New! ThermGard TG50 Roof Glazing System

  • Wide Spans
  • Low Pitch
  • Non-Fragile

Shop Online For A Wide Selection Of Rooflights

Lonsdale Roofing

What is the Difference Between Rooflights and Skylights?

What is the difference between rooflights and skylights? This is a question we commonly receive due to the surface-level similarities between the two. However, they’re actually quite different in their own rights. In this article, we will discuss why rooflights and skylights are different, the different types of rooflights, and the properties of each. 

Both rooflights and skylights offer a series of beneficial properties that will enhance the presence of light in your house, boost your well-being, and help you to save money on energy costs. But what is the difference between them?


A rooflight is a glazed unit that is usually installed on a flat or pitched roof and is fitted to the level of the tiling. They utilise a kerb system to help drain water that could damage the rooflight if left stagnant. This type of window is designed to illuminate rooms in your house with natural light, and should you opt for an opening rooflight, increase the level of ventilation in your home. 

Rooflights do not require planning permission for installation, as they are often installed flush with the roof and don’t open too far. Any significant changes you make to your home that alter the overall aesthetics of the building need planning permission beforehand. Fortunately, rooflights do not fall into this category, as they can usually only be seen from directly above or below.



The primary difference between rooflights and skylights is that skylights are more often installed on traditional-style pitched roofs than flat ones. One of the best skylight properties is the sheer level of variation between them. No two skylights are the same and tend to be made bespoke to suit the layout of your roof. 

This customisability is one of the skylight properties that make them desirable to homeowners over rooflights, which tend to be made as standard. Many skylights use an electrical system to automatically open and close the windows to alter the level of ventilation as required. By comparison, many rooflights do not open.



Types of Rooflights and Skylights

There are many different types of rooflight and skylights to adhere to different homeowners’ requirements for the existing exterior of their building and the aesthetics they’re hoping to achieve. The types of rooflights and skylights we offer here at Lonsdale include;

  • Korniche Roof Lanterns

Our Korniche Roof Lanterns are manufactured seamlessly to industry standards and regulations, using only high-quality materials to ensure longevity. We often install our Korniche Roof Lanterns in both domestic and commercial buildings and customise them in line with the requirements of the customer. 

  • Walk-On Rooflights

Walk-on rooflights are one of the only types of rooflights that are specifically designed to tolerate foot traffic. They’re manufactured with toughened glass, which is a type of glass that doesn’t crack under pressure. There are many different glass types, but only toughened glass can be used for walk-on rooflights. 

  • Opening Rooflights

Opening rooflights are invaluable for temperature regulation in the home. Not only do they provide insulation in the winter, but they also open in the summer to let in some fresh air and reduce the stuffiness of your room. They provide breathability and cosiness to any room they’re in. 

  • Electric Rooflights

Electric rooflights are most often used in rooms with tall ceilings. Whether that be your living room or a commercial space like a shopping centre. The electric components are usually controlled by a panel or remote control, which allows you to open and close the window as you please without needing to physically access the rooflight to do so.

  • Sliding Rooflights 

Sliding rooflights don’t require tracks to slide across as bifold doors do. They’re capable of supporting their own weight by using a mechanism in place of traditional tracks. 

  • Sun Tubes

Sun tubes are one of the lesser-used types of roof lights, but they’re still very effective at bringing light into a room. The tubes are reflective, which helps to direct and disperse light in your room from even the smallest of openings.




Aside from the differences between rooflights and skylights, there are some similarities, which is what leads to confusion in the first place. Aside from not being visually discernible to the untrained eye, rooflights and skylights possess a resemblance in terms of their construction. 

  • Thermally Broken Aluminium

The primary similarity between rooflights and skylights is the material they’re made from. Thermally broken aluminium is a type of aluminium frame that has an insulating material placed between the two sides of the frame. 

This insulating material helps to create a barrier between the internal and external temperatures of your home and the outdoors. This leads to better insulation overall and reduces the probability of condensation build-up. 

Many window frames are made of uPVC, a more inexpensive option, yet less effective when it comes to insulation. 

  • Glass Types

The type of glass used for rooflights and skylights is not dependent on the type of window it is used for, but on its function. As detailed above, some rooflights and skylights are used for specific purposes and thus require different types of glass to resist shattering. 

If you’d like to learn more about the different types of glass, we wrote an in-depth analysis of the topic in one of our previous blogs!


Rooflight and Skylight Properties

Rooflights and skylights have identical properties that make them suitable for enhancing light and ventilation within your home. When made bespoke, each can include a countless number of panes to cover an area of any length and width, and you can include as many or as few opening windows as you require. 

Both types of windows are suitable for commercial and residential purposes and are very energy efficient. So if you’re looking for a cost-effective solution to lower your energy bills, have a rooflight installed! 

Here at Lonsdale, we offer many different types of rooflights at competitive prices with nationwide delivery and a 10-year guarantee! Browse our range of rooflights and skylights today and contact us to order!