Skylights are quite popular window choices among UK homeowners. They are beautiful and a practical home improvement which can provide natural light and ventilation to spaces that might otherwise be dim and stuffy. However, like any other type of window, skylights may need to be replaced after a certain period of time. But how do you know whether your existing roof window needs to be replaced and what should you know before embarking on it?

In this article, we will look at the basics of skylight window replacement, including the different types of skylights available, their costs, and the key factors to consider when choosing a roof window replacement. Whether you are a homeowner looking to update the aesthetic and functionality of your home, or a business owner seeking to provide better working space for your employees, read on to learn what you need to know about skylight window replacement.

How do you know when to replace a skylight?

Skylights can wear out over time. They can start leaking and being less energy efficient. They may also become outdated, negatively affecting the appearance of your home. Some people choose to replace their roof windows due to aesthetic reasons, for instance when these pieces no longer match the style of the property. Others consider this step because the window is too old or damaged and is not as efficient as it used to be. 

What are the signs that indicate your skylights need to be replaced?

Here are some signs that you should look for when deciding whether to replace your roof windows.

  • Water stains or moisture around the skylight. Any leaks around the window are a clear sign that it is no longer functioning properly and need to be changed with a new one.
  • Your skylight is letting a draft in. If you think that your skylight is not as energy-efficient as it once was, then it might be time to consider replacing it.
  • The skylight gets discoloured or faded. Is your skylight no longer letting in as much light as it once did? It could be due to window discoloration or fading. You can resolve the issue by replacing the old window with a new one.
  • There are cracks or other visible damage on the window.If you notice cracks or other breakdowns in your skylight, this is a clear indication that it needs to be replaced. In such cases, it is best to act quickly because even minor cracks can lead to larger problems over time.
  • Your skylight is outdated or no longer matches the style of your home. If you feel like your existing window is too old and out of style, then you can simply replace it with a more contemporary alternative. 

How often do skylights need to be replaced?

The average lifespan of skylights can be anywhere from 10 to 25 years. However, there a several factors that may influence the longevity of your roof windows, including:

  • The type and quality of the skylight. There are various kinds of skylights and some might last longer than others. Glass skylights, for example, are considered one of the most durable types, because they are made of strong material which can withstand various weather conditions.

  • The quality of the installation. The installation process plays a significant role in the lifespan of skylights. Poor installation can lead to leaks, drafts, and other issues that can shorten the lifespan of your roof window. To ensure the longevity of your skylight, it's essential to hire a professional skylight installer.

  • Environmental factors. Some environmental factors, such as whether, UV radiation, temperature changes, and moisture can significantly affect the lifespan of the roof windows. 

What types of skylights are available?

There are various types of skylights available including fixed, ventilating, tubular, pyramid, round and custom skylights. In addition, they can be installed on different kinds of roofs such as flat roofs and pitched roofs. Many skylight suppliers also offer customized windows that are designed to suit a specific roof type.

Various shapes of skylights

  • Fixed skylights. These roof window types are stationary. They do not open but only provide roof light. They are more cost-effective option and are suitable for buildings where ventilation is not necessary. Fixed roof windows are available in different shapes, sizes and materials.
  • Ventilating skylights. Such windows can be opened to allow fresh air into the space. They can be a perfect addition to wet and moist areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. Installing a ventilating skylight is a great way to improve the air quality in the building.
  • Pyramid skylights. As their name applies, these are skylights that have a pyramid shape. They have four triangular panes of glass which connect at the central part of the window. These skylights are usually installed on curbs on flat roofs and in addition to improving the lighting, they can give your space a modern appearance.
  • Tubular skylights. These are small roof window units that use a reflective tube to bring natural light into the room. They can be a great addition to tiny spaces such as closets, bathrooms or hallways.
  • Round skylights. These skylights have a round or circular shape and are normally installed on a roof or a high wall. They can be made from various materials and come in different styles and sizes.
  • Custom skylights. These skylights can be made to suit your particular needs and preferences. You can choose the size, shape and material of your replacement window. They can be an ideal option for unusual and unique spaces.

