Roof Lights vs Roof Windows – What’s the Difference?

October 11, 2022

Rooflights and roof windows sound very similar, so you will be forgiven for not knowing the difference between them. Of course, they are both installed within the roof of a home, but what makes the two distinct?

TuffX will guide you through the difference between rooflights and roof windows and tell you what their main benefits are. We will also advise you which type to choose, depending on why you might need them. 

For all this and more, keep reading! 

What is a Rooflight?

A rooflight is a double, sometimes triple-glazed pane of glass installed within a flat roof. In pitched roofs (roofs that slope downwards in two parts), rooflights stand out from the roof and out of plane with the tiling. 

There are two types of rooflight to choose from: fixed and open rooflights. Fixed rooflights are an excellent, cost-effective option for those who do not need additional airflow and ventilation. 

They allow an abundance of natural daylight into your home and are a high-quality fixture in any home. Fixed rooflights let you bring the outside in without paying costly electrical installation fees. Open rooflights, however, allow access to ventilation and provide temperature control. 

They can be manually opened if within reach of the user or controlled electronically via apps or remote control. Manual and electric rooflights have better outdoor access and let the stale air in your home escape more quickly. 

What is a Roof Window? 

The main difference between a rooflight and a roof window is their installation. Rooflights (also called ‘skylights’) stand out from the original roof and are ‘out of plane’ with the tiling, meaning they must be mounted on an upstand or curb. 

However, roof windows are directly integrated into the roof’s design and open outwards. They serve the practical purpose of providing extra ventilation while being very aesthetically pleasing. 

Roof windows sit at the same level as the roof, creating cleaner lines and dimensions that framed rooflights often do not provide. They are installed with relatively little fuss, so long as the slope of the roof is compatible. 

Which should I choose – a rooflight or a roof window?

If you need better ventilation…

Go with a roof window! Most openable rooflights/skylights can only open a few inches and are not designed with the outside world in mind. Roof windows, however, allow much greater access when opened. 

You can have increased access to airflow with a robust and reliable window. Plus, if you are only interested in installing a smaller amount of glazing to your home, roof windows are excellent for keeping costs low. 

If you’re installing on a pitched roof…

All roof windows must be installed in the same plane and orientation as the surrounding roof: this is a minimum of 15 degrees pitch. So if you are installing on a pitched roof, a fixed or open roof window would be a more practical and aesthetically pleasing purchase. 

If you want to walk on your roof…

Some rooflights, such as the walk-on rooflights manufactured by TuffX, are ideal for both external and internal fitting. Do you have a basement in your home? Install a walk-on rooflight, and you can see it from above. 

They are both load and weather-tested, meaning that you can rest assured your rooflight is of the highest possible quality.