The Difference Between
Skylights and Roof Windows
While they both allow daylight and fresh air to flow through the roof of a home, there are a few slight differences between skylights and roof windows. And it's important to know which to install when to ensure everything is up to code when you're done.
The main difference between skylights and roof windows is that skylights are slightly more versatile. Skylights can be mounted to a curb, which offers more installation options. Roof windows, on the other hand, must be installed in the same orientation and plane as the surrounding roof at a minimum 15˚ pitch.
When we get VELUX-specific, roof windows and skylights have a few more nuanced differences. Our skylights, for example, are compatible with a wider range of blinds compared to roof windows. And our roof windows, since they're all manually operated, are not compatible with VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO.
So, are you ready to play Which to Install When: Skylights and Roof Windows edition?
What to Use When...
...You want to access the roof.
A roof window! With the exception of the Flat Roof Skylight, all of VELUX's venting skylights only open a few inches, which allows fresh air in but not much else. VELUX Roof Windows, on the other hand, open wide and some models even qualify as egress exits.
...You're replacing an old bubble skylight.
Technically either, but a skylight is your better option. VELUX's standard-sized skylights fit perfectly over the hole left when you remove a plastic bubble skylight. Depending on whether you opt for a curb-mount or deck-mount model, replacing a bubble skylight with a VELUX Skylight can take as little as a few hours!
...What you're installing will be out of reach.
A skylight. VELUX Roof Windows are all manually operated, so they're best for in-reach applications. VELUX Skylights, on the other hand, can be solar, electric, or manually operated. Solar and electric models come with remote controls to operate the skylight and blinds, while manual models come with sturdy rods to operate them when they're installed out of reach.
...You're creating a room in the roof.
A roof window. Technically either could be used here, but a roof window will offer more features for your upper-most room.
...You're installing on a flat roof.
A skylight - specifically, the Flat Roof Skylight. As we mentioned before, roof windows must be installed on a roof pitch of at least 15˚. The Flat Roof Skylight, on the other hand, can be installed on roofs with pitches between 0˚-60˚. Likewise, the Flat Roof Exit Skylight can be installed on roofs with pitches between 0˚-15˚.
...You want blinds.
Either. Both VELUX Skylights and Roof Windows are compatible with our blinds. However, VELUX Skylights will offer your customers a wider array of blind choices than our roof windows. VELUX Skylights are compatible with most every VELUX blind, whereas roof windows are only compatible with our manually operated, special order blinds that require a 3-week lead time.
...You want VELUX ACTIVE.
Skylights. Because roof windows are manually operated and are only compatible with manually operated blinds, there's nothing for VELUX ACTIVE to connect to to operate them. But VELUX solar-powered and electric skylights can be operated with VELUX ACTIVE, as can our solar-powered blinds.
Did you ever think about having the solar panel charge a battery to LED lights you could turn on after sunset, so it looks like the skylight is providing light after dark?