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Guide To Buying Skylights

Everything you need to know before buying skylights

Heather

Written by

Heather

Last updated Thursday 11th November 2021

Underhill 24

When it comes to getting natural light into your home, who doesn’t love a good skylight? Compared to glass ceilings, they’re a cost effective way to get light penetrating all through your home. What’s more, as a permanent fixture, they can even help increase the price of your home.

However, because they require construction, getting skylights installed isn’t a quick DIY job, and there are some considerations you’ll need to make. Here we run through everything you’ll need to know to get the skylights of your dreams.

How much do skylights cost?

There are two price tags to factor when it comes to skylights: cost of installation and price of the windows themselves. Some manufacturers will include installation costs into your quote, while others will merely provide the material.

On average, the cost of installing roof lights ranges between £850-£1200. Prices for installation will vary depending on…

  • Size of the project
  • Whether its part of another larger project
  • The complexity of the installation
  • Your location in the UK

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It’s also important to note that in 2021, the cost of installation has increased due to high demand and labour shortages. No matter what year your project is set to take place in, it’s worth taking a look at the market to see what price alterations may have taken place.

The price of your glazing is much harder to estimate. It could cost between £400 - £3000, depending on the size, quality and features it boasts. Electric venting, glass treatments, custom sizing, all these things add up. Therefore, it’s worth having a consultation with an expert to help you workout the overall price tag.

Planning permission

Luckily, because of permitted development rights, you shouldn’t require planning permission to install skylights.

That being said, this doesn’t apply to every household. Permitted development rights don’t cover…

  • Flats and maisonettes
  • Converted houses or houses created through ‘change of use’
  • Areas where there may be planning conditions, such as conservation areas
  • Listed buildings

If your home isn’t covered by permitted development rights, you may still be able to install skylights, but will have to consult your local authority or architect.

Learn more about permitted development rights here.

Building regulations

From a building regulations perspective, you’ll need to make sure your rooflights are...

  • Are structurally sound
  • Have appropriate weather proofing
  • Enable your home’s ventilation requirements
  • Are appropriately energy efficient

If your skylights are part of a larger project, such as an extension, you might consider commissioning a building regulations package. This will include a set of highly-detailed technical drawings and will show your contractor how building regulations can be maintained during the build. They can also be assessed and approved by either your local authority or an approved inspector.

Learn more about building regulations.

Placement

Where you place your skylights is going to be one of your biggest considerations, and one you’ve probably already daydreamed about.

Ultimately, where you can place your skylights will be down to your roof and the type of skylights you choose (more on this later), but here are some things you might consider…

  • Many people who opt to add skylights to their bedroom want to install them over their bed. While this can be picturesque, think about how to stop the light from waking you prematurely, and how a blackout blind will affect the overall look.
  • If adding skylights to your kitchen, think about which areas use the most light. Perhaps you have a dark corner, or a worktop you’re using throughout the day. Adding skylights over practical areas can help cut bills, as you rely less on artificial light.
  • Remember that sunlight will damage your furniture overtime, fading any expensive fabrics. Therefore, it’s worth keeping your new skylights away from expensive living room furniture, or you might consider UV protective glazing.

Types of skylights

When it comes to skylight styles, there are many to choose from. You even have the option to get some custom made for your home - though this will cost more.

If you’re looking to explore your options, here are just a few styles of skylights you might consider:

skylight infographic final-01 copy

Ventilation and your skylights

Skylights don’t have to be static and there are some models where you can open and close them. The benefits of this mechanism are…

  • More ventilation for your home
  • You have access to your roof
  • Can make your skylights easier to clean

But what about rain getting in? Won’t they be too far up to reach easily? These are both good questions and demonstrate why it’s important to shop around when it comes to your skylights. There’s more on the market than just manual hatches; you can find skylights which open and close electronically, as well as windows that come with rain sensors to stop your home from becoming soaked.

Getting the right glazing

One of the most important factors that you’ll need to consider is your glazing. What kind of glass will you invest in? And how will this affect your home?

It’s often tempting to keep costs to a minimum when improving your home, but investing in quality glazing is something you won’t regret. Cheap glass can create a greenhouse effect in your home, meaning you’re too hot in Summer and too cold in Winter. Not only will this make you uncomfortable, in those colder months, you’ll potentially see a spike in your energy bills, as you try to compensate for this heat loss.

How to avoid a glazing disaster…

  • At minimum, consider investing in double glazing, to help you when the weather turns cold.
  • To help in summer, consider solar control smart glass. This will allow light to pass through, but stops the heating from following.
  • In order to gauge how much heat you’ll lose through your glass, look into the U-values. The higher your glazing U-values, the more heat it’ll let escape from your home.

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