Roof Lanterns Buyer’s Guide
Want to bring lashings of light into your home and create a stunning visual feature at the same time? A roof lantern is a bright idea and at Roofing Superstore we can help you decide which one’s perfect for you. Our superb range of roof lanterns is full of top brands that are well-known for their high quality finish, such a Reflex Slimline, Atlas and Korniche.
You may have an extension with a flat roof, but who said your rooflights have to be horizontal too? From dining rooms to bathrooms, bedrooms to lofts, roof lanterns are the perfect way to give small spaces a mighty impact and make your home feel lots more airy and spacious.
Choose a roof lantern and all that natural light will be channeled right into the centre of your room, meaning the rays flood into every nook and cranny. They can do wonders for your room height and, because they’re made up of multiple panes of glass, they let in up to three times more light in than a vertical window, making them perfect for darker rooms. Plus, they’re a great way to save energy thanks to all that extra light and warmth you’re getting during the day.
But these clever design features are so much more than practical problem-solvers. Roof lanterns add a real touch of design magic to your home, giving a dash of drama to dining rooms, adding uninterrupted overhead views of the starry skies at night and making your home look stunning from the outside, too.
Whether you want a traditional look or something more contemporary, privacy glass or clear glass, there’ll be a roof lantern from Roofing Superstore that’s perfect for your home. Want to know more about them before you buy? …
How much do roof lanterns cost?
Our roof lanterns at Roofing Superstore range in price from £800 to just over £3,000 and the bigger the size, the more expensive it is. Buying a standard size will help keep costs down.
This does make roof lanterns one of the most expensive types of rooflight on the market. But with their flawless good looks, incredible energy efficiency and the instant value they add to your property, they could end up being your brightest investment.
What are roof lanterns?
You may be familiar with flat rooflights that fit into the construction of your roof and can’t be seen from the outside, but roof lanterns are different. More of an architectural feature than just a window, they are made from several panes of glass that join to create a pyramid, box or elongated pyramid that rises above the roof.
A popular feature in Victorian times, roof lanterns were used to lighten dark stairwells. These days you can still buy traditional designs if you like a more ornate feel. Not your style? You’re in luck! If you’re after something more contemporary the sky’s the limit – there are numerous slim, sleek options available.
Roof lanterns are a bit like a high-tech conservatory and a skylight combined. Using a supporting up-stand known as a ‘kerb’, glass panes are held in place by glazing bars which are visible from underneath, unlike a flat rooflight. You can see these glazing bars but they’re beautiful. The more traditional styles make these glazing bars and connectors into a feature of their design, while more contemporary styles have fewer glazing bars for a sleek look that maximises the amount of light that flows through.
What are the benefits of roof lanterns?
If you’re building a new extension, introducing a roof lantern into the design has some real advantages. While the use of bifold doors in an extension adds some light, other areas of the space can look a bit dark and dreary. Putting in a roof lantern channels daylight just where you need it, for example over a central island in a kitchen, or a table in the dining room.
What size roof lantern do I need?
When it comes to roof lanterns, size matters! Go too large and it may look out of proportion, go too small and it may look odd. In reality, the shape and size you go for will be determined by the amount of roof space you have to play with. The biggest size we do here at Roofing Superstore measures a whopping 4000mm by 2000mm, which may look perfect for grand designs. But even large homes don’t necessarily need a huge roof lantern that takes up the entire roof, as this may look ostentatious.
Less can sometimes be more, so think about going for the next size down, such as our 3000mm range. In fact, the beauty of roof lanterns is that you don’t have to go too big to make a mighty impact. Even smaller options (such as our 1200mm or 1500mm roof lanterns) can let in generous amounts of sunlight from lots of different angles through the day.
And who says you need to stick at just one? Using multiple small roof lanterns can make a stunning feature. For that, think about choosing our smallest size roof lantern.
A 1750mm, 2000mm or 2500mm lantern are all perfect for medium sized roofs, but for more information, read our Roof Lantern Size Guide.
Just remember that the product sizes actually refer to the width and length of the external upstand, otherwise known as the kerb, and not the size of the hole in the roof. The eaves of the glass panes sit on the upstand with a little bit of an overhang. Here at Roofing Superstore, all of our roof lanterns come as a window and upstand so there’s no need to buy these separately.
Where’s the best place to put a roof lantern?
Of course, where you place your roof lantern is up to you, but it’s most common to see them in or near the centre of the room.
Roof lanterns can also be used to highlight features of your home, so think about your overall room layout. You may decide that you want them to run the length of your dining room table to add a dash of drama, sit over your kitchen island for more light and head height or you might want to make sure they sit parallel to your bifold doors.
