Conservation Rooflight Maintenance Tips

Conservation Rooflight Maintenance Tips

The strength, security and versatility of metal conservation rooflights make them an attractive option. However, customers are often sold on the promise of low maintenance. After all, exciting features such as self-cleaning glass and protective coating do help to provide peace of mind of the rooflight’s longevity.

However, rooflights face a range of conditions that put them to the test. From rain, wind, hail and snow, the weather can almost certainly play a part in the longevity of your rooflight. Furthermore, different environments can also speed up corrosion, such as coastal locations with a high salt content atmosphere. In fact, if you live within 5km of the coast, then it is important to protect your rooflight with the right coating and an increased maintenance schedule.

Regular cleaning is essential to keep your conservation rooflights looking their best and functioning properly.

Conservation Rooflight Maintenance Tips

Be mindful of the material

There are two main options for metal conservation rooflights: carbon steel and stainless steel. Your choice of steel will dramatically change the amount of maintenance your rooflights require.

Carbon steel, also known as mild steel, is often used because it is a cheaper option. However, carbon steel is far more susceptible to rust. When the carbon steel is exposed to the environment, it oxidises, which causes rust. You can help to prevent this with a protective coating layer. However, if any scratches or chips occur in the paintwork, you expose the steel, making it vulnerable to corrosion.

The other option is stainless steel. This is more expensive in the short-term, but is corrosion-resistant. Stainless steel has higher chromium levels, which helps protect the steel from rusting and degradation. Arguably, due to the fact that stainless steel will not rust, the extended lifespan that it offers makes it a much more cost effective long-term solution.

Conservation Rooflight Maintenance Tips

My rooflights have a protective coating; do they need maintenance?

A protective coating such as paint or powder coating can help to ensure the longevity of your rooflight. While the protective coating helps to protect the steel, just like the paint on your car, it still needs regular cleaning, inspections and possible touch-ups to ensure it is in the best condition possible.

In the case of carbon steel rooflights, ensuring maintenance of the coating is essential to avoid corrosion. Whereas for stainless steel rooflights, maintaining the protective coating is largely for aesthetic purposes.

So, if you want to ensure that your rooflights provide a great return on investment, following a maintenance schedule can be vital – not just to protect the warranty but to ensure the rooflight’s longevity.

Conservation Rooflight Maintenance Tips

Inspecting your rooflight

Regular inspection of your conservation rooflights is crucial to identify any issues early on and prevent them from developing into more significant problems. Here are some tips for inspecting your rooflights:

  • Check the glass for any cracks, chips, or scratches that could compromise its integrity or affect its performance.
  • Inspect the frame and sashes for signs of wear, such as rust or corrosion, and repair or replace as necessary.
  • Check the weather seals around the frame to ensure they are intact and functioning properly. Replace any damaged or worn seals.
  • Make sure the hardware, such as hinges and locks, are in good working order and lubricate them if necessary.

Conservation Rooflight Maintenance Tips

Conservation rooflight maintenance

 Every 4 weeks
  • Operate the opening and closing of the window to ensure the manual winder is in good working order or that electric motors are self-lubricating.
  • Check all internal rubbers are clear of dust and debris.

These two tasks should be relatively easy to uphold for homeowners.

Every Month
  • Lubricate any manual spindles.
  • Clean windows (if not self-cleaning glass).
  • Operate gas springs to check the pressure.
  • If you have opted for a manual spindle to open and close the window, then each month should include a quick check of the motion and a spray of light oil (such as WD40) to keep it moving freely and easily without any build-up or resistance.
  • A monthly window clean can be essential to remove dirt from pollutants, rainwater, tree sap, pollen, and bird droppings if the glass is not self-cleaning. If your glass is self-cleaning, then a manual window clean only needs to happen every six months.
  • If you have gas springs, make sure to operate your window at least once per month to check that they’re working well and still have the correct level of pressure.
Every Six Months
  • Check the paint finish to ensure that any debris is cleared away and that no damage to the coating has occurred since the last check.
  • Clean any piston rods.
  • Clean any self-cleaning windows.
  • By this point, it can be important to take a closer look at your windows. Of course, it is not always easy to access your roof. So at this point, you may want to ask for professional help in giving your windows a quick check over and servicing.
  • The first thing to do is to give the windows a clean. Depending on your environment, this may simply need a light hosing. However, you may prefer to use a mild detergent and warm water for an extra clean.

