Making light work

By Howells Patent Glazing.

Last year, Google data revealed that the search term ‘house extension’ reached an all-time high, with homeowners seeking information at a higher rate than ever before.

A year into the pandemic this increase is unsurprising, as homeowners continue to look for ways to expand and maximise living space.

An extension is a cost-effective solution. It is cheaper than moving house, and in most instances is achievable in a relatively short time.

While search data doesn’t always translate into building work, this level of interest is telling and would indicate that many UK homeowners are seriously considering extending their home.

This is valuable insight for home improvement companies and installers as they look for meaningful ways of attracting new customers.

Letting in light is, more often than not, a major factor when planning an extension. Designers and homeowners must consider that natural light needs to pour into the extension and continue deeper into the home in order to prevent dark, shadowy spaces.

Yet, it isn’t as simple as adding more windows or increasing the expanse of glazing. To comply with Building Regulations a newbuild extension must comply with Part L, the guidance that deals with the conservation of fuel and power in existing buildings.

Approved Document L1B says that the total area of windows, roof windows and doors in extensions does not exceed 25% of the floor area of the extension, plus “the total area of any windows or doors which, as a result of extension works, no longer exist or are no longer exposed”.

While areas of glazing over 25% may be permitted under certain circumstances, the regulations say that where practical, either the U-value of the window/s should be improved or other compensating measures be applied, eg, more insulation in the roof, upgrading the boiler, or replacing existing windows with higher performance ones, all of which will improve the energy efficiency of the home and offset the resulting heat loss from the glazed areas in the extension.

But this comes with added expense. Homeowners, therefore, will be seeking the best, most efficient way of bringing natural light into their home.

Studies have shown that rooflights provide at least twice as much light than a similar sized vertical window, and three times as much as a same sized dormer window. This makes them an attractive proposition for those homeowners building a ground-floor extension.

With terms like rooflight, roof window and skylight seemingly interchangeable for many consumers, it is important that installers and home improvement companies work with manufacturers who know their apples from their oranges.

“With more than 40 years of trading behind us, we know more than most when it comes to glazing for roofs,” Tracey Jackson, business development manager for Howells Patent Glazing, said.

“We specialise in the design and manufacture of glazed products including roof lights, canopies and patent glazing bars. Now in our fifth decade we supply both commercial and domestic applications.

“Each and every roof light system is bespoke; designed and manufactured by us. This not only gives our customers added peace of mind, but it also means we can be flexible and solve even the most challenging of requests.

“All our glazed products are available for supply or supply and fit. Some, depending on the size, can be supplied ready assembled, while others have predrilled holes for a perfect fit.”

Written instructions are included with every delivery and customers can access video installation guides. The company also offers practical and online familiarisation workshops, with some available free of charge with the purchase of a corresponding rooflight.

Tracey Jackson: 01384 820060.