Roof Lantern Buying Guide

Windows, Lanterns & Sun Tunnels
Roof Lantern Buying Guide

Roof Lanterns are a wonderful accent to any house, offering more natural light to enhance any space. When it comes to adding this extra overhead lighting to your house, you have a plethora of options with a wide variety of types and sizes, to choose from.

To help you accentuate your nights with gorgeous views of the stars and make your mornings brighter with the gentle glow of a sunrise, we’ve put together this handy article. In it, we will walk you through buying a Roof Lantern, including how to choose your style, size and more.

What is a Roof Lantern?

A Roof Lantern is an architectural structure specially designed to increase natural light in indoor spaces. Roof Lanterns introduce a more luxurious and sophisticated ambience by opening up your room to the sky and expanding the ceiling height. Virtually all rooms can benefit from this, as the increased natural light can serve to make the space seem larger. This is why you’ll often find lanterns above living rooms, kitchens and other shared spaces. Roof Lanterns are typically non-opening, although many include automated thermostatic ventilation to reduce heat build-up.

What is the Difference Between a Roof Lantern and a Skylight?

The biggest difference between the two is that Roof Lanterns generally protrude from the top of the roof whereas skylights sit snugly within the roof itself. Generally, Roof Lanterns are rectangular, pyramid-shaped, octagonal or wall-abutting. In comparison, Skylights can have various shapes, and sometimes be sliding, hinged, opening, fixed, walk-on or bi-parting.

For taller ceilings, Roof Lanterns tend to be the better option: their protruding nature allows for light to enter from almost every angle.

What are the Benefits of a Roof Lantern?

Roof Lanterns provide far more benefits to your home than just their face value.

There are many benefits to having a Roof Lantern installed within your home, check out this table below for a breakdown of the benefits.

Increased Natural Light The biggest benefit to having a Roof Lantern in your home is that it increases the amount of natural light within your home. Roof Lanterns are fantastic as they have the potential to really enlarge those smaller spaces within your home and open them up, so they don’t feel as claustrophobic.
Individualised and Unique Accents Roof Lanterns add a touch of class, elegance, and style to your living space. When making a dramatic change to your home, like getting a Roof Lantern you want it to match your own aesthetic, to add to it and not take away from it. With a wide variety of colours, shapes, and sizes you can be sure that there is a Roof Lantern out there for you. 
Health Benefits of Natural Light Not only can the increased exposure to natural light boost your immune system and productivity but it also has been proven to help with stress. A healthy dose of sun can also promote sustained sleep, keeping our body clocks balanced so that we can wake feel refreshed.
Increased Home Value Considering the visual and lifestyle perks that a Roof Lantern can provide, the price worth of a property with one can be increased by as much as 10%. Homes with large amounts of natural light are desirable for all of the reasons in this table, and so are well sought after.
Free Solar Heating One major advantage of Roof Lanterns is that they increase solar heating within your home which can be great in those colder months. Remember, however, It is worth getting blinds fitted to them so that you can keep the heat out in the summer.
Long Lasting Roof Lanterns have a life expectancy of between 8-15 years. Regular maintenance and upkeep of them can only increase their longevity.

Do You Need Planning Permission for a Roof Lantern?

If you intend to construct a Roof Lantern in your home, you ought to be conscious of the regulations of planning authorization. Roof Lanterns may require planning permission due to their height, especially if they rise over your original roofline. Although planning approval requirements vary widely across the country, it is essential to start with your local planning authority.

Thankfully, most Roof Lantern installations in the UK do not necessitate planning permission but make sure to follow the requirements below.

  • It is critical that Roof Lanterns must not exceed 150mm above the sloping plane of your original roof
  • The sky is not the limit- your Roof Lantern cannot surpass the tallest point of your roof
  • Roof Lanterns must have obscure glazing if side facing
  • There should be no roof openings unless the height is at least 1.7m above the floor

If you stay in Grade 1 or 2 listed building, we recommend speaking with your local authority or conservation officer. It is possible to have a Roof Lantern that is flush with the roof so that any exterior alteration is kept to a minimum, but this will depend on your specific property. For more information on building regulations, check out this article.

What Size Roofing Lantern Do I Need?

example of a roof lantern

A common misconception is that the bigger the Roof Lantern, the bigger the body of light is provided: this simply isn’t true. If you choose a disproportionately large Roof Lantern, it can take away from your room, rather than complement it. Similarly, a lantern too small may not add any value at all – not aesthetically and not to the eventual value of your home.

When choosing the size of your Roof Lantern, you must leave enough room for waterproofing, also ensure that there are no obstacles on the roof as this will largely affect your ability to place your Roof Lantern in certain areas. Roof Lantern sizing and room arrangement go hand in hand: you should think about what goes underneath the lantern because it will be the most highlighted by the lantern and impending daylight.

If you are struggling to find a roof lantern or are at all unsure of what size you need, we recommend consulting a professional.

What Glazing Do I Need?

Thanks to their unique size and shape when compared to most types of windows, roof lanterns require toughened glass. The vast majority of manufacturers produce roof lanterns with this specialised glass as a standard component. Looking at the values and statistics of any roof lantern compared to the average window will almost certainly prove this.

