Installing Roof Windows – DIY or Professional Help?

By | 03.03.2004

The installation of roof windows is one of those jobs that may seem too big to handle for the average do it yourselfer. However, as with all good things in life getting a professional to do it for you comes with a cost. It is however still quite an advanced task, so you should be aware of some of the potential issues before you get started. Here are some high level considerations that you should take into account when making your decision.

Building Regulations

First up, no matter which way you decide to go, it will be important to ensure that the installation of your roof window complies with all applicable building regulations; there’s no point building something that just needs to be ripped out again in response to the demands of the council at a later date. Your local government authority is a good place to start, as they will be able to answer many of your questions over the phone.

Different Purpose, Different Skill

Are you planning on installing a roof window for your new loft conversion or for general ventilation purposes? Will it be a central feature of your house or will it be more of an out-of-sight functional apparatus? If you want to have a great looking roof window as the centerpiece of a habitable area then chances are you’re going to want to have it looking perfect. In this situation, it may be more appropriate to go the professional path. On the other hand, if you’re not concerned with having a perfect finish to the installation because it’s not a show-piece type environment, like in a storage attic for example, then this gives a little more credence to the DIY argument.

Instructions Will Only Take You So Far

Although a roof window that you can buy from a supplier may come with instructions, the reality is that this will only give you high level guidance. The instructions will assume that you have an advanced level of capability, and will speak in industry jargon, so be prepared for this. Furthermore, depending on the place of manufacture, there’s a good chance that a lot of the instructions will be lost in translation.

Therefore you need to be prepared to supplement the instructional guide with other sources of information. This may involve asking the supplier for additional advice or researching online or in trade manuals for professional guidance.

Shapes, Sizes and Situation

Roof windows are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, materials, and for different functional applications. So make a list of your requirements before you begin, and then find a roof window to suit your needs. This is a much easier approach than trying to retrofit your house to suit your window!

The choice of window will have some bearing on your ability to install it yourself. For example, if you choose a roof window that has the ability to automatically shut closed when it senses rain, than you’re going to need to think about a power source. This of course sits within the realms of a licensed electrical contractor, so it does add complexity to the job.


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