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Roof Lanterns Vs Rooflights – Which To Choose?

roof lantern and rooflight

Both roof lights and roof lanterns have their benefits, but what is the difference? In what situation would one be better than the other? Here we take a look at the pros and cons of roof lanterns vs rooflights, what to look out for and in what situations each makes an ideal addition to your home.


What is the difference between a roof light and a roof lantern?

In general rooflights (or just to add to the confusion, skylights!) is a generic term used to describe a myriad of different roof-based glazing systems. This might be stock rooflights or a bespoke skylight. It could be for a large unit or a small domestic rooflight. Rooflights can be used on flat roofs and pitched roofs, so as you can see – there is no real defining factor between roof lights and skylights. In general, skylights are used more widely in the USA and the term rooflights is used more widely in UK and Europe.


Now we have the generic terms for roof lights covered, let’s take a look at the common differences between a roof light and a roof lantern:


Roof Lantern Rooflight
Aesthetics Protrudes from the roof and elegant on the eye. Some come in a range of conservation-style for older buildings. Modern, minimal appeal, lies almost flush to the roof making rooflights visually unobtrusive.
Shape Conservation and modern styling mainly rectangular, but also octagonal, pyramid & wall-abutting. Many different shapes, sizes and features such as sliding, fixed, hinged, opening, bi-parting and walk-on.
Light Allows a large amount of light with elegant visual effect, due to the angles the light protracts from. also allows more low-level light during the morning and evening. Lets light enter directly into the room through a flat panel and allows the most direct sunlight through. Low-level light is less beneficial with flat rooflights.
Price Roof lanterns tend to be slightly more expensive per square metre than the rooflight counterparts Rooflights are slightly cheaper per square metre, however, this is dependent on shape, size and features (sliding/walk-on etc)
Size There are many sizes available. Duplus provide a maximum roof lantern size of 2000mm x 5800mm Many manufacturers have stock or custom sizing. Duplus provide a maximum rooflight size of:
Fixed 2000mm x 3000mm
Sliding 2000mm x 2000mm
Hinged 3000mm x 1000mm
Bi-Parting 2000mm x 4000mm
Walk on 1200mm x 2200mm
Circular 2000mm diameter
Ventilation Some roof lanterns have opening options to help with ventilation, although ours do not provide an opening option. Rooflights have a far larger choice in terms of opening options including manual and electric, as well as biparting options. Hinged opening rooflights provide ventilation, whilst sliding rooflights provide ventilation and access.
Cleaning Due to the pitch of the pyramid-shaped glass, water will run off the roof lantern easily Flat rooflights need to be cleaned more regularly, however ‘self-cleaning’ finishes can help disperse water in addition to pitched roofs.
Installation Some companies provide roof lanterns in a kit form, making assembly difficult if you are unfamiliar. However, Duplus roof lanterns are provided fully-assembled. Most rooflights are provided as a fully-assembled panel ready to install onto the roof. Duplus rooflights also come with a simple fixing kit.
Planning Planning is generally not required for roof lanterns or rooflights as long as they adhere to the following criteria:

  • Must not project more than 150 millimetres from the plane of the existing roof slope.
  • Must not exceed the height of the existing roof.
  • Side-facing windows must be obscure-glazed; and, if opening, to be 1.7 metres above the floor of the room in which they are installed.

See the government planning portal for more information.



Let’s take a look at photos of a Roof Lantern:




  • The roof lantern protrudes from the roof, adding to the architecture of the building.
  • Each pain of glass is held together by a watertight and airtight seal, reducing heat loss. Structurally bonded joints with high resistance to condensation.
  • Duplus roof lanterns are frameless, providing enhanced thermal properties, meaning your home stays warmer.
  • Ultra slim sightlines to maximise natural daylight and no chunky glazing bars!
  • Different finishes are available and for hot climates. Tinted glass helps reduce sunlight and glare.


Now let’s take a look at photos of a Rooflight:




  • The rooflight lies fairly flush against the roof, not affecting the overall shape of the roof or architecture.
  • There are no visible internal joints, due to the rooflight being a single pane of glass.
  • Thermal and insulation properties always adhere to UK building regulations. Duplus rooflights exceed current UK building regulations.
  • Units are always supplied fully assembled. Here at Duplus, we provide all our roof lanterns and rooflights with simple fitting kits for easy installation.
  • Different shapes and sizes are available including bi-parting, hinged, sliding, circular, fixed, walk-on and opening rooflights in a range of finishes and glass coatings.


See Below For Ideal Solutions In Each Circumstance:


Great For: Roof Lantern Fixed Rooflight Circular Rooflight Sliding Rooflight Hinged Rooflight
Pitched Roof x x x
Flat Roof x x x x x
Maximise Light x
x x x
Large Area x x x
Ventilation x x
Cleaning x x
Price x


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