We speak with our Sales Manager, Rob Owens, to find out how the team combines function, form, and quality to create distinctly beautiful, bespoke roof lanterns.
A timber-framed roof lantern is an eye-catching structure; the light that it brings into your home seems to alter and move throughout the day as the sun passes over above. A roof lantern typically sits above a flat roof, and its design should perfectly balance the depth of the shelf, beam dimension and hip shape. Some are long rectangles, some are square, and some are octagonal; but no matter their scale or form, they can completely transform a room.
Rob Owens is our Windows and Joinery Sales Manager, and he is responsible for overseeing the estimating and sales department. He’ll also undertake site meetings, site measuring, processing, and project management. We ask Rob to explain the process, from the moment a client first contacts us to the day our professional teams fit the last resin finial into place…
First things first!
‘Before we do anything else, we need to understand exactly where the clients want their roof lantern in their property. Often, we fit them on the flat roof of an extension, but sometimes they go on the top roof the house or above a hallway. If appropriate, we’ll request the client’s drawings from their architect so we can work off the plans and assess how the roof lantern could be proportioned in relation to the room.’
‘We’ve been crafting timber roof lanterns for a long time, and we’ll use our expertise to make suggestions to the drawings if we feel that changes are needed. For example, we sometimes receive designs which are too long and thin or includes two smaller lanterns when one bigger one would be more suitable.
Clients are always welcome to visit
‘We often find that it helps clients to visualise all the elements of a roof lantern and to understand the impact it has on a room. We encourage them to visit our showroom in Essex so that they can see one of our roof lanterns for themselves. We’ll also include a tour of our workshop – visitors enjoy seeing our joinery craftsmen in action! We will make recommendations when it comes to adding air vents or solar glazing, which are essentials for controlling the temperature in the room below. Once all parties have agreed on a final design, we then provide the clients with a quotation.’
‘You don’t typically need planning permission for a roof lantern. Usually, our clients have them fitted under permitted development. However, it will be entirely dependent on the size of your extension or the size of your roof lantern. We’re happy to advise you if there are any concerns about sizes and what specifications suit the planning restrictions in your area.’
Installation made easy
‘A roof lantern’s production is quite a fast process that takes no more than six weeks. We cut the timber using state-of-the-art machinery, and add decorative moulding using traditional joinery techniques. Then all the pieces are spray-painted with a high-quality, microporous, water-based paint which gives the timber a protective layer.’
‘Meanwhile, the client’s contractor has plenty of time construct the extension and prepare the roof kerb (which is a bit like an upstand) for the roof lantern to sit on. We will provide the exact measurements for them to follow, so the roof lantern fits perfectly. The contractor also needs to include a water-tight roof covering to protect the timber structure against driving rain in high winds.’
‘We understand the importance of making sure that the client’s building team works to the specifications required. Our clients don’t need to worry about a thing; we can liaise with the builders and can provide additional checks to make sure everything is correct. We’re happy to offer guidance and support when required, and contractors are welcome to come and visit our workrooms to see an example of a roof lantern if needed. We’ve got plenty of resources for them to look at, with videos and photos of lanterns being fitted at different stages so they can understand what we need from them.’
‘When everything is ready to install, our teams usually need approximately two days on-site. Before we start, we’ll check to make sure that the roof covering and the roof kerbing is of a high standard. Our team will fit the framework for the roof lantern on the first day, and securely cover everything to keep it safe overnight. We then install the glazing and aluminium capping into place on the second day.’
Westbury is a family-run business, and we’ve always been proud to say that our products are British designed, and British made. When our clients visit our workshop, we’re delighted to show them our production line and introduce them to our skilled craftsmen. When our customers see the skill and attention required for themselves, they appreciate their beautiful timber roof lantern on another level once installed in their home. If you’d like to take a tour of our factory in Essex, then contact us today to book your appointment.