Flat Roof Windows Buyers Guide

Windows, Lanterns & Sun Tunnels
Flat Roof Windows Buyers Guide

Flat roof windows are fantastic additions to the home, with their use exploding in popularity over the twentieth century. In more recent years, they have proven popular features on new builds, and have also been incorporated into renovations of older structures in both rural and urban settings.

There are many different types of flat roof windows – available in different shapes and sizes and boasting differing functions, features, and suitability for different types of flat roofs. This is why it can sometimes be difficult to navigate the flat roof market, and all the products you’ll find there.

This guide has been put together to help take you through some of the most important factors you’ll need to consider if you’re contemplating the addition of a flat roof. We’ll be looking at subjects such as size, features, and some of the more well-known manufacturers that you’re likely to encounter when looking for your ideal window.


What to Consider When Buying a Flat Roof Window

Where on the Roof?

Positioning is everything when it comes to purchasing a flat roof window, and you’ll need to be constantly thinking about this when choosing and installing yours. As far as outside positioning is concerned, you’ll want to avoid any other features of your roof such as vents and electrical wiring. You’ll also want to make sure that it is placed in an area of your roof that enjoys as much sunlight as possible – this is especially important if you’re placing it on an extension that may be joined to a larger, taller building.

Where in the House?

Perhaps just as important as choosing the right location outside, is deciding on the area inside that will benefit from the light the most. You’ll want a room that is used frequently, or perhaps one that is poorly lit by artificial lighting, especially during the day. Alternatively, you may want to position your flat roof window over a corridor, or another room that will not only benefit from additional lighting but can allow sunlight into other rooms as well by opening neighbouring doors.

What Size?

There are many different sizes on offer when it comes to windows. From the very small options of just 30 centimetres to giant models that are metres in length and width. You’ll want to think carefully about the weight-supporting capabilities of your roof if you are thinking of incorporating a larger make, especially if it is a roof lantern. But what is a roof lantern?

Rooflight or Roof Lantern?

The standard flat roof window is also known as a roof light (or skylight). A roof lantern is very different – while technically still a flat roof window, they are much larger and more grandiose, usually serving as miniature structures all by themselves. If you are considering a roof lantern, you will need to do plenty of research into the structural integrity of your building as well as your local planning permission rules.

Do I need Planning Permission?

This is another important factor you’ll need to look into. Planning permission rules and regulations can and do vary up and down the country. However, most roof lights (not roof lanterns) are designed to be as discreet as can be in most cases, and such shouldn’t require planning permission. However, it is always best to check with your local regulatory body (usually the local planning authority) to confirm this.

Types of Flat Roof Window


domed roof window

Domed roof light use curved panes as opposed to flat ones. Because of this, they are usually constructed from polycarbonate instead of glass. There are many different types of domed roof windows available, including those that open up and those that stay fixed shut. They also come in many shapes and sizes, with different types of tinted pane.

Flat Glass

flat glass window

As the name would suggest, these windows usually utilise glass, though this is not always the case. The definitive standout feature of these windows is undoubtedly the flat pane, which allows for even more subtlety when viewed from the outside. They come in a range of sizes, glazing types and thicknesses, with specialised models even allowing for foot traffic to travel over them.

Roof Lanterns

roof lantern

As mentioned above, roof lanterns are usually very large flat roof windows that cover a great area, usually taking up tens of square metres. They are much more complex than other roof windows, and you should definitely consult a professional if you are looking at purchasing one. However, they are without a doubt the grandest type of roof window available on the market.

Sun Tunnels

sun tunnel

These roof windows are interesting in that they allow you to let in sunlight through your loft and into the rooms below. They do this by utilising a tunnel that connects the initial window to a lower panel situated in ceiling below your loft space. Sunlight then travels down to your bedroom or corridor. Fantastic for those with some spare space in their loft.

Flat Roof Window Accessories

Once you’re sure of the type of roof window you want to install, you’ll want to consider some of the accessories that may make it easier to use and increase the benefits it provides. Most accessories are only really beneficial for those with opening roof windows, although the first in this list will make maintenance considerably easier no matter what type of roof window you have.

  • Ladders
    • Can be used to access your roof window with ease, whether to open it or to clean it.
    • Most will be free-standing, akin to stepladders or similar models.
    • Can be folded up and easily stored when not in use.
  • Electrical accessories
    • Several electrical accessories can be utilised to make your roof window operation more straightforward.
    • Remote controls, weather sensors, and solar panels are just some of the excellent additions you can apply to your roof window.
    • Some window models will come with one or two of these features already installed. Alternatively, some makes will allow for installation of these accessories at a later point.
  • Operating rods
  • The simplest accessories on this list, operating rods are simply used to open your window with ease if it is higher up than you can reach.
  • Unless you live in a building with extremely high ceilings, you won’t need both a ladder and an operating rod. Rods are easier to store, while ladders will give you more control once you reach the window (useful for installing catches and locks).
  • Operating rods are easily stored. Some are extendable, usually utilising a telescopic structure for easier handling and more straightforward storage.

Whichever accessories you choose, they are sure to help you get the most out of your roofing window, making it more easily operated, maintained, and enjoyed.

Installing Flat Roof Windows

It's a given that different roof windows require different installations. This is especially those of a larger size. However, that's not to say that any installation – whether on a flat or a pitched roof – is an easy task. Quite the opposite, it is a fairly lengthy and complex process that may see your roof exposed to the elements for an extended period of time. This is why it is so important to check weather conditions days in advance of embarking on any roofing project.

Most roof window brands supply their own instructions to help with the installation process. This is true of most – if not all – makes, especially the more well-known manufacturers. Following these steps is the best way to ensure that you end up with a window that is safe, secure, and prepared for the environmental conditions it will face all year round.

However, just because your roof window has been supplied with installation instructions does not necessarily mean you have to install it yourself. You may instead prefer to work with a professional with many years of knowledge and experience. This is a fantastic alternative for those who are newer to DIY or alternatively would simply prefer the peace of mind.

Flat Roof Window Brands

Numerous different brands offer a wide array of products and accessories. Some offer huge ranges suitable for any project under the sun while others offer more specialised makes and models. Of all the different brands producing windows, however, there are a few that stand out from the crowd when it comes to quality, pricing, and durability.

FAKRO is one of these standout brands when it comes to all things related to roof windows. While they are more well-known for their exceptional pitched roof models, they have an extensive collection of flat roof alternatives, with a multitude of sizes and styles on offer, with a particular focus on domed makes.

Mardome is a collection from Ariel Plastics, another specialist when it comes to domed roofing windows. Mardome windows are economical and resilient, with tough builds and sturdy structures that allow them to enjoy lengthy lifespans. If you need a small-to-medium-sized flat roof window, this could well be the name to look for.

Whitesales is another manufacturer with an array of different window types on offer, with everything from sun tunnels to escape hatch models under their name. They also offer many different accessories, including electrical additions that can greatly enhance the capabilities of your selected window.

Shop Flat Roof Windows Now

And there you have it – some of the key factors you’ll want to consider when picking out the best roof light for your home. As you have probably concluded, there is far more to consider than simple aesthetics or physical features, but you will hopefully now have a clearer idea of what is most important to you personally.

You may of course still have questions about flat roof windows – if this is the case, please do get in touch with our award-winning customer service team, who will be happy to help answer any queries you may have. From brands and sizes to installation tips, we’ll do our best to help you figure out the best option for you, whether it be a smaller roof light or a more visually impressive array of windows. Simply call us on 01295 565565 or get in touch using our live chat below.

Discover More