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The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture

Paul Trace from Lumen Rooflight offers some practical guidance to choosing the right rooflight company.

Rooflights are a hugely important element of any new build or renovation. They determine how much light is let into a building and can create bright, airy spaces that impact on the design and ambience of a room.

Getting the right design might be one of the first considerations when choosing your rooflight, but from a practical viewpoint, the most important thing to think about will be the physical viewable area of glazing.

This may sound obvious, but do not make the mistake of thinking that all rooflights are the same in this respect and just because you are buying a rooflight, for example, that is 1m x 2m, be aware that this doesn't necessarily mean that that you are going to have 2m² of viewing area.

It is important to understand that the amount of light that enters your property relates to the internal viewable size rather than the more general fixing size of the rooflight. The most common mistake to make is to specify a rooflight that simply fits the space between your rafters. In fact the size of the actual rooflight is immaterial if all you are paying for is a large frame. The common perception is that if you buy more glass the viewing area will be bigger. Don't be baffled by edge-to-edge glass, it's what's underneath that counts. In other words, what's the point in having a window you can't look out of?!

On the same sized rooflight, the actual viewable glazing area between different manufacturers can be significant, and make a huge difference to the amount of light entering the building. To give an example if you take the Lumen LR6 Conservation rooflight with a rafter size of 946 x 1249mm, of this, the actual viewable area is 876 x 1189mm or 1.04m², which means that the rooflight has a viewable area 88%.

You might be surprised to know that other manufacturers offering a similar rafter size could provide as little as 0.44m² internal viewable area. This could mean that you are paying for a rooflight that is predominantly (more than 60%) framework or non-useable glazing!

The best advice would be to ensure that that actual fitting size is as close to the size of glazing you can physically look out of, and always make sure you are comparing apples with apples when looking at the price. Why pay for a rooflight that simply pads out the hole in your roof rather than performing its primary function - to let in light and ventilation.

Today customers have an even bigger choice of rooflight suppliers but whether you are looking at Velux, Roto, Fakro, Dakea, Rooflight Company or any of the other well know brands; make sure you are comparing like for like. Allowing light into a room is usually the main reason for choosing roof glazing but decide on which criteria are the most important for your project and then ask for the details from your chosen rooflight supplier. All rooflight suppliers are now supposed to have their products CE marked to comply with European legislation. Those facts and figures should be supported by test documents and those should also be readily available for you to check and compare results.

Should you require any guidance or have questions about any of our products that are not answered on the Lumen rooflight website, please call our team on 0330 300 1090.