Types of roof constructions

Skylights can be designed to fit different kinds of roofs. Based on that they can be divided into a few types, including:

  • Flat roof skylights. As their name suggests, these windows are intended to be installed on flat or low-slope roofs. They can be made of glass or polycarbonate material and might be fixed or operable. Flat roof skylights are also available in different sizes and shapes including round, tubular and pyramid. When installed flush with the roofline, these windows can give a very stylish and modern appearance to the building.
  • Pitched roof skylights. These are roof windows installed on buildings with slopped roofs. As with flat roof skylights, these windows can be made from various materials as well as in various shapes and sizes. They can provide your property with a very sleek and modern look. However, pitched roof skylights are usually more expensive due to the complexity of the installation process.
  • Customized roof windows. These skylights are designed to suit a specific roof structure. They can be manufactured in various shapes, sizes and materials. You may also choose to add some features such as insulated glass, blinds or shades, and motorized or manual opening mechanisms. However, you should keep in mind that the cost of customized roof windows is usually higher than standard skylights.

How to choose a replacement skylight?

There are many important factors to consider when choosing the right replacement skylight for you. In addition to the size, shape and material of your new roof window, you also need to take into account the architectural style of your building. Furthermore, you will have to think about the brand of your new skylight. In the United Kingdom, there are several roof window manufacturers, with Velux being one of the most well-known.

Here we will discuss some important factors to consider when choosing a replacement skylight. If you are unsure about which skylight option is best for you, it is always best to seek professional assistance.

Consider the size and shape of the skylight

When selecting a skylight, the first thing to consider is its size and shape. Do you want the new window to be the same size as the old one, or do you want to make changes? Installing the same size skylight is the easier and less expensive option. If you plan to make more extensive changes, make sure to hire a reputable and certified skylight installer. Professionals can assist you in selecting the appropriate size for your new window as well as ensuring that the modification and installation are completed correctly.

It is important to note that some changes in the window size may require roof alteration, therefore, there might be some building regulations that you may need to comply with. So before, embarking on such a project be sure to check with your local building department.

When it comes to the shape of your replacement skylight, you need to make sure that it complements the style of your roof. The shape of the roof window you choose should fit in with the overall design of your home. Also, think about the amount of light that you want to let into your space. Some kinds of skylights may provide more natural light than others.

Determine the type of skylight you need

Would you like your new skylight to be operable or fixed? What amount of natural light do you want to allow in? Do you want a more energy-efficient option? These are some important questions to consider when selecting the type of your new skylight.

If you prioritize ventilation and indoor air quality, an operable or ventilating skylight might be the better choice for you. In case you are looking for a more energy-efficient option then you may want to consider adding a fixed roof dome or pyramid skylight. The pyramid-shaped roof windows can also be an ideal choice if you want to give a more modern look to your property. Round-shaped roof windows might be suitable for larger spaces that need more natural light. Tubular skylights, on the other hand, can fit well into small areas such as hallways or closets.

The shape of your replacement skylight should be selected based on the specific needs of your property as well as your personal preferences. 

Choose the brand for your replacement skylight

There are a number of skylight brands available in the UK including Velux, FAKRO, RoofLITE and many others. Velux is usually one of the most well-known brands. The company has a wide range of roof windows and skylights suitable for private houses and business buildings. Velux roof windows are known for their good quality construction and material. However, these features come with a higher price point, so be sure to consider that before deciding whether to buy a Velux window. 

In addition to the budget, there are some other factors you may want to take into account when choosing the brand for your replacement skylight. These include quality and durability, energy efficiency, warranty, installation and so on. It is always a good idea to make some research and compare different products.

A professional installer can also help you find the best skylight replacement option for your needs and budget.

Choose the material and glazing type 

Skylights can be made from various materials including fibreglass, vinyl, and aluminium. When it comes to the glass unit, you can also choose from several different options including standard transparent glass, double-pane or triple-pane low-e glass, laminated glass and so on.

