The Difference Between Roof Windows and Skylights

Feb 19, 2018

The Difference Between Roof Windows and Skylights

Skylights and roof windows have become increasingly popular this year, as they are great for maximising your room space, add natural lighting, and offer an energy efficient solution. However, it is common among homeowners to think that skylights and roof windows are one and the same. Although they serve similar purposes, they each have their differences.

Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the difference between the two, which is key to selecting the right product for your roof.

Roof Windows

A roof window is a type of window that’s fixed into your roof. It is a flexible piece of glazing and comes in a great range of options. It’s different from the skylight because it has the ability to open and close manually. Furthermore, they are designed to allow homeowners to view the outside area, as they tend to be built onto the side of an angled roof.

Roof windows must be fitted in place with the rest of the roof and are generally only available in standardised, smaller sizes compared to skylights. Also, when a loft or attic room is intended to be used as a bedroom or living space, roof windows are required in order to meet fire regulations and act as an escape window.


A skylight, by contrast, is a window usually positioned very high up, far out of reach. With that said, skylights are used in a variety of different ways and range from small home projects to large projects which can be installed on flat roofs or terraces. Modern skylights tend to save energy and can come in various shapes and sizes. They can be domed, vented, or even opened in some models, usually via a remote control device without the need to physically reach for them.

Unlike roof windows, skylights are intended to allow light inside rather than providing a view of the outdoors. Because of that, they are often recommended for loft spaces and hallways as a great source of natural lighting.