What is the difference between a rooflight and a skylight? 

Natural light is one of the most sought-after commodities in a modern home. One of the easiest ways to increase the natural light in a space is by installing a rooflight or skylight. Although they have been around since the Victorian era, they have been rapidly increasing in popularity as homeowners look for ways to increase the amount of natural light in a room in an aesthetically pleasing way.

A very common question asked by many customers is what is the difference between a rooflight and a skylight? People often ask, are rooflights and skylights the same, and is one more beneficial than the other?

There is no technical difference between a rooflight and a skylight, just a preference in terminology. They are the same product.

Rooflight definition

Different companies and installers may use both terms or prefer one or the other. Both ‘rooflight’ and ‘skylight’ refer to the same product. A glazed unit, installed in a roof, (usually flush) to provide extra light and ventilation into the room below. Rooflights and skylights are available in different sizes and styles, and depending on your exact requirements, can be conservation rooflights, or bespoke to the exact measurements and requirements of your build.

Rooflights come in a wide array of shapes and sizes in fixed and opening styles.

Why are rooflights popular? 

Rooflights, or skylights, are popular with homeowners because of the natural light they can add to any internal space. Lighter and airier spaces throughout a property can not only improve the look and feel of your home but also add value to your property. Natural light is a key factor in improving our wellbeing, too, and can help us feel at one with nature; what better opportunity to connect with nature than with a clear view of the sun and clouds above?

For extensions, rooflights (or ‘sky lights’) are often a popular choice, as they can be made to fit flat roofs as well as pitched roofs.

What types of rooflights are there?

We provide rooflights that are suitable for heritage buildings and modern architecture. Our bespoke services are provided by our in-house team of skilled designers, with an overall focus on adding value and enhancing your experience. 

Whether you are looking for flush conservation rooflights, pyramid rooflights, lantern rooflights or plateau rooflights, we have options for you to choose from.

For listed buildings that are recognised by English Heritage, you will need to ensure you install Conservation rooflights that are accepted by conservation officers and any public bodies.

Rooflights can be added to small scale domestic units, as well as larger commercial buildings.

Depending on the age of the building and any existing building specifications, the design of the rooflight you install may need to meet certain requirements. Design options such as whether the rooflight is flush, or proud, as well as the final finish and colour, will depend on the overall aesthetic you’re looking for.

Opening options are generally fixed shut, manual, traditional ironmongery, or motorised operation which include rain sensors and climate control. In particular, the Conservation rooflight requires either a fixed bracket; ironmongery or motor-powered systems to be secure. Ancillary items are fitted once internal finishing work is complete and the rooflight has been successfully installed.


A quick word about roof windows 

While we’ve now established that rooflights and skylights refer to the same product, it’s important to remember that roof windows differ slightly.

Roof windows are typically only available in standardised shapes and sizes. They are also usually smaller than rooflights and are often installed at the time of build, rather than as part of an extension or renovation. Roof windows are less popular in extensions, as rooflights tend to offer more personal scope.

Rooflights are available in bespoke measurements, and suit larger glazed units, offering a clean finish that doesn’t intrude in your home. Roof windows tend to cover a smaller surface area, so you may struggle to find the ideal roof window design for a larger space.

Are rooflights better than roof windows?  

Rooflights are not necessarily better than roof windows, they just serve a different purpose. Depending on the aesthetic you are looking for and the space you are working with, rooflights may be a better option. You can talk to our team if you are unsure of which to choose.

Letting light in 

As the main reason for being installed, it makes sense that homeowners will opt for a rooflight that maximises the amount of light that a rooflight will bring to their property. Larger glazed units can make a real feature of your home, whereas roof windows tend to be a more practical necessity as opposed to aesthetic purposes to improve day to day home life.

Flexibility and personal choice 

As well as off-the-shelf design rooflights, you can also choose made-to-order bespoke rooflights if, for example, your internal space has nonstandard measurements, or you are looking for a particular fit or style.

Our team of in-house designers will work closely with you to bring your vision to life and take initial sketches and mock-ups from an architect or yourself to transform into a bespoke rooflight. With technical expertise and a made to measure service, we can create unique sizes and shapes quickly to a high-quality standard to complete your renovation project to the highest of standards.

At The Rooflight Company, our bespoke rooflights can include features such as privacy glass, security glass, or switchable glass. Rooflights are a fantastic way to maximise the amount of natural light in a room as they let in light from directly above, making spaces look bigger, airier, and more inviting to the eye.

Case Studies - Rooflights from The Rooflight Company 

As a leading manufacturer and patentee of the Conservation rooflight, we know a thing or two about rooflights! We’ve helped bring visions to life and transform spaces old and new.

Here are some of our projects:


Artemis Barn

The conversion of a stone barn into an innovative family home located within the Peak District National Park. The Conservation Rooflight was the clear choice for Architect CE+CA Studio, meeting all requirements to ensure approval by planning officers.



Brentwood School

One location, multiple products. Installing the neo and Bespoke Plateau rooflights to maximise natural light, increase ventilation and achieve a cohesive design on a site dominated by brick buildings dating back as far as the 16th century.  



Beccles Health Centre

Natural light and ventilation were key aspects for architect Richard Bassett of LSI Architects. Including the latest technology featuring rain sensors and temperature controls for automatic operation.


Roof lanterns 

Roof lanterns add an increased amount of light to a room than a standard rooflight. This is because of their 3D nature. The increased surface area of glass allows light to channel into the room beautifully, and create a true feature in any room. Roof lanterns add height to rooms, giving the room a bigger appearance and an overall eye-catching architectural feature from the outside. It’s worth noting that as roof lanterns are 3D, they aren't suitable for pitched roofs.

Want to learn more about the type of rooflights available, and learn about the best rooflight for your project? Get in touch with our friendly team, by calling us on 01993 833 155 or discover our entire rooflight range.

Request a Brochure FAQs