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Flat Versus Pitched Rooflights

Fawnbrake Avenue - Internal image of a run of neo rooflights above a contemporary kitchen - Homeowners Hub Inspiration. Helpful Guides: Flat versus pitched rooflights

Flat roof vs pitched roof extension: Which one is right for you?

When deciding which kind of roof extension you would like to install in your property, you will need to decide whether you want a flat roof extension or pitched roof extension and whether you want pitched rooflights or flat rooflights to complement it.

Which is better, flat roof or pitched roof?

There are benefits to both flat roof extensions and pitched roof extensions. Flat roof extensions are more popular than pitched roof extensions because they are cheaper. Flat roof extensions are less labour intensive and are popular with homeowners for this reason. However, depending on the style and structure of your property, and the location, a pitched roof extension may be better for you and your needs.

Is a flat roof extension cheaper than a pitched roof extension?

Generally speaking, yes. Pitched rooflight extensions take longer to install and naturally incur greater costs because of this. This is because of the amount of labour, structural alterations and materials needed, so for homeowners looking for the cheapest option for their rooflight extension, a flat rooflight extension is the preferred choice.

Flat or pitched roof extension – 5 top tips for choosing the best rooflight extension for your home

Think carefully about your budget.

Depending on the budget you have, one type of roof extension may be more suited than another. Flat roof extensions cost less and don’t always need planning permission, which also keeps costs down. Pitched roof extensions can be more expensive and labour intensive, but can offer a good amount of living space and additional light, providing you have the budget.

Consider where you live.

You may be restricted by the type of roof extension you can install based on where you live. If you live in a Conservation area, your roof extension will need to be in keeping with the surrounding properties and the aesthetic of the area. For example, you may be required to install a pitched roof extension with a Conservation rooflight to maintain the roofline of surrounding properties, as opposed to a new and modern style of flat rooflight extension that is not in keeping with the area.

Consider the size of the extension.

The amount of additional space the extension will give you will be different depending on the type of extension you have. For smaller spaces, pitched roof extensions with skylights are thought to be a better option as they offer more headspace and open up a room considerably. They also let in more natural light thanks to the pitched roof lights. This can create a space that feels larger and more open-spaced. It’s worth remembering that the larger the surface area, the more challenging it may be to install a pitched roof extension, because of planning permission concerns. Larger areas may benefit from a flat roof extension, offering more scope with fewer planning permission restrictions. Be aware that you will not benefit from additional headroom in this case.

Consider the amount of maintenance required.

Flat roof extensions generally require more maintenance because of their structural design. The flat roof can cause pools of water to form on the roof, so the roof may need to be regularly checked for any signs of water ingress or leaf debris. However modern flat roof extensions are designed to avoid this problem, with a slight tilt to naturally drain water away. Pitched roof light extensions with pitched skylights will naturally drain away water thanks to the pitched angle of the roof.

Decide on the roof material for your rooflight extension carefully.

There are different types of material available for rooflight extensions that will cost varying amounts. Your budget will help you determine what you can install, which may naturally lead to a certain style of rooflight extension.

7 Top Benefits of a Flat Roof Extension for Your Home

Cheaper average cost.

The main reason why flat roof extensions are so popular is that they are cheaper than pitched roof extensions. If you are working on a tight budget, then the best type of roof extension is a flat rooflight extension. Fewer materials, less labour and less time mean a lower cost for you!

Less time to install.

If you are looking for a renovation project that won’t cause major disruption to your home, flat rooflight extensions may be the better choice for you. This is because they take less time to install, with fewer structural changes, and planning regulations to consider/adhere to.

Less likely to need planning permission.

Applying for planning permission for your rooflight extension can be a lengthy process. With flat rooflight extensions, there generally isn’t a need to apply for planning permission as long as the structure protrudes no more than 150mm from the existing roof. Without planning permission, a flat rooflight extension, or single-storey extension must be no taller than four metres in height, and no longer than three metres in length. Please check your local planning regulations before undertaking any building work.

Offer a modern, contemporary look and feel.

Flat rooflight extensions can be added to properties to create a modern and versatile additional space. The clean and angular design keeps lines simple while effortlessly expanding your living space and extending the size of your property.

