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Why Aren’t All Flat Roof Windows Walkable?

Flat roof skylight windows are a trendy feature, so if you are considering installing some, we urge you to do some safety research beforehand.

While it’s common knowledge most flat roof windows are walkable, there are many reasons why you can’t walk on them, like wear and tear or material usage. Let’s delve into the reasons why you should be careful when walking on rooflights.

10 Reasons Why You Can’t Walk on Flat Roof Windows:

1. It Is Installed at an Angle

There are some obvious reasons why you can’t walk on flat roof skylight windows. For example, when installing it at an angle. However, it may come as a surprise that many people inquire about why. Let us clarify why it’s not considered safe:

Skylight windows for flat roofs are not water-resistant. Not only are you distributing uneven weight, a sloped rooflight plus water is a major slip hazard. Whether you are abseiling down a building or doing some roof maintenance, it’s best to walk on the most concrete part of the building than risk falling.

2. You May Fall Through

To reduce the risk of falling through your rooflight, it is essential to shut and lock it before walking on it. Keep in mind, rooflights are designed to be closed from the ceiling, not the roof, which could damage the mechanisms.

3. It Is Fragile Because of Weak Materials

Your skylight may be walkable for minor maintenance but not for everyday use. This is likely because the material is delicate. For example, lightweight glass and polycarbonate can crack easily under pressure. However, that material may be necessary to ensure certain benefits, like ultimate brightness and mildew protection.

4. Too Much Wear and Tear

Even when specifically designed for walking, skylights are fragile. A skylight installed several years ago is subject to extreme weather conditions which may have incurred unrepaired damage. In this case, we don’t recommend walking on your skylight until a trusted installer has deemed it safe.


5. It Isn’t Flat or Is Connected to Other Windows

At first glance, your rooflight may appear flat. However, despite being marketed as ‘flat roof windows’, you might notice a small circular or oval shape sticking out of the frame. You can ask the company for project photos if you are unsure of its shape or size. In addition, walking on your rooflight could cause further damage, leading to a collapse, especially if it is connected to other flat roof windows.

6. Walking on It Means More Maintenance

Walking on your skylight increases the need for maintenance. While you need to clean excess water and debris, walking on it exposes it to even more dirt. Naturally, your shoes pick up mess from the ground which can leave remnants on your window that may be difficult to remove.

Besides the additional debris, your shoes could also leave small scratches as most shoes are not made for glass. We recommend using warm soapy water to keep them clean or a white vinegar mixture for tough stains, whereas marks may require a specialised remover.

7. Walking on It Reduces Its Structural Strength

Constant walking on your rooflight can reduce its structural integrity over the years. Even when carefully handled, the more used something is, the more damaged it becomes. Your rooflight will need to be replaced after several years, regardless of repairs or regular maintenance.

8. It Is Not Waterproof

Not all skylight windows for flat roofs are waterproof, which may sound a little silly, but it’s true. This is likely because of bad installation, low-quality materials, wear and tear, reduced exposure to bad weather, or because the sealant has worn off. So, whether you are walking on the skylight or it’s pouring with rain, it could be susceptible to leaks.

9. It Becomes an Access Point

In the event of a fire or other emergency, your rooflight can be an access point. While it may be tempting to put up a ladder and climb out to watch the stars every so often, your rooflight can only handle so many people at once and is not a club for social gatherings.

10. Weight Restrictions

It’s extremely important to know what the weight restrictions are for your skylight. It may be enough to let a single person of average weight walk across it, but may crack under heavier weight. This includes multiple people walking across it too often, simply sitting or standing on it for a prolonged period of time, carrying or dragging heavy loads over it, and animals.


Walkable Flat Roof Windows at the Rooflight Centre

With these potential hazards in mind, we encourage you to diligently research your perfect rooflight before making a purchase. Like we have previously mentioned, not all walkable rooflights are safe or designed for walking, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop your search. Read our article about why walkable rooflights are right for your application.

Here at the Rooflight Centre, we ensure high-quality products conforming with building regulations and BRE testing. We have a variety of rooflights available, both walkable and abstract. Contact us today for your made-to-measure flat roof skylight windows ensured to bring maximum natural light and optimum temperatures.

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