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Rooflight Cleaning and Maintenance Guide

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Cleaning your roof windows can help keep them in great condition all year round. Whether you have installed pitched rooflights or flat rooflights, you will need to keep your rooflights clean. Roof lanterns and walk-on skylights will also need to be looked after to ensure they’re adding as much light into your house as possible.

How often should you clean rooflights?

We do recommend that you get your rooflights cleaned by a contractor every 6 months in order to maintain your rooflights for years to come. If you decide to clean them yourself, the cleaning and maintenance tips below can ensure you clean your roof windows appropriately and safely.

Cleaning your rooflight – what you need to know

Depending on whether you have self-cleaning glass or not, there are still some generally helpful tips we can share to help you to keep your rooflights clean.

Why do you need to clean rooflights?

Rainwater staining, discolouration, bird droppings, tree sap and tree debris, as well as pollution, can all impact the cleanliness of your exterior roof window. Regular cleaning and maintenance is recommended to ensure your rooflight lasts for years to come, allowing as much natural sunlight into your home as possible. In this rooflight cleaning and maintenance guide, we cover everything you need to know about cleaning your rooflight.

Cleaning flat rooflights

Flat rooflights may require more maintenance due to the flat angle of flat rooflight design. This means that excess water can occasionally collect on the roof, although flat rooflight design is not impacted by rainwater. Regular maintenance may involve checking for moss or debris gathering on the roof. Avoid standing or leaning on the flat rooflight, unless you have installed rooflights that are specifically designed to be walked on.

Cleaning pitched rooflights

Pitched rooflights are installed at an angle, which means more debris may naturally fall away with the help of rainwater. If you do need to clean pitched rooflights, always work methodically and safely, and ensure all remnants of cleaning products are removed from both the glass and the rooflight structure when you are finished.

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Interior shot of Neo Rooflight at Wraxall yard
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The family home at Cuddymoss, Ayrshire
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Bathroom at the Double Red Duke

What is the best way to clean a rooflight?

It is essential that a risk assessment is undertaken before any work at any height is undertaken. If in doubt please contact a reputable specialist window cleaner.

  • Always use a specialist roof ladder to clean both flat rooflights and pitched rooflights, and ensure you access your flat roof safely.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners on your rooflight windows. This is because the harsh ingredients can affect the protective coatings and glass finish of your rooflights. It is best to use a  good quality glass cleaner and soft cloth, and for the rooflight structure and surrounding fixings, use warm soapy water or mild detergent and a nonabrasive cloth.
  • For the best results, avoid cleaning the glass of your skylights and roof windows in the midday sun. The sun will dry the water more quickly, which can leave more streaks and lines on the glass.
  • If you are cleaning multiple rooflights at the same time, start at the highest point, and work your way down.
  • Ensure all cleaning products are removed from the rooflight glass and structure with a non-abrasive, soft sponge or cloth.
  • Avoid using any sort of metal scraper or blade when cleaning the glass. It can be tempting to use such products to remove tough stains, but scrapers can scratch and damage the rooflight glass.
  • Wear proactive clothing as and when necessary, and take care when working at heights.
  • Alternatively, hire a reputable window cleaner.

Cleaning rooflight weather seals

All rooflight weather seals should be wiped down every 6 months to remove any buildup from tree debris, sap, dust or dirt. You can use a mix of water and a mild detergent to clean the seals of your rooflight and the sealing face of the window frame.

Cleaning the rooflight top gutter

The top gutter of your rooflight will also need to be regularly cleaned and maintained to remove any twigs, leaves or debris that is collected. Leaving these can lead to leakages to the roof window head, and chemicals from the debris can affect the paint coatings on your rooflight. Regular maintenance is advised, around every 6 months.

How do you clean conservation rooflights?

Cleaning your conservation rooflight is much the same as cleaning a pitched rooflight or flat rooflight. The Conservation Rooflight from The Rooflight Company features traditionally designed Victorian cast-iron frames, which can be cleaned and maintained using soft cloths and gentle detergents or soaps. Avoid using metal scrapers, metal wired sponges or harsh bristles on the framing or the glass of your conservation rooflight.

Cleaning internal roof windows

You should aim to clean your internal roof windows every 2-3 months to prevent dust and dirt from building up and to ensure you allow as much light as possible to stream into your home. Ensure you use non-abrasive sponges and mild soapy water.  A good quality glass cleaner can help give your roof windows extra shine.

How do you clean the inside of a lantern rooflight?

It is recommended to clean the inside of a lantern rooflight every couple of months to keep away dust and dirt and prevent buildup. To access hard to reach areas such as lantern rooflight interiors, use a sponge on a stick to assist you when cleaning. Ensure the sponge is non-abrasive and, as with all other rooflights, avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals. Use warm soapy water, good quality glass cleaner, a mild detergent and a soft cloth.

What cleaning products should I use to clean my rooflights?

You can use any good quality branded glass-cleaning product to clean your rooflight glass. De-ionised water can also be used to avoid any streaks appearing on the glass. Always use a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge when cleaning your rooflight glass, and wipe away any excess moisture with a dry soft cloth.  Avoid using any harsh chemicals on the glass, as this could damage the glass finish. A naturally soft-bristled brush can be used, but avoid scrapers and harsh bristles that will only damage the finish of the glass and the rooflight frame.

Self-cleaning glass

At The Rooflight Company, our neo® roof windows are all installed with bio-clean self-cleaning glass, which will require less cleaning than normal glass. Be sure to check with your supplier if you have installed self-cleaning glass, as cleaning and maintenance may vary.

How does self-cleaning glass work?

Self-cleaning glass works by using natural sunlight to clean the roof window and clear it of debris and dirt. Self-cleaning glass is covered with an organic compound that oxidizes and breaks down dirt using natural daylight.  The remaining debris and dirt are then washed away by rainwater. Because of how it works, using the natural angle of the roof to drain away rainwater, self-cleaning glass is not suitable for flat rooflights and works best for pitched rooflights.

How do you clean and maintain self-cleaning glass for your rooflights?

You will need to clean your roof windows far less if you install BioClean self-cleaning glass, making it an eco-friendly choice, too. Self-cleaning glass requires less general upkeep and maintenance, but check with your supplier about how often you should clean your skylight windows if you have installed self-cleaning windows.

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