Can be less intrusive on neighbouring properties.

As flat roof extensions don’t intrude yet add more height to your property, you will have fewer concerns about bothering neighbours and intruding on their view. Flat roof extensions are a popular choice for terraced houses as they minimise interference and don’t interrupt the skyline.

Greater versatility.

Flat rooflight extensions offer greater versatility to your home. You can choose from different types of rooflight, including flat roof lights, as well as roof lanterns, walk on rooflights, or pyramid rooflights. What’s more, flat rooflight extensions can effortlessly bring together the interior of your home with the outside, and sliding patio doors or bi-fold doors are an example of a great addition to truly open up a space and transform your home. You could even install Skywalk rooflights depending on access and create a holistic experience.

Easier to maintain.

For cleaning, inspection and maintenance, flat roof extensions are easier and safer to access than pitched roof extensions. For those who want a practical and safe way to maintain their extension, a flat roof extension is the preferred choice.

The average cost of a flat roof extension

The final cost of your flat roof extension will depend on the size and dimensions of the extension, as well as any interior finishing costs. Speak to an extension company to get an idea of how much you should budget for your flat roof extension.

Cons of a flat rooflight extension

  • Less headspace inside
  • Shorter lifespans than pitched roof extensions
  • Potentially more maintenance from water ingress
  • Less energy-efficient than pitched rooflight extensions
External image of Cavendish House with Conservation Rooflights
Fawnbrake Avenue - Internal image of a run of neo rooflights above a contemporary kitchen - Homeowners Hub Inspiration. Helpful Guides: Flat versus pitched rooflights
Flat vs pitched rooflight solutions. Conservation rooflights in a pitched roof.
A conservation rooflight in a pitched roof extension
A sawtooth rooflight system using a bespoke conservation plateau rooflight on a flat roof.
Cavendish House dining room 2

Our flat rooflight range

Neo Advance® 

The Neo Advance® rooflight is an energy-efficient flat rooflight, designed for maximum performance and minimal intrusion to your home. With sleek flush design and thermal shield technology to maximise thermal efficiency, our Neo Advance® flat rooflights are the ideal choice for a contemporary space. Perfect for homeowners looking for an unobstructed view and elegant, simple design, you can explore your options with a fixed shut flat rooflight design as well as flat rooflights that open

The Conservation Plateau Rooflight 

The Conservation Plateau rooflight allows homeowners living in conservation areas to enjoy the benefits of a flat rooflight while ensuring their rooflight is in keeping with conservation regulations. It can be particularly difficult for flat rooflights for listed buildings and heritage buildings to be approved, which is why our Conservation Plateau is an incredibly popular choice for those looking to renovate their property while remaining sympathetic to a property’s traditional design. With features such as silicone edging to resemble original putty, and a traditional glazing bar, our conservation flat rooflights are approved by heritage bodies including Historic England and English Heritage.

Neo Advance Skywalk®

For those looking for an extra sense of the wow factor, our Neo Advance Skywalk® rooflights feature especially designed reinforced glazing and protective coating that means you can make a real feature of your rooflight. Featuring a durable aluminium frame, laminated anti-slip coating and triple ply laminate glass, homeowners can enjoy the latest in cutting edge design, bringing light into their home and creating a real standout feature.

The Conservation Pyramid Rooflight 

Part of our conservation range, our conservation pyramid rooflights are perfect for a flat rooflight construction with a difference. Truly opening up a space, the pyramid design allows maximum light ingress, becoming a true feature for any building. With 3mm steel creating a robust structure, our design features a protective layer and polyester powder coating to prevent wear from the elements. Similar to our entire rooflight range,  our pyramid flat rooflights are designed to offer long-lasting energy efficiency and will become a focal point for any property.  

The Conservation Lantern rooflight 

A popular choice for flat rooflight extensions, the conservation lantern design offers scope and style to any property. Naturally elevate a sense of connection with the outdoors and let natural light flood in with a lantern feature rooflight, available in a number of sizes to match your room size. Enjoy a view of the natural world in your own home, with our expertly finished lantern rooflights featuring a robust steel frame, double glazed windows and protected powder coating as standard.

5 Top Benefits of a Pitched Roof Extension for Your Home

Longer lifespan.

