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What is the Better Alternative to Skylights in the UK

Skylights GL5 Gloucestershire Stroud Roof Windows

Natural light is very important in homes as it provides brightness, improves moods, and reduces eyestrain. However, traditional skylights come with downsides like high installation costs, maintenance issues, and energy inefficiency. There are better alternatives that overcome these limitations while still allowing abundant natural light, as highlighted by Supreme Roofing Stroud, reflecting contemporary advancements.

The Limitations of Skylights

High Installation Costs

Installing a basic skylight costs between £1,000-£2,500 including labor and building work. Larger or premium skylights can cost over £3,000. Alternatives like light tubes and sun tunnels range from £200-£800 fully installed.

Maintenance Challenges

Skylights can experience issues like leaks, condensation buildup, needed resealing, misting up, and material deterioration. This causes costly repairs and hassles over time. Alternatives are easier to maintain.

Energy Inefficiency

Skylights can account for around 25% of heat loss in winter. Alternatives like roof lanterns and sun tunnels incorporate energy-efficient glazing and tunnels to reduce heat transfer.

Better Alternatives to Skylights

Light Tubes or Solar Tubes

Light tubes funnel sunlight through a tunnel with a reflective interior to brightly illuminate rooms. They cost a fraction of skylights to install, require little maintenance, and incorporate energy-efficient domes.

Clerestory Windows

Clerestory windows are installed high on walls to allow light and ventilation while maintaining privacy. They beautifully illuminate rooms and feature energy-efficient glazing.

Roof Lanterns

Roof lanterns are essentially small glazed roof structures installed on existing roofs to allow ample light. They deliver superior aesthetics and customizable designs.

Sun Tunnels

Sun tunnels use reflective tubes to draw sunlight down into rooms through the roof. They deliver superb value and quick installation with minimal maintenance needs.


Are skylights completely outdated?

Modern skylights have evolved by incorporating triple glazing, thermal breaks, and other efficiency improvements. However, their drawbacks around costs and heat loss linger.

Which alternative is best for maximizing natural light?

For maximum light capture, roof lanterns and sun tunnels perform the best. Roof lanterns offer more customization while sun tunnels excel at distributing light evenly.

Do skylight alternatives require less maintenance?

Absolutely, the simple and enclosed design of tubes and tunnels means very little long-term maintenance compared to skylights. Just occasional cleaning is needed.

Are there any government incentives for choosing alternative options?

Yes, options like sun tunnels and light tubes qualify for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme if high energy efficiency specs are met. Rebates of several hundred pounds may be claimed.

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