Homeowners are always looking for ways to enhance their living spaces, and one way to do that is by improving natural light and ventilation. Both roof windows and skylights meet these requirements, but which option is best for your home—roof windows or skylights?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of both window types considering factors like design, size, functionality, energy efficiency, installation, and cost.

What Exactly are Roof Windows?

Roof windows are installed directly into the roof. They come in many types—fixed, top-hung, or pivot. They are fully functional and can be opened outwardly for ventilation purposes, providing easy access to the roof or an emergency exit.

One of the key benefits of having roof windows is their ability to provide ventilation when needed. This feature can be particularly useful for emergencies or when maintenance work on the roof is required. Modern versions of these windows also come with insulation properties that help minimize heat loss during colder months.

Roof windows do have what some might consider disadvantages. One of the downsides is they tend to be pricier compared to skylights due to a more complicated installation process and the need for reinforcement. Their complex mechanisms may also require maintenance over time.

What are Skylights?

Skylight windows, on the other hand, are fixed window panels made of glass or polycarbonate that are installed on roofs to let natural sunlight flood the rooms below. They come vented or fixed in flat or domed designs.

One significant benefit of skylights is their ability to brighten up interiors without sacrificing space. They also provide fantastic views that significantly enhance any room design. Skylights tend to be more cost-effective than roof windows because they have a simpler installation process.

However, there are also some drawbacks associated with skylights. One primary concern is their tendency to develop leaks over time or if improperly installed. Limited ventilation is another issue, as fixed skylights cannot be opened for airflow. Non-insulated skylights can increase heat gain during summer months and heat loss during winter.

Comparing Roof Windows with Skylights

  Design-wise, roof windows offer versatility as they can adapt easily to various architectural styles.

  Skylights are often larger in size, making them a preferred choice for optimal natural light in a space.

  Regarding function, roof windows excel in ventilation and accessibility, while skylights offer a better outdoor view and sunlight.

  While roof windows typically have insulation features, there are energy-rating certified skylights that perform just as well.

  Skylights are generally more straightforward and less expensive to install than roof windows. Their simplicity also gives them excellent affordability.

So, Roof Window or Skylight? Which Is Best?

Ultimately, choosing between a roof window and a skylight depends on your objectives and style preferences. If you prioritize ventilation and accessibility, opting for a roof window is ideal. On the other hand, if you value natural light and lower cost, a skylight could be the better option.


When making your decision between a roof window or skylight, be sure to consider size requirements, style preferences, intended purpose, and energy efficiency. If you need professional advice, reach out to Northwest Exteriors. With their years of experience in home transformations, they can provide top-quality products and excellent customer service tailored to your needs.

Contact Northwest Exteriors for Expert Advice

At Northwest Exteriors, we understand that every home is as unique as the homeowner. That’s why our design team meets with you to discuss the perfect solutions for your home’s architectural style. Our installation team will arrive on-site to install your windows to seamless perfection while you sit back and enjoy the magnificent result!

Superior quality is our priority. We use brands and materials that are visually appealing with energy-efficient features that pay dividends for years to come.

Contact Us

Let Northwest Exteriors create an inviting home environment filled with beautiful sunlight, fresh air, and breathtaking views. Our knowledgeable team is waiting to provide you with more details about our products or to schedule a design consultation and quote.

Northwest Exteriors is the option you can rely on for a high return on your new window investment. Contact us today, and let us show you why we’re the trusted name in windows!