Then there’s the question of which way the room faces. Placing a roof lantern in a south-facing room will clearly flood it with warmth and natural light. But because roof lanterns are able to cast light from a wider angle than flat rooflights, even north-facing rooms will benefit from their room brightening effects.
Worried your south-facing roof lantern will let in too much heat, or that all that sunlight will fade your kitchen worktop or the colour of your furniture? Luckily, the manufacturers have that covered too. You can buy roof lanterns with a subtle blue or bronze tint that not only looks attractive, but disperses light effectively to reduce any glare from the sun.
What frame should I choose?
The type of frame you choose will dictate how well it fits into your existing property. In fact, the number one question you should ask yourself when choosing roof lantern frames is, do I want a contemporary or traditional look?
For example, slimline aluminium frames give a sleek, modern feel with low sight lines. This maximises natural light without any thick glazing bars getting in the way of your lovely overhead views. However, more traditional styles use thicker glazing bars to great effect to give a more ornate, classic feel.
To make things really easy, leading manufacturer Atlas even splits its range into contemporary (boasting minimalist frames and large glass panes) and traditional (which has all the technology of the contemporary roof lantern, but with a more decorative finish).
There’s also a wide range of choice when it comes to colours, depending on the look you want to achieve. You could have black on black (a black finish outside and in), black on white (an external black finish with a cool white interior) or even grey on white (an anthracite grey exterior that’s white inside). Other options include stylish grey on grey or classic white on white.
What kind of glazing should I choose?
Roof lanterns are made of toughened glass as standard – after all, they’ll take some beating from the weather! Saying that, there are various types of glazing you can choose from, depending on your own particular needs.
While roof lanterns are designed to be well insulated, choosing double glazing for your roof lantern is a must. For maximum thermal efficiency and noise reduction, however, choose triple glazed roof lanterns – you’ll forget you live next to that busy road or under that flight path!
Clear glass is popular choice, but you can also get roof lanterns that come with special solar reflective coatings to reflect the sun’s heat in the summer – perfect if your room’s south facing. Choose from blue or bronze, depending on your taste.
Worried you may be overlooked? Then why not get your roof lantern fitted with a privacy tint? This still lets in plenty of daylight, but you cannot see in or out, making it a great choice for bathrooms or bedrooms.
Which u-value should I choose for my roof lantern?
You’ll see that all of our roof lanterns at Roofing Superstore have something called a u-value. This is the measure of how well a window stops heat from passing through it, and the lower the U-value, the better it will insulate your home.
All of our roof lanterns have excellent u-values, with none exceeding 1.6 – the maximum set by building regulations for a new building.
If ultra low u-values are important to you, the Reflex Slimline leads the way here. With some of its products having a u value as low as 0.6, it’s one of the most thermally efficient brands on the market.
What are the leading brands of a roof lantern?
Here at Roofing Superstore we stock a huge range of products from leading manufacturers Atlas, Korniche and Reflex Slimline. But what does each brand have to offer?
Atlas are famous for their motto, ‘less roof, more sky’ and have roof lanterns that come in a range of traditional and contemporary styles. They’re well-known for their ease of installation, something that’s ideal if you were thinking of putting in your roof lanterns yourself.
Korniche is one of the best known brands on the market and lead the way when it comes to technology. Their unique selling point is that they have no cold bridging, which makes them very thermally efficient, and for being strong and sturdy, with one of their largest products being able to withstand over eight tonnes without breaking.
Reflex Slimline offers clean designs with the slimmest of profiles, focusing on making sure nothing gets in the way of all that lovely daylight. Reflex products also come with self-cleaning glass and a frameless bottom edge which reduces the build-up of dirt.
How to clean roof lanterns
Bird mess, pollution, rainwater… roof lanterns are prone to a bit of grime! That’s why most manufacturers suggest giving them a clean using soapy water or a glass cleaning product every now and again. When cleaning outside, make sure you use a ladder carefully, and don’t lean on the glass.
Luckily, some products, such as the Reflex Slimline have an easy-clean glass coating which works by spreading rainwater out into a large sheet, instead of forming droplets. The water than runs down the glass, taking the dirt with it. Isn’t that clever?
Do you need planning permission for roof lanterns?
You don’t need planning permission, as long as your changes don’t exceed the highest part of your roof and remain within 150mm of the existing roof plane – something that’s not a problem if you were adding a roof lantern to a single-storey extension on your two-storey home!
If you’re worried, you could get hold of a ‘permitted development’ confirmation. This is a letter from your local council that proves your project falls within its permitted guidelines. You don’t need it to start work, but it could just give you peace of mind.
You will need building regulations approval though, and they will look for things like insulation, weatherproofing and your roof’s ability to bear the weight of the new lantern.