When choosing the material for your replacement skylight, you will also need to consider some factors such as energy efficiency, quality and durability, appearance as well as location. If you want to avoid heat loss and improve your home's energy efficiency, you must choose a high-quality material and type of glass. You should also look for a skylight with a high insulation value. Choosing double-glazed windows, for example, will help provide adequate insulation and result in lower energy costs due to the barrier of the three layers of glass and gas.

It is also important to consider the location of your home and how much it is exposed to the sun when selecting the material and glazing type of the skylight. If your property receives a lot of sun, you should think about using UV-blocking glazing. If your home is in a shady location, more insulating materials such as vinyl or fibreglass may be a good choice.

Consult with a professional skylight installer

When considering installing a skylight window, it is always best to consult with a professional installer. Professionals have the knowledge and experience to assist you in selecting the best skylight for your home. They are knowledgeable about the various types of skylights, their benefits and drawbacks, and can assist you in making an informed decision based on your specific needs and preferences.

The specialist will ensure that the roof windows installation is done correctly. They have the skills and equipment to do the replacement process properly and safely. Additionally, working with professionals often means that you will get a warranty on the window itself plus the installation.

How much does it cost to replace an existing skylight in the UK?

The cost of replacing a skylight in the UK can range from £500 to up to £1,500. This cost includes the window itself and its installation. There are many factors that will influence the overall cost of the project including the type and brand of the skylight, its size, shape, material and glazing, the complexity of the installation process as well as the cost of labour in your area. 

Here is a more detailed cost breakdown for replacing skylights.

Types of skylights and their average costs 

Fixed skylights can cost you anywhere between £200 and £1200, whereas the ventilating skylight cost ranges from £400 to £1500. For small roof domes, you can expect to pay around £400-£600, while larger units may cost you more than £600.

Pyramid and round skylights tend to be more expensive, costing anywhere between £500 and £2000. The prices of flat roof and pitched roof skylights may range from £400 to £2000 depending on whether they are fixed or operable. 

Please keep in mind that these are only rough estimates. The actual price of your roof window will greatly depend on its size, material, and glazing. 

Skylight installation cost

The labour cost of installing a skylight can range from £300 to £1,000 on average, depending on the size and complexity of the installation as well as the area you live. Some types of skylights may be more difficult to install, which will ultimately result in a higher price.

The hourly rate of professional window installers in the UK may vary from £50 to up to £100. In general, it depends on the qualification and experience of the company you choose to work with. Some specialists may also charge a percentage of the total cost of the skylight installation, which can range from 10% to 20% of the total cost.

Make sure to get quotes from multiple contractors and compare their prices, so that you find the best deal. Also, it is always best to work with a local installer. If you hire someone from outside the area, they will have to travel too far to get to your location. As a result, there may be additional costs involved, such as transportation.

Frequently asked questions

How much does Velux window installation cost in the UK?

The cost of installing Velux window can widely vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size and the type of the window, the complexity of the installation, and the location of the property. As a rough guide, the cost of a standard Velux window installation can range from around £500 to £1500, including both the cost of the unit and the Velux installation fee. However, this is just a rough estimate, and the actual Velux window cost can vary significantly depending on the specific circumstances of the installation.

What is the lifespan of a Velux window?

The average lifespan of Velux windows is around 20 to 30 years. These windows are known for their high quality and durability and with proper maintenance, they can last for many years. If you need a Velux window replacement for any reason, make sure you hire an experienced professional. These windows should be installed according to specific instructions and may require specialized tools or equipment.

Should you replace skylights when reroofing?

Yes, it is usually recommended that you replace skylights when reroofing your house. Replacing your roof tiles, for example, can be disruptive and may require the skylights to be removed and reinstalled. This in turn can increase the risk of damage or leaks. That is why it might be best to replace your roof windows at the same time as reroofing.

Can you replace double glazed units with triple glazed?

Yes, you can replace double glazed units with triple glazed ones. This process can be done relatively easily and at a cost-effective price. Upgrading to triple glazing can significantly improve your home's thermal performance and energy efficiency, ultimately saving you money on energy bills.