of window is by the visibility of the window itself.

For example, you cannot normally see a flat glass rooflight at ground level. A roof lantern is more visible, acting as an accessory to the architecture of a building.

A lantern roof window is also more likely manufactured with many glazed panels at an angle. Better yet, the pyramid shape also means minimal maintenance, as water can run off the sides with ease.

If your budget is smaller, opting for a flat rooflight is advisable as it’s more cost-effective. You also have more shapes, sizes and opening styles to choose from.

Now, regardless of which window you choose, it’s always best to invest in triple-glazed rooflights or triple glazed roof lanterns. Windows with triple glazing have many benefits that aren’t always achieved through single or double glazing. With a triple-glazed window, you can enjoy:

  • Better insulation
  • Reduced cold areas in a room
  • External noise reduction

So, perfect if you want to minimise the noise coming in or leaving the home. A great way to reduce those energy bill costs, too!

Examples of a roof lantern and flat roof rooflight can be seen below (roof lantern left vs flat rooflight right). As you will notice, these are more commonly large roof windows.


Where can I buy roof windows, skylights and rooflights?

Right here at our Roofing Superstore! We have a wide range of pitched roof windows, flat roof windows and more roof windows for sale.

You can also explore our buyer’s guide for even further information about the types of windows we provide, including a flat roof window buyer’s guide and pitched roof windows buyer’s guide to help you find windows for your specific roof type.

Not sure how many windows you need for an extension? We have a guide for that too! Alternatively, you can explore our how-to guides to fit your new window in place, such as how to fit a sun tunnel and more in the Help & Advice section of our website.

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