Brighten Your Extension All You Need to Know About Roof Lanterns

Natural light is a coveted element in any home. It creates a sense of spaciousness, lifts our moods, and reduces reliance on artificial lighting. But what if your extension, particularly a single-story one with a flat roof, feels a little lacking in that department? Enter roof lanterns, a brilliant solution for bathing your extension in beautiful daylight.

Roof Lanterns: Bringing the Outdoors In

Roof lanterns are essentially skylights designed for flat roofs. Unlike traditional skylights, which typically open flat, roof lanterns boast a pyramid or multi-sided dome shape, allowing for more light intake and a grander architectural presence.

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They are becoming increasingly popular, particularly as conservatories, with their large glass expanses and sometimes less-than-ideal thermal efficiency, fall out of favor.

Benefits of Roof Lanterns

There are numerous advantages to installing roof lanterns in your extension:

  • Enhanced Natural Light: The primary benefit is the abundance of natural light that floods your extension. This not only makes the space feel brighter and more welcoming but can also reduce your dependence on artificial lighting, leading to lower energy bills.
  • Improved Aesthetics: Roof lanterns, particularly pyramid roof lanterns, add a touch of architectural flair to your extension. The clean lines and elegant design complement various architectural styles, enhancing the overall look of your home both from the inside and outside.
  • Increased Feeling of Space: Natural light has a remarkable ability to make a room feel larger and more open. Roof lanterns achieve this by removing the visual barrier of a solid flat roof and allowing you to connect with the sky above.
  • Potential for Ventilation: Some roof lanterns come with opening sections, allowing for ventilation and improved air circulation within your extension. This is particularly beneficial during the summer months when keeping the space cool becomes a priority.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Roof Lantern

The frame material you choose for your roof lantern will impact its aesthetics, durability, and cost. Here are the three main options:

  • Timber: The traditional choice, timber roof lanterns exude a classic charm that complements many home styles. However, they are the most expensive option and require regular maintenance, such as painting, to ensure longevity.
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): The most cost-effective option, PVC roof lanterns are lightweight and easy to maintain. However, they might not be as aesthetically pleasing as other materials and can be more susceptible to expansion and contraction with temperature changes.
  • Aluminum: Offering an excellent balance between cost and aesthetics, aluminum roof lanterns are strong, durable, and low maintenance. Modern powder coating techniques allow for a variety of colors and finishes, making them a versatile choice. Additionally, aluminum’s slim profile allows for a more contemporary look with less frame obstructing the view.

Thermal Efficiency Considerations

While roof lanterns offer a wealth of benefits, it’s important to ensure they are thermally efficient to prevent excessive heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Look for features like:

  • Thermal Break: This is a barrier within the frame material that prevents heat transfer between the inside and outside of the lantern.
  • Double Glazing: Opt for double glazed units filled with argon gas, which is a poor conductor of heat, for better insulation.
  • Performance Glazing: Consider advanced glazing options that offer additional benefits like solar control to reduce heat gain in summer.

Additional Considerations When Choosing a Roof Lantern

Here are some other factors to keep in mind when selecting a roof lantern:

  • Building Regulations: Ensure the roof lantern you choose complies with all relevant building regulations in your area.
  • Lead Time: Lead times for roof lanterns can vary depending on the manufacturer and complexity of the design. Factor this in when planning your project.
  • Ease of Installation: Consider the complexity of installation, especially if you plan on tackling it as a DIY project. Some roof lantern designs are easier to install than others. Look for products with clear instructions and readily available customer support.
  • Warranty: Opt for a roof lantern with a comprehensive warranty that covers both materials and workmanship.

The Finishing Touch: Bringing Your Vision to Life

Roof lanterns are a valuable investment that can transform your extension. By carefully considering the factors discussed above, you can choose the perfect lantern to meet your needs and aesthetic preferences. Think about the overall design of your extension. Pyramid roof lanterns with their angled sides can add a dramatic focal point in a larger space, while smaller pyramid roof lanterns or flat roof lanterns might be better suited for a more compact area.


Roof lanterns offer a fantastic way to enhance your extension, bringing in natural light, creating a sense of spaciousness, and adding a touch of architectural interest. With careful planning and consideration of the various factors discussed, you can select a roof lantern that will bathe your extension in light and elevate its overall look and feel for years to come.


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