One of the benefits of designing in a rooflight into a new property, or installing one in a home or business premise renovation, is that you will be able to enjoy natural light. This will help save energy used for lighting and provide evenly distributed natural light that enhances the rooms below the rooflight.
On a flat or low-pitched roof, the rooflight will probably be a roof lantern with sidelights. The sidelights can be permanently fixed, or be opened to provide ventilation. This can be done either through a manually operated crank rod, or more easily with an electric motor that can be switched to open or close on demand, automatically at set times, or when a rain sensor activates it when it detects rain, mist or dew.
Pitched rooflights come in various shapes that include pyramid, domed, hexagon, octagon, or just plain square. However, the most usual design is rectangular with a hipped or gable end.
Historically, a single glazed rooflight could make the space below it uncomfortably cold in winter months and with inadequate sealing, cold winds and draughts would blow through providing unwanted winter ventilation. As a result, in some cases, the rooflight was reduced in size, or removed completely and boarded over, as the lack of weather proofing and the difficulty of maintenance made them uneconomic and expensive to maintain.
However, modern sealing and double glazing provide much greater thermal efficiency and reduced heating costs. The use of durable hardwood timber for the frames and modern paints to paint them, has also makes the rooflight more owner friendly. Because of its position, the rooflight is exposed to more rain, frost and sunlight than any other painted part of the home. This constant weathering meant that in past times, annual repainting was often required in a difficult to reach position, leading to more expense. However, by using microporous paints and stains, today’s frames enjoy outstanding protection against the elements even in harsh northern climates and coastal locations.
It’s the introduction of modern construction methods like these that have lead to a renaissance in the use of rooflights in domestic and industrial architecture. What’s more, old leaky and draughty rooflights can be replaced with a modern roof lantern that will need little maintenance and provide a more comfortable environment in the space below it.
Moreover, designers and architects also have the opportunity to specify anti-glare coatings or tints for the glazing, or even self-cleaning glass, although these will add to the cost of the rooflight.
In a conservation area or on a listed building, there is often a requirement to meet specified design features. These can usually be met, depending on the age of the property, by including Georgian wire sidelights, Victorian styled stained glass or other glass treatments as appropriate. It only takes a little ingenuity to achieve this and planning officials will generally be pleased as there is little compromise in the period design. Once again, modern construction will mean that the roof lantern will be longer lasting and require less maintenance than what it replaced.
So if you are planning to install a rooflight there are no longer a great number of negative reasons that should put you off. Instead you can look forward to enjoying more natural interior light and a design feature that will be the envy of friends and visitors.