Buying Guide: Roof Lights & Regulations
A roof light or roof lantern is a brilliant addition to any building, and once installed in your home or workspace, these simple yet effective products will flood rooms with natural light and create more space.
However, before all of this is achieved, you’ll need to abide by strict building regulations and have your design approved by the necessary governing bodies before any building work can begin.
To install roof lights and roof lanterns, you’ll first need to:
- Assess the structure of the roof on which the light is being installed, altering the structure to create the necessary opening
- Ensure that the roof space is able to bear the weight of the roof light, and if not, strengthen the roof accordingly
- Guarantee that the roof light or roof lantern is energy efficient and provides adequate insulation against heat loss
- If close to the periphery of a building, the light must be fire retardant
As well as these four main factors in obtaining planning permissions and adhering to building regulations, there are three other areas of criteria that can be expanded on when planning the installation of a roof light or roof lantern.
First and foremost, the structural integrity and safety of roof lights and roof lanterns are paramount to any planning and installation process. Once measured, this process generally begins with cutting away a section of the roof to accommodate the light, usually removing part of the roof’s joists or rafters.
The section of the roof that has been cut away then needs to be strengthened with dedicated support, this is usually comprised of two pieces of timber either side of the open roof section called ‘trimmers’.
Though once not the case, it’s now required that your property is energy efficient and obtains an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). One method of bumping up your EPC rating is by ensuring that your new roof light or roof lantern is keeping in warmth and not losing heat through the glazing or openings.
Roof lanterns and roof lights will need to be in line with building regulations that relate to the conservation of fuel and power in your dwelling, i.e the amount of heat passing through your roof light.
Once you’ve ensured that your roof lantern or roof light is compliant with energy requirements and structurally sound, once installed, you’ll need to go about ensuring that your home’s latest addition is completely weatherproof.
Both the glass and the edges of the installation will require weatherproofing, a process which is generally achieved through using lead flashing or in many cases a protective kit that is often supplied with the product itself.
As well as weatherproofing, it’s also integral that the room above which your roof light or roof lantern is placed is well-ventilated. Though the main benefit of a roof light is the abundance of natural light that you’ll enjoy in your home, a roof lantern will also provide natural ventilation and a steady supply of fresh air.
It’s important that you factor ventilation into your planning and installation, as existing roof ventilation will need to be considered for effective air to flow between your new roof light and any ventilation that is already installed.