However, there are several glazing options and features for you to choose from. Your requirements and preferences will directly influence the glazing you’ll need. All roof lanterns are designed to be insulated to make up for the increased space in your ceiling they create. The vast majority of lanterns offer double glazing – those that don’t are best avoided, as they are likely to allow a great deal of heat to escape your home.

Double glazing possesses vastly increased (and, in the case of roof lanterns, necessary) thermal efficiency and noise reduction. However, if you want an even more superior performance in these areas, a triple glazed roof lantern is the choice for you. Perfect for homes in busier neighbourhoods or those looking to conserve heat at colder times of the year, they are often more expensive than double-glazed alternatives, but more than make up for this increased price tag with their additional features.

You can also choose between clear glass and solar reflective coats on your panes. These are more effective at reflecting the heat of the sun during warmer months. You can also get blue tinted versions of these, or instead go for a plainer, clearer shade.

What U-Value Do I Need?

When you’re shopping for almost any roof window – roof lanterns included – you will likely notice a figure or statistic on the product’s web page known as a u-value. In short, a u-value is a measure of how well a window is able to prevent heat from moving through it and escaping into the outside world, leaving your home that little bit colder. Remember – the lower the u-value is, the better it is able to keep your home well-insulated.

U-values used to vary wildly, but thanks to a combination of improved manufacturing capabilities and stricter construction guidelines, few exceed 1.6. This is important, as it is the maximum u-value figure set by current building regulations when adding a roof lantern to a new build.

What Frame Do I Need?

Nearly all roof lantern frames are sturdy, durable, and reliable, their physical capabilities keeping in line with their grandiose designs and impressive benefits and features. However, the frame will prove one of the more obvious components of your lantern whether you are viewing from outside or in. This is why ensuring the aesthetic of your frame works for you and your home is one of the most important aspects of choosing the perfect roof lantern.

Most roof lantern frame designs will fall into one of two categories – traditional or contemporary. Which one you choose will depend on the age, size, shape, and external/internal features of your home.

Slimline aluminium is an example of a common roof lantern frame type. It is very sleek and visually striking, but offers a more minimalist, modern appearance that will be very well-suited to many apartments and new builds, but perhaps less so in rural areas and renovations. Meanwhile, thicker, more ornate glazing bars (that can be made from a selection of different metals) are far more likely to provide you with that classical aesthetic.

What Maintenance Do Roof Lanterns Require?

Roof lanterns are unquestionably some of the larger structures that you can place on your roof, and this means that they’re more susceptible to range of environmental conditions including weather, pollution, flora, and fauna. Dropping from birds and other animals as well as dead insects, fallen leaves, rainwater and moss are all just some of the causes of a dirty roof lantern.

Luckily, roof lanterns are usually fairly easy to clean. Most models only require a clean using soapy water or a more specialised glass cleaning product periodically, sometimes as little as a couple of times a year. Whenever you are cleaning the outside of your lantern, be sure to use a ladder for safe access. Also remember to take great care not to lean on the glass, as this will damage it and leave your roof lantern potentially unsafe.

Some roof lanterns boast an easy-to-clean glass coating that works by spreading out rainwater into a larger sheet, as opposed to the multiple droplets it will usually create as it hits a surface. This leads the rain to run down the glass like a wave or river of flowing water, usually taking any dirt with it.

What Roof Lantern Brands Can I Choose From?

There are several different leading brands when it comes to roof lanterns. These manufacturers all offer a range of models, and each one boasts a great many years of experience creating roofing lanterns or windows, meaning their products remain some of the most innovative, user-friendly, and cost-effective on the market.

Atlas specialises in creating a wide range of roof lanterns, each one designed to bring exceptional levels of sunlight into the home. With grandiose models and smaller, more economical variations, they are one of the go-to names when it comes to these impressive additions to your home. They offer a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes.

Whitesales is another brand that focuses on craftmanship as well as physical capabilities when it comes to their roof lanterns. Available in multiple stunning models and colours, they have been designed to be visually versatile, suiting a wide array of home aesthetics, locations, and consumer preferences.

Korniche offer roof lanterns that can be sleek and modern or traditional and familiar in style. From installation right through to maintenance, they have been designed to prove user-friendly whether the roof lantern is being installed by a professional or cleaned by a first-time homeowner. A fantastic brand with a varied, impressive range of products.

How Much Do Roof Lanterns Cost?

Roof lantern prices vary widely. This is due to several factors including brand, size, glazing type, framing, and additional costs such as installation and maintenance. At initial purchase, a roof lantern could set you back anywhere between £800 and £4,000, with the larger, more complex lantern models proving to be the more expensive.

As you can probably tell from these potential price ranges, roof lanterns are undoubtedly some of the most expensive additions you can purchase for your roof. However, thanks to their visual appeal and practical benefits such as additional sunlight, many homeowners and buyers alike see them as a worthwhile investment, and their popularity continues to grow year on year, particularly in larger, more modern homes and apartments.

Final Thoughts

Despite Roof Lanterns being among the most expensive forms of roof lights, the numerous benefits they provide make them a wise investment; consider that your Roof Lantern will secure considerable savings on energy expenses while increasing the overall value of your house for years to come.

We advise that your lantern be installed by a Fenestration Self-Assessment (FENSA) Specialist since they can self-certify and ought to be familiar with local planning and building regulations.

Should you need any further advice, our award-winning customer service team will be more than willing to help. Simply call us up on 01295 565 565 or talk to us directly using our live chat below.

Discover More