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What Is the Window on the Ceiling of a House Called?

Internal view of skylight

Ceiling windows can be an elegant addition to any home or office, offering a huge variety of lighting solutions that are cost-effective, reliable, and can improve the overall safety of your building. But what is a window in a roof called?

Typically, windows on roofs fall under the categories of rooflights and skylights, roof windows, and roof lanterns, as the main purpose of these windows is to provide natural lighting for your room throughout the day, which can increase energy efficiency.

Windows that are situated on the side of a building will only benefit from directional sunlight, meaning you will still require additional lighting options, such as lamps or strip lights, to maintain optimal light levels within your room. Regardless of the types of roof windows that you opt for, you may also wish to cover them in the summer, as the sunlight tends to noticeably warm up the room.

This is particularly important to bear in mind when assessing your lighting needs, not just as a cost-effective solution, but also as an issue of health & safety that can affect the physical and mental well-being of yourself or your staff. 

Recent studies have focused on the negative effects of unnatural lighting from screens and lightbulbs. According to research by Dr. Pragya Agarwal, over 80% of participating office workers stated that poor lighting can negatively affect both their mental state and productivity levels. 

Types of windows on roofs

Windows on roofs are known by a variety of names – rooflights, skylights, roof windows, and roof lanterns – but they all share a similar purpose. They allow sunlight to enter from above, meaning your room will stay naturally lit for longer periods of the day, rather than relying on a vertically placed window facing the sun.

You will find all terms used interchangeably on the internet. But is there any difference? 

Rooflights and skylights

Technically, flat roof skylights and fixed roof lights are very similar in design. They tend to be individual, fixed units that cannot be opened or closed and usually incorporate a kerb system or a plastic or timber upstand to support the glass and ensure the unit is weatherproof. They are also set at a slight angle to ensure that rainwater drains off the window, rather than pooling and evaporating to leave unsightly marks. 

Rooflights and skylights can be added to various rooms around the property, including garages, with kitchen skylights being particularly popular.

Learn more in our complete guide to rooflights and skylights.

Roof windows

The term ‘roof window’ typically refers to glazed units that are installed to the pitch of the roof, and can feature either manual or electric opening. Roof windows, unlike fixed flat rooflights, must be CE marked and adhere to particular standards for withstanding the weather and natural wear. Roof window manufacturers should also submit a declaration of performance, which shows that the roof window is able to withstand adverse conditions such as storms and heavy rain. Roof windows are also typically smaller than rooflights and there is less flexibility with regard to shape and size.

Learn more in our complete guide to roof windows.

Roof lanterns 

Another popular ceiling window is named a ‘roof lantern’. Despite the name, these have nothing to do with artificial lighting. A roof lantern is a large roof window that extends sharply from your ceiling, adding a large angled window to your ceiling, commonly covering a large amount of roof space.

To decide whether a roof lantern is right for you, explore our guide on rooflights vs roof lanterns. You can also view our complete guide to roof lanterns.

Skylight on roof

Rooflights for health & Safety

Let’s look at how rooflights can be beneficial for health and safety.

Smoke vent rooflights

Rooflights can also be installed to improve the overall health and safety of your building. With Smoke Vent Rooflights, you can enjoy bespoke lighting options with fast and reliable safety measures in one installation. Smoke Vent Rooflights are capable of responding to excess smoke and fire by automatically opening, creating emergency ventilation safely.

Access hatch rooflights

Access hatch rooflights provide safe and easy access to roof spaces for purposes such as maintenance, storage, or as an alternative to a groundbased emergency exit, whilst maintaining the traditional look and feel of an open skylight.

Are rooflights cost-effective?

Rooflights are cost-effective and reliable for a number of reasons. Firstly, as an alternative to artificial lighting solutions, a rooflight will allow natural light to enter the room for longer periods of time, meaning there is less need for artificial lighting to increase your energy bill. A professional rooflight installation team will take into account your rooflight’s position relative to the sun in order to maximise its lighting efficiency.

This result is easier to achieve with a flat roof house, as the sun should hit the flat surface directly throughout the day. However, if you have an angled roof, then you will need to consider installing windows that face either north or south, to maximise the amount of natural light received as the sun moves from morning to evening.

Rooflights can also be thermally efficient, keeping your room cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. Modern rooflights, such as the stylish, triple-glazed flat rooflight, are an elegant way of controlling temperature and energy costs in your home and are professionally installed to meet your requirements. For more information about the cost of rooflights, you can explore our guide on rooflight and skylight cost.

Choose Toughened Glass Systems for your rooflights

As a rooflight specialist with years of experience, we’re perfectly positioned to help you choose and install your dream rooflight. Don’t just take our word for it – view our reviews and testimonials to see what clients have to say about us. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our helpful team.

Buy rooflights, skylights and roof windows

At Toughened Glass Systems, we stock a wide range of rooflight, skylight and roof window products. View our impressive collection below:


Should I choose triple or double glazing?

While both triple and double-glazed windows offer significant benefits for energy efficiency, triple glazing is the gold standard, as this keeps more heat in your property.

Can you install a rooflight on a flat roof?

Typically, flat roofs still have pitch, it’s simply very shallow. You can typically install a roof window on a flat roof, as long as it has a minimum pitch of three degrees.

Based on 210 reviews
Bob toploft
Bob toploft
I am the owner of Top loft company ltd, after reviewing reviews from various companies I ordered 2 juliet balconies from tgs arrived within 3 weeks, comunications and help was brilliant. Thanks for all your help.
Jim H
Jim H
Great service from the team. Easy to order, good buying guidance and clear install instructions for my builder. Rooflights look absolutely great! The team at TGS couldn't have been more helpful in organising a smaller delivery vehicle to help with restricted access. Highly recommend TGS.
Jack Smith
Jack Smith
Great service from a very knowledgeable company. Thanks team Toughened Glass Systems.
Paul Smith
Paul Smith
I was spending a lot of money on several rooflights so I wanted to make sure I got it right and I did. The professionalism, expertise and the quality of the roof lanterns really set Toughened Glass Systems apart.
Tyrone Eldridge
Tyrone Eldridge
There are no complaints about the experience with TGS. The entire process of ordering, supplying and delivering was flawless. I would really recommend you order your flat roof sky lanterns from these guys.
Robert Childers
Robert Childers
Best place for rooflights, they supply many different types and options. Thanks for all your support Toughened Glass Systems!
John Smith
John Smith
The glass balustrade gives us an amazing view onto the lake outside. So happy we ended up going for the frameless glass balcony from Toughened Glass Systems instead of one with posts
Louise Newsome
Louise Newsome
My job is to design the interiors for a lot of houses and a lot of times the hardest part was when the client wanted some really inexpensive rooflights that should look like some contemporary ones as well. That until I found Toughened Glass Systems and started working with them more and more. They have a lot of this kind of stuff at a very decent price, a price for anyone I can say. If you’re looking for cheap skylights for flat roofs or any types of roof lights, they probably have something for you.
Krystina Taylor
Krystina Taylor
Always kept us up to date with our order even when delayed by a few days. Great service from the start and good quality glass balcony delivered.