Useful Information about Architectural Glazing

Sliding access rooflights, what are they and how can they be used?

What Is an Access Rooflight? 

A form of skylight or aperture in a building's roof that enables access to the rooftop area is referred to as an access rooflight, also known as a roof hatch or roof access hatch. It is intended to make it safe and simple for people to access rooftop areas or enter and exit the roof for a variety of functions, including maintenance, repairs, and inspections. 

Access rooflights are usually installed on low-pitched or flat roofing, and they are made of durable materials to ensure their long life and security. They frequently have a sliding or hinged mechanism that enables them to open and close as necessary. For secure ascent and descent, access rooflights are most often built with interior stairs.  

In buildings that need regular rooftop access, including those that are commercial, industrial and residential, access rooflights are frequently employed. They provide an easy and safe way to access the roof space, making it possible to do maintenance or just take advantage of the natural lighting and ventilation from above. 

How Can an Access Rooflight Add Value to a Home? 

An access rooflight can add value to a home in several ways: 

  • Additional living space: If a roof can be converted into an external living area or garden, an access rooflight might be a useful addition to offer more space to a project. A rooftop patio, garden, or even an additional space may be created by enabling access to the roof. The project will gain usable living space, increasing its marketability.  
  • Enhanced functionality: An access rooflight improves the functionality of a home by allowing easy and secure access to a roof area. Potential purchasers who value practicality and accessibility will find it appealing as it makes maintenance and repairs easier. 
  • Natural light and ventilation: Access rooflights allow natural light to enter the building while offering access to the roof. This can improve the ambience of the area below, giving it a lighter, more inviting atmosphere. Rooflights can also be made to offer ventilation, which enhances indoor air quality and reduces the need for air conditioning and artificial lighting. 
  • Energy efficiency: Access rooflights may improve the energy efficiency of your home, depending on the design and materials used. Modern rooflights frequently have double or triple glazing, low-emissivity coatings, and thermal breaks built in to reduce heat loss. 

Sliding Access Rooflights Options 

There are various design options available for a sliding access rooflight. As these are bespoke made for each project, they can be engineered to suit the requirements of the project in terms of design and performance.  

  • Fixed-Sliding Rooflights: With the push of a button, motorised sliding rooflights can be opened and closed with ease. They are powered by an electric motor. These devices are perfect for heavier or bigger rooflights where manual operation could be more difficult. For increased convenience, motorized rooflights can be operated remotely or connected into home automation systems. 
  • Bi-parting Sliding Rooflights: Bi-parting sliding rooflights have two independent panels that slide in opposite directions and open in the middle. This arrangement provides an appealing level of openness and accessibility. Bi-parting sliding rooflights are appropriate for bigger roof space. 
  • Box rooflights: these are a style of skylight that consists of an elevated structure that has several glass panels which are rectangular or square in shape to create a 3D box that slides open. These sliding rooflights are most often used for roof access to create additional height for interior staircases.  
  • Walk-on rooflights: Specialised rooflights created to withstand foot traffic and give secure access to rooftop regions are called walk-on rooflights, also known as roof terrace or roof access windows. Walk-on rooflights are specifically designed to support people's weight and provide additional access to space. Sliding rooflights can be used within a walk on glass structure with care and special attention. Integrated glass balustrades or other protection methods can be used to protect against the fall and level change when the sliding rooflight is open.  
  • Pocket sliding rooflights: You can also design sliding access rooflights a pocket slider to hide the glass pane away when open. These are bespoke designed and will also have to consider safety and water drainage as part of the design.  

Are Sliding Access Rooflights Safe? 

Sliding access rooflights can be safe when designed, installed, and used correctly. However, it is important to take certain safety considerations into account: 

  • Structural Integrity: In order to provide enough strength and load-bearing capacity, the rooflight and the structure that supports it should be planned and built. Particularly for larger or heavier sliding rooflights, this is crucial.  
  • Installation: Sliding access rooflights must be installed correctly. To ensure that the rooflight is well fixed and watertight during installation, it is crucial to adhere to manufacturer requirements and recommendations. 
  • Safety Features: Sliding access rooflights should have the necessary safety components installed in order to avoid accidents. These could include integrated guardrails or safety barriers around the openings to stop falls. To prevent unwanted entry, locking systems or security devices can be used. 
  • Maintenance and Inspection: To maintain continued safety, sliding access rooflights must undergo routine maintenance and inspection. This involves checking the rooflight's state, making sure the sliding mechanisms work properly, and looking for any signs of degradation or damage in the seals and glazing. 

Access rooflights are continuing to feature in architectural glazing projects around the UK and across the world. If you are looking to specify a sliding access or any other glazing within your project, contact the IQ Glass team today.