Is There a Difference Between a Skylight and a Rooflight?

If you have decided to add some light to a room in your property with a new window, then you will no doubt have pondered the range of products that are available. What exactly is the difference between a skylight and rooflight and which is best for your home?

Here’s our quick guide:

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Roof Windows

These are carefully controlled under British Standard EN 14351-1:2010 and tend to come in set sizes. They are normally smaller than rooflights and are installed flush into the pitch of the roof and don’t jut out.

Most are fitted into a pitched roof between 15 and 60° depending on location in the property. Their benefit is the lower cost and ease of installation.


While the definition can vary, rooflights are generally intended to be installed on a flat roof. For example, if you have a new kitchen extension with a flat roof above, you may want to install a rooflight to create more light or provide access.

Rather than being flush with the surface, a rooflight tends to have a curb or upstand. This ensure that the rooflight is watertight and that weathering can be attached to it. They can be flat or box-shaped depending on the design and can be opened and closed to provide ventilation.

If you are looking for a window that sits flush with the surrounding area, manufacturing and design is changing more in this type of product, something which can deliver more aesthetic lines if that is what you are looking for.


This is a more difficult term to understand and can often lead to confusion. Skylights can essentially be installed on both pitched and flat roofs and be of any size or shape. The area where it might cause confusion is with building regulations which is why most builders tend to refer to a rooflight rather than a skylight.

Choosing the Right Options for Your Property

Roof windows are generally considered the most cost-effective option if you have a pitched roof. They come in a range of different sizes and are usually bought buy off-the-shelf. They can be a bit limiting, however, especially if you are looking for something a little bit different for your home.

Rooflights, on the other hand, come with a lot more options, especially if you are designing something like a roof garden or terrace where the look is going to be important. Because of this, however, you can expect to pay more for a rooflight than a roof window as they tend to be more bespoke.

There are number of things that you need to consider when installing any form of roof lighting into your home. The location may well dictate the type of product that you choose as well as your budget and the effect that you want to achieve. Whether you want to window to be opened or closed or even provide access to the roof will also be factors.

It’s important to work with a rooflight or skylight specialist, like Roofglaze, who can take a look at your home and come up with the right solution for your needs. The good news is that there is a huge variety of different options out there that can really make a difference to your space.