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Everything You Need To Know About Roof Lanterns

internal view of pyramid rooflight

Roof lanterns are a fantastic addition to an existing house or great to incorporate into your plans for a new house design. Some of the benefits of implementing a roof lantern include:

  • Attractive and can enhance the aesthetics of your property
  • Bring in copious amounts of natural light to any room
  • Create a feeling of more space for the room below
  • Open a room up by enhancing the natural light available

Here we take a look at all the different aspects involved with making the right decision for your roof lantern, providing key advice about what to look out for and things to consider before you commit to purchase.

So, What Exactly is a Roof Lantern?

A roof lantern is very different than a rooflight. Although the terms can sometimes confuse, the difference is the shape. A Rooflight is generally flat and shaped either square, circular, rectangular, triangular or octagonal and is flat, perfect for a pitched roof. Whilst a roof lantern is an elongated pyramid, usually rectangular based with four panes of glass, two trapezoids and two triangles making up the traditional lantern shape.

Roof Lanterns vs Rooflights

There are plenty of things to consider when picking a roof lantern against a roof light, which is why we have a completely separate guide, going into depth about the key differences between the rooflights and roof lanterns.

How Much is a Roof Lantern?

Our roof lanterns range from £599 for a 700mm x 700mm pyramid style to over £5,000 for a large 5.8m long rectangular roof lantern. There really is a wide range of options and we have created a post detailing the various aspects that can affect the price of your roof lantern. Price will vary on which glass angle 20, 30 or 40 degree.

Things to Consider When Picking a Roof Lantern

Duplus frameless roof lantern


Roof lanterns are primarily designed for flat roofs. This is due to the exterior of the trapezoidal shape, which may look a little odd on a pitched roof. Flat fixed rooflights are designed for this purpose, as they work with the loft of the roof, without affecting the overall visual architecture.

Kitchens, extensions, bedrooms, lounges and even converted garages are ideal rooms for the addition of a roof lantern. Creating a beautiful sunny kitchen flowing with natural light from above can seriously enhance a living space.

There are plenty of different styles and sizes to choose from. 20, 30 and 40 degrees pitched roof lanterns provide choice when it comes to the angle of the surrounding glass and prominence of the lantern against the surrounding roof. A higher angle can slightly improve the amount of light that gets through. Wall-abutted roof lanterns allow for the structure to be fitted against a wall, so ideal for the edge of a flat roof that finishes against the external wall of another part of the building. If you are knocking through an external wall and extending, then wall abutted rooflights also allow more light into the original part of the house.

Practical Aspects

There are several areas to consider before purchasing your roof lantern. Here we will go through some of the key points to ensure your roof lantern purchase and installation go as planned:

Planning Permission – Is generally not required for a roof lantern installation as long as the following permitted development rules are followed:

  • Roof lanterns must not extend 150mm above the sloping plane of the existing roof
  • Roof lanterns must be no higher than the highest part of the roof
  • Roof lanterns positioned in a side elevation roof slope must utilise obscure-glazing
  • No roof openings, unless the height is at least 1.7m above the floor

If you live in a conservation area, planning permission may need to be sought if there are additional restrictions in place. Other designated areas, e.g. national parks and listed buildings, may also remove permitted development rights to preserve special areas of architectural or historical interest. So, it’s always advisable to get in contact with your local planning authority to be sure that your home improvement plans are possible in your area.

Building Regulations – Approval under the Building Regulations will generally be needed for the installation of a new rooflight for the following reasons:

– To install a rooflight, the roof structure will generally need to be altered to create the opening.
– The roof will have to be able to carry the load (weight) of the new rooflight. If the roof cannot do this then it will need to be strengthened.
– Any rooflight that is installed will need to prove that it has sufficient insulation against heat loss i.e. is energy efficient.
– If the rooflight is in close proximity to a boundary, the fire performance of the rooflight will need to be considered.