In general, pitched roof extensions have a slightly longer lifespan of around 50- 60 years on average. This is compared to flat roof extensions, with a lifespan of around 25-30 years on average. Pitched roof extensions last longer because of the structural design of the extension and the higher quality materials used. The roof materials used are more durable and weather resistant, using traditional roofing methods to offer longevity.

Offer a traditional look and feel.

Pitched roof extension design tends to be more in keeping with the traditional aesthetics of a property. Pitched roofs may be less juxtaposing than a flat roof extension and are more aesthetically pleasing with your existing property, offering a smoother sense of flow. Neighbouring properties will also benefit from a pitched roof extension design being similar to existing structures. Planning departments will consider this if you apply for planning permission and will take note if your designs are sympathetic to neighbouring properties and have considered the architecture of the surrounding area.

Let in more natural daylight with pitched roof skylights.

A major draw for homeowners is the amount of natural daylight their property will get from a rooflight extension. A pitched roof extension with skylights naturally lets more light in, thanks to the pitched angle of the roof, which can greatly enhance the interior of your home.

More energy efficient.

Because of the materials used and the amount of natural sunlight pitched skylights offer interior spaces, pitched roof extensions tend to be more energy-efficient and better at keeping the heat in. Carefully consider the u-values of your chosen rooflight as this impacts energy efficiency, too.

Create more headspace within the property.

Pitched roof extension interiors benefit from a greater amount of headspace within a property. Certainly, for smaller builds, this extended ceiling height can completely transform a living space. Flat roofs keep the head height the same, which can feel restricting in smaller spaces, so in this case, a pitched rooflight extension may be the suitable option for you.

The average cost of a pitched rooflight extension

The average cost of a pitched rooflight extension starts at around £40,000 and can cost up to £80,000 depending on the size of the extension, the materials used, the pitched roof lights installed and any additional costs for interior features and finishes.

Cons of a pitched rooflight extension

  • Tend to cost more
  • May require planning permission
  • May not suit existing structure
  • They take longer to install

Our pitched rooflights:

Neo® Rooflight

The Neo® Rooflight is a contemporary pitched rooflight for pitched roofs. A minimalist appearance, sleek lines and flush design make the Neo® Rooflight a perfect choice for a contemporary home. With a top-hung opening mechanism to allow homeowners to enjoy uninterrupted views and a frameless design, our modern pitched rooflight also features Thermoliner detail to manage mould and condensation. The Rooflight Co also offers optional electrical openings should you need to install a pitched rooflight in wider, open spaces with high ceilings.

The Conservation Rooflight 

First invented by The Rooflight Co, The Conservation Rooflight is an incredibly popular choice among period property owners, and the go-to choice of rooflight for listed building restoration and renovation. The Conservation Rooflight from The Rooflight Co offers the latest in modern technology while remaining sympathetic to traditional rooflight design. Our rooflight designers consistently ensure our conservation rooflights provide the latest in efficiency and quality, while ensuring our rooflights are in keeping with all requirements set by local conservation officers and building regulations.

How to maximise daylight in your home with a pitched rooflight extension

  • North-facing rooms have a more neutral colder light during the day. Rooflights can maximise the amount of light you get in a north-facing room.
  • East-facing rooms are brightest first thing in the morning, with minimal sunlight and longer shadows later in the day.
  • South-facing rooms benefit from warm light throughout the day, with the benefit of direct sunlight. This can be an issue at midday in the summer, though, as the midday sun will be very bright and direct, which can be impractical for an interior space.
  • West-facing rooms will have warm light and long shadows all day, more so in the late afternoon. Rooflights in west-facing rooms can help extend the amount of sunlight that enters your property as the sun sets.

Factors affecting flat roof and pitched roof extension costs

  • Materials used
  • Labour costs
  • Size of extension
  • Dimensions of the extension
  • Any additional costs for windows or doors
  • Any additional plumbing, electrics and gas to be installed
  • The condition of the current space
  • Architect fees
  • Any additional lighting, flooring and decorating
  • Ease of access

Thinking of a rooflight extension for your home? Explore our range of pitched roof skylight windows, skylights for flat roofs and our conservation roof lights for heritage buildings, or get in touch with a member of our team today to find out how we can help.

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