Roof Lanterns vs. Flat Rooflights: A Comparison

You've decided to illuminate your room or commercial property with natural sunlight. Fantastic! Whether you go with a roof lantern or a traditional flat skylight, you'll make a significant impact on the room's atmosphere and property value. You're now faced with a choice: roof lantern or skylight? Both provide plenty of natural light to your area. However, these two distinct designs have various benefits that you should think about before deciding. In this article, I will show a comparison of roof lanterns vs. flat rooflights.

So keep reading; I will discuss more on this topic. By the end of this article, you will compare which one is better for you.

Stylish modern loft bedroom with rooflights and bed dressed with brightly coloured fashionable fabrics - Roof Lanterns vs. Flat Rooflights A Comparison

Roof lanterns vs. flat roof lights: a comparison.

The first step in choosing the best roof lantern is understanding the difference between a roof lantern and a roof light. Also known as a skylight, a roof light is installed at the same angle in the structure of the roof, which can be fixed (non-opening) or sliding hinged depending on ventilation needs. A roof lantern extends the main form that hangs from the top, often in a pyramid shape, providing a beautiful architectural element to the building.

Now that we've gotten the basics down, here are five simple techniques to distinguish between a refined roof lantern and a subtle skylight.

Flat roof or pitched roof?

Flat rooflights may be installed on flat roofs; however, their smooth appearance is better suited to pitched roofs since they provide the best drainage. Roof lanterns are perfect for new or existing flat roofs with easy installation in mind.

However, because of their flat glass roof lights' ability to illuminate flat and pitched roofs alike, they are ideal roof lights for flat ceilings and skylights for pitched roofs, installed to minimize pooling.

Modern glass roof lantern or light on contemporary grey flat roof in the rain

Tight budget?

We realize (especially these days) that you may have a limited amount of cash to undertake the necessary work so that that roof lights may be a more cost-effective alternative. On the other hand, roof lanterns are more costly.

Classic or contemporary aesthetics?

Roof lanterns and roof lights work well in both modern and classic designs. Still, because orangeries became popular in Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian houses, rooftop lanterns are a common feature in these sorts of homes. Rooflights are designed to offer clean lines and minimal sightlines that complement current architectural design.

The Korniche roof lantern offers a classic wooden appearance with all of the advantages of a thermally broken aluminium construction, making it an ideal match for a heritage-inspired house. A seamless, flat roof light system may provide a one-of-a-kind flat roof light system that never looks out of place in modern glazed extensions, coupled with ultramodern bi-fold door arrangements.

You need to prioritize ventilation over lighting.

On the other hand, roof lanterns are a fixed feature and will require opening skylights if ventilation takes precedence over natural light.

You need to prioritize lighting over ventilation.

A beautiful roof lantern is required if you want the most natural light in your home. Roof lanterns create a unique focal point while also helping to save energy and keep your South East house warmer for longer by capturing all angles of light.

Since you know the comparison of roof lanterns vs. flat rooflight, now it's time to consider a few more things before buying roof lights or roof lanterns.

Stylish modern loft bedroom with rooflights and bed dressed with brightly coloured fashionable fabrics

Things to consider before buying roof lights or roof lantern 

Which way is the room facing?

Roof lights on the south-facing and north-facing sides will shed natural light into a space, while roof lights on the west-facing side will provide plenty of light. Consider the size of skylight you'll require; a larger roof light in a north-facing space may be desirable, but there's no need for an overly large skylight in a south-facing one, particularly if it's a tiny room because you don't want to heat up in the summer. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, in particular, can be harmful. Although standard glass does not block all UV radiation, many contemporary glazing materials do.

Is the roof capable of supporting a roof light or other type of roof lantern?

Skylights will not be an issue for the regular house roof's strength, but single-story extensions with a flat roof might have one that was not intended to support a roof lantern. A structural engineer will draw up a report that the Building Control department will require of your Local Planning Authority.

Do you need permission to install a skylight or roof lantern?

Glass roof lantern in flat roof. New build house

Roof lights and skylights do not require planning permission under normal circumstances since permitted development regulations apply. On the other hand, planning rules specify that any change should project no more than 150mm from the existing roof plane and that the roof's highest point should not be altered. Any building work on the roof of a residential property must comply with these standards. Other rules come into play if you are adding to or changing your home's roof. It appears that 150 millimeters should be enough for skylights.

Roof lanterns on single-story extensions may be more difficult since they could project over your neighbor's skyline, although they should also be fine because they would not be taller than the main building's roof. However, if you are unsure, it is always a good idea to contact your local Planning Commission. The other thing to keep in mind is that a maximum quantity of glass may be used within a building, but this should not be an issue.

What kind of finish, material, and design are you looking for?

Rooflights and roof lanterns are available in various materials and finishes, including aluminum, hardwood, and PVCu. Check that the up-stand, where the skylight stands, meets building regulations and that the slope is at least 3 degrees to allow rainwater to drain away. Make sure that the roof liner, also known as a roofing membrane, rests on the up-stand correctly. Roof lights are often designed with specific shapes and patterns in mind. Some ridge bars are long and may have a crest on the ridge. The ridge bar may be narrow or wide, depending on the design of the lantern. It can be advantageous if the lantern has a small ridge bar and rafters (which come off of the ridge bar).

Flat Rooflight cost and roof lantern cost

a clean, bright, attic with two windows

The cost of a roof light or roof lantern is challenging to estimate, as it will be determined by the product's size, style, and quality. Also, whether you want manual or automatic opening, whether you are paying for installation expenses or simply providing. The cost of a skylight can range from under $500 to over $1,000, while the price of a roof lantern can range from under $1,000 to over $3,000. You should contact several businesses and request estimates. Make sure you select high-quality products.