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What is a Conservation Rooflight?

Double Red Duke External

If you are considering restoring or replacing your rooflight, you may have heard of the term conservation rooflights. Many people might still be left asking, what exactly is a conservation rooflight, and why might you need one?

In this guide, we explain what a conservation rooflight is, the reasons you may need one, the typical features of this particular style of skylight, and more.

A conservation rooflight is a specific type of rooflight that meets particular building requirements for any heritage building or listed property. Conservation rooflights help to ensure the building’s exterior aesthetic retains the character of the original building and does not interfere with the overall aesthetic of the surrounding areas, as well as the building itself.

Why may I need conservation rooflights?

You will need to consider installing Conservation rooflights if you live in a listed property or building that is recognised by Historic England, English Heritage or The National Trust. Listed buildings that have building standards can include both commercial and domestic properties, such as loft conversions and barn conversions. Buildings in Areas of Natural Beauty may also need to install conservation rooflights to be in keeping with the area. Residents or tenants of both commercial and residential buildings need to be aware of any permissions in place or building standards that need to be met if they are considering installing or replacing a rooflight. With window design evolving continuously over centuries, regulations are in place to help ensure these insights into years gone by are maintained for years to come, demonstrating how window design has evolved over the centuries.

Conservation rooflights are also installed by homeowners who simply enjoy the traditional design, and are looking to maintain a period look and feel throughout their home. Both traditional conservation rooflights and contemporary rooflights are enjoyed by homeowners, and with plenty of styles, designs and features available, you can easily find a bespoke rooflight design that is in keeping aesthetically with your existing property.

Historic England is a public body that works to preserve and maintain historic buildings of cultural significance to ensure they are protected for years to come to preserve their condition both internally and externally. Today, there are more than 10,000 areas across the UK that are recognised by Heritage England.

What are the typical features of a Conservation rooflight?

Heritage rooflights can be characterised by several design features that work to ensure the final look of the window meets the building standards of planning and conservation officers, English Heritage and National Trust requirements.

Our Conservation Rooflights from The Rooflight Company are favoured by planning and conservation officers and English Heritage; to see how our heritage rooflights have transformed people’s homes and buildings, check out our case studies.

Conservation rooflights typically feature:

Slim clean lines

Traditional rooflights will have been simple and basic in their design, due to the tools and technology available at the time. This means that any modern design features of recent years should be avoided; slimmer, clean lines subtly complement the building, offering a clean, simple and subtle design as typical of the era.

Flush design/lower profile

Conservation roof windows and rooflights traditionally feature a flush design. This means that they are placed in line with the roofline. This gives the rooflights a low profile, that isn’t imposing, or juxtaposing the current building aesthetic. This look would be opposed to ‘proud’ design, which is when the rooflight frame would jut out externally of the roofline. Flush conservation rooflights require between the rafter installation.

Slim black glazing bar

One of the key and most recognisable features of a conservation rooflight is the slim black glazing bar that sits in the middle of the window. Designed to emulate wrought iron casements that allow for smaller glass panes in the past, the bar is a key feature of heritage rooflights manufactured today. Typically, smaller glass panes used to be far more popular, as they were easier and cheaper to produce in a time period where materials, resources and technological advancements limited options for homeowners and builders.

Black finish

The black finish is to emulate the black cast iron which was a very popular choice for traditional rooflight windows when they first emerged in housing designs in the Victorian era. All conservation rooflights should work to emulate the style of the original windows and rooflights, as different colours or contrasting white, for example, would look too modern and contrast with the overall look and feel of the building.

Top hung design

Conservation skylights are available in a number of different designs and finishes. Typically, conservation rooflight design includes either top-hung design or centre pivot. Top-hung conservation rooflight windows feature a hinge design, with the window opening externally outward, attached to the casement at the top. Centre pivot windows, meanwhile, are pivoted from the centre of the frame and are a popular design, however, traditionally top hung designs were more common and widespread.

Modern technology and traditional design

Our conservation style rooflights blend a traditional aesthetic with modern advancements, meaning our windows are made to the highest of standards featuring double glazing, draught stripping, thermal lining and steel, all incorporated into a design that respected and made a feature of the Victorian cast iron model design, such a prominent feature of buildings of the era.

Exterior Shot of the extension for Said Business School - Contractor Hub Solutions
Trapezoidal Conservation Rooflights for Derby Roundhouse - Contractor Hub: Solutions
The Coach House Internal Shot from the Mezzanine showing linked Conservation Rooflight above a dining area.
External image of Cavendish House with Conservation Rooflights
St Michael's Cottage - Conservation Rooflight on a pitched roof - Contractor Hub Solutions
Internal View of one of the Bathrooms at Double Red Duke, Clanfield, with a Conservation Rooflight installed above the bath

Types of conservation style rooflight from The Rooflight Company

The Conservation Rooflight

The original and first conservation rooflight design, our original Conservation Rooflight combines the highest modern performance standards with an authentic traditional appearance and were the first to offer the conservation rooflight design seen in so many listed buildings today.

  • Meets current building standards, satisfying conservation officer, English Heritage and National Trust requirements
  • Introduces more light into the home effectively and easily
  • Designed with slim clean lines and a low profile to match the roofline
  • Top hinged opening to maximise the space below
  • Straightforward to install
  • Available in sixteen standard sizes, with made to measure services also available
  • Designed and built in Oxfordshire

The Conservation Plateau rooflight

The Conservation Plateau rooflight is a flat roof solution for Heritage and Period buildings. They are fronted with silicone to resemble putty, and have exposed hinge posts and glazing clips.

  • Designed with slim clean lines
  • Clean internal finish
  • Straightforward installation
  • Enhanced security features available
  • The only heritage flat rooflight available due to the authentic skirt design
  • Designed and built in Oxfordshire

The Conservation Pyramid rooflight

Our Conservation Pyramid rooflights offer a unique take on an original design, bringing more height and light into a room.

  • Double glazed units
  • Robust 3mm steel design
  • Suitable for flat roof constructions
  • Available in four standard sizes as well as bespoke options
  • Glazing options include self-cleaning, privacy and solar-control
  • Frame colour-match to any RAL or BS paint colour
  • Flexible opening option for adjustable ventilation
  • Manual or electric openings

The Conservation Lantern rooflight

The Conservation Lantern rooflight style brings subtle elevation to a room, with slim design and a versatile feature for any home.

  • Suitable for flat roof constructions
  • Standard frame colours of black and white, with matching internal finish
  • Available in six standard sizes as well as bespoke options
  • Bespoke frame colour-match to any RAL or BS paint colour
  • Double glazed units with robust 3mm steel design
  • Glazing options include self-cleaning, privacy and solar-control

Which type of conservation rooflight installation do I need?

The type of installation will depend on the type of roof on your building and the window type. Most conservation rooflights will need between the rafter installation. The other installation type is on the rafter installation.

If you are unsure of what type of conservation rooflight installation you need, please contact our team. We’ll be happy to talk you through your options and help you decide the best option for your home or building.

To shop our full range of conservation rooflights, you can purchase them directly from our shop here.If you’re a professional looking for more information about our rooflight installation, you can access our resources here. Speak to us today by emailing or calling our specialist homeowner team for more information.

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