Glazed roof products: Picking a good ‘un

Domestic and Commercial Glazing Manufacturer, Supplier and Installer

glass rafter rooflight

Glazed roof products: Picking a good ‘un


Tracey Jackson, business development manager for Howells Patent Glazing explains the key considerations when choosing and installing aluminium rooflights.


Glazed roof products are now an essential part of the home improvement product range, particularly rooflights.  But whether you’re a fabricator looking to buy product in or an installer seeking a reliable and regular supplier, its difficult to know where to begin.


First off, you want a supplier who knows their stuff.  Beyond regular due diligence review their digital footprint.  Look at case studies and testimonials on the company website and social media.  What are others saying about them?  Read comments and check engagement against their posts as well as Google reviews, and remember, it’s hard to beat a recommendation from a trusted colleague or associate.


Nor do you want to limit your options by choosing a supplier with limited capabilities.  If they’re selling off-the-shelf rooflights and not a lot else, then this may impact your customer reach.  Look at the breadth of the range.  Do they use a systems house, or do they design and manufacture their own system, giving them greater flexibility?  This is particularly important for fabricators that are buying-in fabricated products.


Performance and material choice

Quality is also a critical factor.  Look for proven performance and independently verified test certification for weathertightness, resistance to snow and permanent load and thermal performance. 


Pay attention to material choice too.  While you may be used to supplying and installing PVC fenestration products, aluminium is gaining awareness and popularity and is truly the best option for any roof glazing solution.  Slim sightlines, durability and superb aesthetics make this a desirable, premium option for homeowners.  Then, of course, there’s the option to choose from thousands of colours and textures for the powder coated finish. 


What to include in your enquiry

Once you make initial contact a professional and reputable supplier will have the experience and knowledge to guide you through product selection, design and install.  A good supplier will put you at ease and inspire confidence.


When it comes to product selection there are some rooflights which are better suited to certain applications, but there are also many which are universal, like our Ultraline flat rooflight, for example.  This is a popular choice for both commercial and domestic projects due to its clean lines – the structure is unobtrusive yet has visual impact when viewed from within.


Installers should consider several factors when selecting a rooflight – aesthetics, what do you (your client) want it to look like, and external factors i.e., noise, light, ventilation, solar gain, location/orientation, size etc.  And  then of course, budget.  Typically, this information should be included in a formal specification and supported by detailed drawings.


As a Midlands-based rooflight and patent glazing manufacturer we work with businesses of all sizes and capabilities, providing either a supply only or a supply and install service.  For our supply only customers, many of whom are installers, we ask for drawings and/or the specification and then talk through the options.  Once this is agreed we share a quotation with a sample sketch of the rooflight.  When the order has been placed, we get in touch again to arrange delivery to tie in with the schedule of works.


Don’t underestimate the installation

Alongside after-sales technical support, we also offer install guidance.  A poor installation will impact performance and cause unnecessary call-backs; the rooflight may leak, admit draughts, and look unsightly, all of which can reduce its lifespan and potentially damage the building fabric around it.


We always recommend a rooflight is fitted by a competent installer, someone familiar with this type of product.  We provide installation guides, but this may not be the case for all suppliers.  We also offer one-day rooflight installation training in-house for those looking to become repeat customers.  Pre-recorded installation instructions are available upon request for our most popular rooflights.


Ideally, the installer/s should hold a NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Fenestration Installation.  ‘The removal and install of a rooflight window’ is an optional unit on this course.


Repeat customers are offered onsite support where we attend site to supervise the installation and highlight best practice etc.   We are not there to fit, just advise.


To find out more about Howells, its products and services, or to arrange a visit to its factory and showroom, please get in touch.


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