To clean the exterior of your windows:

  • Brush away any dirt, debris or cobwebs.
  • Use a mild detergent and warm water to clean the rooflight, its surround and fixings.
  • Dry the whole area using a squeegee and finish with a soft, non-abrasive cloth.

To clean the interior of your windows:

  • Lay a plastic sheet below the window and brush away dirt and dust.
  • Clean the glass using a gentle cleaner, warm water and squeegee.
  • Dry the window so that it is streak-free with a lint-free cloth.

It is important to remember that you may need a specialist ladder to access the rooflight. Furthermore, you should never lean or stand on any part of the rooflight unit. If this will be a challenge, then it really is best to hire a professional cleaner.

  • Once the glazing is clean, you can then check the paint and coating on the metalwork for any signs of chipping, cracking and corrosion. If you have carbon steel rooflights and you notice paintwork damage, then it’s wise to get in touch with your installer, who can assist you in rectifying the issue before corrosion occurs. If you have stainless steel rooflights, then there is less urgency to remedy the issue, but you may choose to if it is part of your warranty or enhance its aesthetic.
  • Finally, if you have a rooflight with gas springs, then the final six-month task is to clean the piston rod with a dry cloth, such as a kitchen towel.
  • A final annual task is to check the hinge bolts are tight and then apply a very small amount of oil to the middle of the hinge and nylon washer. The oil here can evaporate quickly, so oiling the hinges at least once a year is an important aspect of maintenance.

Conservation Rooflight Maintenance Tips

What can change the maintenance schedule?

The above schedule is just a guide. However, it will need to be adjusted depending on your specific rooflights and environment. If you’re unsure what your specific maintenance will be, it is best to check with the rooflight manufacturer and installer. If you have a bespoke rooflight, the maintenance advice may be slightly different for each customer.

You may need to increase your maintenance schedule if you live:

  • Within 5km of the coast and where there are high levels of salt in the atmosphere
  • If you live on a busy road or a built-up area where there are greater levels of dirt, dust and pollutants.

Also, if your rooflight has stuck-on glazing bars, then this will need further cleaning and maintenance. Unlike genuine bars, stuck-on bars will lift over time, making it easy for dirt, water and algae to get trapped and build up.

What is a conservation rooflight?

Repairing a conservation rooflight

If you notice any issues during your inspection, it’s essential to address them promptly to prevent further damage. Here are some tips for repairing your conservation rooflights:

  • For minor issues such as small cracks or chips in the glass, you can use a glass repair kit to fill the damaged area. However, for larger cracks or chips, it’s best to replace the glass.
  • If you have purchased mild or carbon steel rooflights they may rust over time. If you notice any signs of rust or corrosion on the frame, sand the affected area and repaint it with a rust-inhibiting primer and topcoat.
  • Replace any damaged or worn weather seals to ensure the frame is properly sealed against the elements.
  • If you notice any hardware issues, such as a loose hinge or lock, tighten or replace the hardware as necessary.

Other considerations for maintaining conservation rooflights

Roof windows are often positioned in difficult to reach places, high up in the roof of a property, which can make regular maintenance and cleaning difficult.

If this is the case, then you should ensure that your conservation rooflights are made from stainless steel (especially if you live near the coast) as this will help protect the frame from rust.

All conservation rooflights should also come with a high quality paint or powder coat to protect the frame underneath. These coatings, however, are no substitute for the quality of the frame material and can easily get scratched or damaged, exposing the metalwork.

Your rooflight manufacturer should provide you with guidance relating to the specific maintenance requirements for their product. It is important to realise that failing to adhere to the manufacturers recommended maintenance guidelines and cleaning schedules may invalidate your products warranty.

For further information or to discuss your conservation rooflight requirement contact the Stella Rooflight team on 01794 745445 or email

Stella Rooflight Launches ‘The Ultimate Guide to Conservation Rooflights’ A Groundbreaking Resource for Architects & Homeowners
Stella Rooflight Launches ‘The Ultimate Guide to Conservation Rooflights’ A Groundbreaking Resource for Architects & Homeowners