Roof Lantern or Skylight – Which is Best For Your Home

Roof lights play a vital role in modern refurbishments and home extensions. Shedding light on dark rooms and bathing rooms in an unbroken glow, their ability to draw the eye and open up space earns them pride of place in thousands of homes across Britain. Developments in engineering and glazing techniques offer a full range of roof light options for today’s consumer, in a variety of patterns, finishes, and frames in a roof lantern or skylight. To find the perfect roof light for you, compare the benefits of each fitting with your needs and your home improvement goals.

Roof Lantern or Skylight

Roof Lantern or Skylight – What’s The Difference?

Roof lanterns and skylights offer separate means to get the same job done, that is to fill your rooms with the architect’s tool of choice, natural light. While similar, they differ in crucial ways.

Skylights offer simple, straightforward glazing for your roof. Essentially, skylights create a pane of glass in line with your roof, letting in the light where tiles once were. They add light without changing any physical dimensions. They generally use a centre pivot or top-hung hinge, allowing homeowners to let the heat out and let the breeze in as they wish.

Roof lanterns, on the other hand, offer a more advanced and creative roof glazing solution. They feature panes arranged in a pyramid shape, raising the roof to let light sift through from all angles.

Suit Your Roof Light to Your Roof

Skylights work best on slanted roofs, allowing views from attic rooms or peaked extensions. Be sure to consider whether a skylight might compromise your privacy from nearby houses before installing one in a bedroom or bathroom.

Flat roofs offer the ideal setting for roof lanterns, as the level aids installation. For the flat roofs in modern homes and one-story extensions, a roof lantern’s raised angle serves the dual purpose of illuminating space and helping rainwater runoff.

With angled roofs, homeowners should consider which direction the roof faces when buying a roof lantern or skylight. South-facing rooms receive the best opportunities for maximum daylight. However, gloomier north-facing rooms may need light more. Of course, the panes in roof lanterns make them omni-directional but consider whether other parts of the house may obscure the sun.

Installing a Roof Lantern or Skylight

Three installation options arise when buying a roof lantern or skylight: installing it yourself, hiring a builder, or hiring an installation firm. Selecting an option depends on your time available, your installation expertise, and how much you’re willing to spend. Some skypod roof lanterns come with detailed instructions, and even pre-drilled holes to aid installation. Paying for installation may be an easier way of ensuring a safe and high-quality roof light solution. Professionals arrive with experience, and all the required tools and treatments, including sealant and necessary equipment.

In general, skylights may be slightly easier to install, as they arrive as one pane of glass, to a sky lantern’s multiple-pane arrangement. However, other factors besides simplicity, determine the ideal refurbishment and your home’s perfect roof light.

Neither roof light should require planning permission, but it may be worth checking with your local building authority, just to stay on the safe side.

Heat Efficiency, Ventilation, and Maintenance

Again, heat efficiency isn’t specific to roof lanterns or skylights. The warmth or breathability of each roof glazing solution depends on its U-values. When selecting a roof light, pay close attention to the Uw value (the product’s heat efficiency) and the Ug value (each pane of glass’s heat efficiency).

In terms of ventilation, skylights may have an edge on roof lanterns, as their hinges let them swing open. Roof lanterns do, however, often come with opening panels or vents to keep your room aerated. Make sure you account for access and vent control when buying a roof light.

Roof lanterns generally require less maintenance than skylights, despite their more complex design. As flat surfaces, skylights let weathering residue build up and sit on the glass over time. By contrast, the steeper angles and corners in roof lanterns allow the elements to naturally clean and wash their panes. Some skypod roof lanterns also come with naturally cleaning glass finishes.

Conclusions: Price and Value

The skylight’s simple, single-pane design allows for a slightly lower purchase and installation cost. However, it plays a different role than a roof lantern, creating a different value. Roof lanterns borrow space from the sky and add it to your ceiling, creating a centrepiece feature noticeable from outside the property. This added curb-value may well pay dividends in raising your house price.