When it comes to roof windows there are now a dizzying array of options, but Dakea can be your guide. Professional Builder’s Lee Jones asks the manufacturer’s Andrew Birch what the company is doing to help the trades get product selection and installation right.
Specification is, of course, central to the success of any building project but that also means partnering with a company with the product range and support that can satisfy any requirement. With an extensive portfolio of options, Altaterra is a manufacturer that can do just that, and best of all at an affordable price.
“I was recently asked to quote for a customer who wanted to bring more light into quite a dark kitchen space,” explains Dakea Sales Manager, Andrew Birch. “It was quite a large expanse of roof and that, together with the size of the room, should always be your starting point. Generally, it’s better to have two or three smaller windows rather than one large one, and that’s what we’ve suggested to this particular client. Moreover, any area that will generate condensation, such as a kitchen, will benefit from a greater overall expanse of roof window because it increases ventilation and, in terms of material, we would invariably recommend PVC in these applications.”
As a general principle, the window area in the room should represent 20 per cent of the floor space and it follows that going beyond that figure will flood the space still further. At the same time, every job needs to be approached on a case-by-case basis, with not just the size and shape, but also the purpose for which the room is intended, what direction the windows are facing and the pitch of the roof all critical considerations – and these are far from the only factors, as Andrew reveals.
“For a tradesman, more than one unit might have increased cost implications but there is also labour to consider. In order to complete the installation safely, fitting a window of 1.2m2 or more should always be approached as a two-man job, but two or three 780mm or 980mm units can be easily handled by one person, thereby making a saving on manpower.
“The minimum pitch for any roof window is 15 degrees but that angle, and the roof material, will determine the type of flashing specified, for instance, and at the very lowest end you’d be looking to make use of a product that provides the maximum level of protection against wind uplift and water ingress, such as the Dakea Universal Flashing KUF. Similarly, the sound of rain on a window, which will increase at a lower pitch, can be 50 per cent deadened with the sound-attenuating properties of the manufacturer’s triple-paned Ultima Energy.”
At the same time, with extensions that are overlooking a neighbour’s property Building Control might insist on privacy glass, and Dakea can equally satisfy those requirements with its Opaque units, available in either wood or PVCu. In a new development in the range a high reach window has been made more user friendly with the introduction of a new Telescopic Opener Rod, part of an extensive offering of Comfort Accessories that includes blinds, roller shutters and electric openers. During the pandemic a home office has become one of the most aspirational of home improvements and, in a room where the occupant will be at a computer screen, blinds that can prevent too much light entering a room are also in evidence. In projects where a heritage look is required the external black metal covering of the Conservation unit, combined with the additional vertical glazing bar on the pane is the perfect accompaniment.
For a builder, access to the available resources to specify exactly the right product is clearly going to result in a satisfied customer but Dakea is also working hard with its trade customers to smooth the fitting. It is recognised as industry best practice to install an additional water barrier in the shape of an RUC Roofing Underfelt Foil Collar, for example, and all of the products that make up the Better and Ultima models are supplied with this one piece, no joint installation accessory that ensures watertightness. Similarly, a pre-cut Insulation Foam Collar saves time and facilitates a better finish.
“Across the range we’ve got more or less the answer to any request,” concludes Andrew. “What we want to do is partner with installers to help the homeowner achieve exactly the finish they envisaged. Our Installer App promotes best practice at every stage and will link the installer with instructional installation videos. For tradespeople embarking on their first install we can organise a visit from our technical team, and we’re also looking at developing an approved installer scheme.”
For more information on the range of roof windows from Dakea, visit https://dakea.co.uk/products/roof-windows/