Structure – Installing a rooflight generally entails cutting part of one or more of the rafters or joists. The cut ends of the rafter/joist will need to have new supports introduced. This is usually achieved by fixing two pieces of timber together, which span across the new opening on either side. These double timbers are called ‘trimmers’. The adjacent rafters or joists to which these trimmers are fixed to may also need to be strengthened, as they will be supporting the load transferred from the cut rafters/joists. This strengthening can be achieved by fixing a new rafter or joist, which must also run the full length. The timber upstand can then be built up to the relevant height and weatherproofed ready for the rooflight.

Weather Proofing – Once the timber upstand is constructed, it will require weather proofing with a suitable membrane or GRP (Fibre Glass). It is best to speak with a roofing contractor regarding these procedures.

Energy Conservation – Dwellings are required to be energy efficient. A method of achieving greater energy efficiency is to take steps to reduce the amount of heat loss through glass. If you install a roof lantern or rooflight you should be aware that they need to comply with the requirements of the latest Building Regulations. This is in relation to the amount of heat that can pass through the roof lantern or rooflight, including the frame, which is measured as a U-Value. This U-value should not be exceeded. For information on the maximum U-Value allowed please refer to Approved Document L-1B, Table 1.

Installation – FENSA is not applicable to rooflights, only windows and doors. Duplus rooflights do not require a specialist to install. Although no specialist kit is required, if you choose a larger roof lantern these can be heavy requiring a crane to lift and position the unit onto the roof. All Duplus roof lanterns come pre-built and not in kit form, ensuring better security and convenience. A fitting kit is provided.

Best place to install – Although rooflights can generally be placed anywhere, there are certain elements that should be considered in choosing that ideal position. You may wish to position it in an area in partial shade to avoid the extremes of glaring sunlight or none at all. Additionally, it is not sensible to position your roof lantern on a heavily pitched roof, especially in regards to the larger roof lanterns, as a lot of strain will be put on the fittings. Although roof lanterns are naturally designed for water runoff, it may not be practical to position the lantern in an area subject to heavy water runoff.

Cleaning – Access is important if the lantern rooflight requires any repair or cleaning. An easy-clean finish can help reduce the maintenance schedule. From time to time, you will have to get up on the roof and clean the roof lantern, but depending on the location, frequency can be reduced to once or twice per year.

The Perfect Finish

To complete your perfect roof lantern purchase, you may wish to choose various finishing options. This might include:

  • Tinting – By adding a tint, the glare from the sun can be dampened. This is particularly useful in very sunny climates. The downside with tints is the significant reduction in the amount of light to the point on an overcast day, you may need to put the light on! With predominantly south-facing rooms with no other means to ventilate the room, Solar Control glazing will reduce the amount of heat passing through the glass to create a more comfortable interior.roof lantern with blue tinted glass


  • Glazing – By applying triple-glazing to the glass in the unit, it is possible to avoid the issues commonly found with conservatories where it becomes freezing in Winter and very hot in Summer, to help regulate temperature. Only use triple glazing if the whole property is triple glazed. Double and triple glazing will offer significant thermal enhancement and will help regulate the temperature throughout the seasons. Duplus offer Solar Control glass in both triple and double glazing options and will help regulate the temperature beneath as it blocks out a significant proportion of the sun’s heat.
  • Colour – Although the colour of most rooflights on the market tend to be varying shades of black or grey, the internal frame at the bottom of the unit can be white, typically to blend in with the white ceiling it is attached to. Duplus roof lanterns, as standard, are an attractive Anthracite Grey (RAL 7016), white internal, frameless, with glass-to-glass joints, which hugely improves the appearance from within the room, creating a truly stunning contemporary aesthetic. Other colour schemes are available.Large pyramid rooflight

For more information on roof lanterns, custom builds and roof lantern configuration, feel free to get in touch with one of our friendly experts via the online chat facility or give us a call on 0116 2610 710, or if you’re ready to go –  Request A Quote >>

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