What are roof lanterns? - Westbury Windows and Joinery

What are roof lanterns?

Regarded as both an architectural feature and a practical option for brightening up a room, quality roof lanterns should have clean lines and perfect composition, but what are they exactly? They can be crafted into any size to suit the architecture of your property and can completely transform an area of your home, so let's explore the concepts behind the design...

Striking and elegant, a roof lantern is a stepped glass skylight that extends up from a flat roof. It will channel natural sunlight from all angles into the room below, making it ideal for transforming gloomy and stuffy rooms into bright and airy spaces.

A beautifully designed roof lantern is a visual showpiece; adding a fine example of innovative architectural design to your home that a simple flat roof cannot compete with. With their perfect balance of glass and symmetrical rafters, roof lanterns bring a whole new visual element to the exterior appearance of your property by adding interesting shapes that help to draw the eye.

Timber French doors and roof lantern encourage light to flood in and fill this stunning kitchen family room


The many benefits of timber roof lanterns

When it comes to home renovation, proportions can be everything and a roof lantern will add additional height to a ceiling which will make the room look bigger. They can change how a room feels too – there’s something undeniably pleasant about a room with a view of the sky above, especially on clear evenings.

A roof lantern can also play a more functional role; with the help of ventilation vents, they can contribute to the room’s cross ventilation by drawing warmer air up and out during the summer months. Automatic sensory vents will react to the very first drops of rain and close as the weather changes, leaving you feeling confident enough to leave the house without worrying about coming back to puddles on the floor.   

Roof lanterns designed to the highest of standards

A well-designed roof lantern should have neat, clean lines – you absolutely want to avoid a cluttered or irregular style. They should have a simple aesthetic with a refined quality, which can sometimes be a difficult balance to get right, but with years of experience our expert teams of joiners have a pride in what they do. Using specialist joinery techniques, they take it upon themselves to only produce roof lanterns of the highest quality.

Strength and durability plays a key role in the overall performance of a quality roof lantern. At Westbury Windows and Joinery, we use timber rafters and 4-16-4 toughened clear, argon filled sealed glazing units with a Low E coating and warm edge spacer bar as standard.

Solar reflective glass is especially popular in our roof lanterns, but can be used in windows and doors too. The glass is called SN70/35 – the 70 represents the 70% light transmission and the 35 represents the low solar factor of just 35%. This glass keeps heat out during summer months, reduces glare and reduces UV.

It’s vital to protect the structure from the elements – on the outside exterior, the timber is embedded into cut brackets and the joins are protected by powder-coated aluminium cappings, ensuring that the outside of the roof lantern is extremely weatherproof and protected from splits and cracks. This method means that externally, our designs are almost maintenance-free. On the inside however, they still maintain the traditional elegance of a fine and authentic timber frame.

Choosing the best materials for the ultimate roof lantern

Our roof lanterns all have a central ridge made from Accoya, which is a moisture resistant, highly durable redwood. This sustainable and environmentally-friendly engineered wood is a very strong and dimensionally stable material to build with, and we use it to craft most of our products.

All other fixings should be internal, so that they are not vulnerable to the elements. Decorative finials will often be added to the exterior as a final touch, which should ideally be made of resin finials which cannot split or crack.  

Want to know more? Take a look at our timelapse video, with Jack putting one of our roof lanterns together in our workshop:

If you’d like to invite more natural light into your home with a stunning roof lantern, get in touch with our team today and we’ll be happy to offer our expert advice.

Timber Roof Lanterns

View from below a retangular roof lantern

The clean lines and symmetry of a roof lantern create an incredible architectural impact when viewed from inside or out. Designed with correct proportions, our timber roof lanterns consider the depth of the shelf, beam dimension and hip shape. The result is an impressive, balanced design.

What is a Roof Lantern?

A Roof Lantern, sometimes referred to as a rooflight, is a stepped glass skylight that extends up from a flat roof. Westbury’s Timber Roof Lanterns are structural masterpieces, adding a sense of height, space, and grandeur to any room.  They allow natural light to flow into the room below, introducing warmth and calm.

Rectangle Timber Roof Lantern

Why choose a Westbury Timber Roof Lantern?

We have over 30 years of experience and expertise in designing, manufacturing and installing Roof Lanterns and Orangeries across the UK. Westbury Timber Roof Lanterns are designed and manufactured in the UK in our factory in Essex. We have perfected our product to ensure that it is the best that it can be by choosing the highest quality materials, using the latest technology and investing in the most efficient machinery for the production of our roof lights.

Westbury Roof Lanterns are crafted from high-quality materials by skilled craftsmen using the latest technology. We create bespoke timber roof lanterns that not only look incredible but perform impeccably. Our Roof Lanterns include specialised double-glazing units and an aluminium capping system to protect the timber from weathering.

We can manufacture roof lanterns of any size and pitch to meet your exact specifications. Our products are meticulously designed and made with care to ensure they entirely complement the architecture of the property.

What materials are Westbury Roof Lanterns manufactured from?

Our timber roof lanterns are manufactured using knot-free engineered timber, selected for its durability, stability, and sustainability. Our lanterns can be manufactured to meet any size and pitch. We offer a full in-house design service with prompt turnaround and can advise you on the size of Roof Lantern most suited to your space.  


We believe the small details make a big difference. Even our finials and the upper part of our kingpins are made from a wood/resin composite material, so the timber will not flake, nor split, nor rot, as opposed to solid timber which, from our experience, may split over time and could cause ingress of water.

Roof Lantern Finial

Roof Glazing with a 10-Year Guarantee

Glazing is 4-16-4 toughened clear, argon-filled sealed units with Low-E coating and warm edge spacer bar as standard. Optional laminated, or solar reflective glass is available (Westbury SunGuard).

At the perimeter of the roof, a purpose-made aluminium glazing tray with drainage is installed. The glass is clipped into this, ensuring the top sheet of glass does not separate from the bottom. This protects the spacer bar from UV.

Our double-glazed units can get incredibly hot so are bonded together with silicone rather than butyl.

Roof glass is laid on a special glazing gasket, fixed with stainless steel screws and our own aluminium capping/glazing system. All toughened units to BS6206: 1981.

Roof Vents and Cappings

Roof vent canopies and rafter cappings are powder-coated aluminium in Grey RAL 7015 or White RAL 9010.

Each roof canopy sits low to the glazing keeping it neat and unobtrusive and is custom made to fit each lantern. Rafter and hip rafter cappings exclusively made for Westbury, incorporating EPM gaskets. They are of two parts, ensuring that the stainless-steel screws that hold the glass in place are neatly hidden away.

Roof vents are electrically operated with auto controls, including rain sensors and thermostatic control.

Roof Lantern Vent

Optional Finishes

We offer a variety of decorative cornices to the internal aperture and optional curved hips with cock bead.

How do I clean a timber roof lantern?

Our Roof Lanterns are designed with minimal maintenance in mind. That is why, as with all our joinery, there are zero fixings entering timber from the outside of the structure removing all possible routes of water ingress. 

Our Roof Lanterns are composite in structure, with a timber frame inside and an outer capping made from aluminium.

Our finials are made from resin and wood composite, with a powder-coated external aluminium cladding to match the roof cappings, making them long-lasting and maintenance-free.

We have perfected our roof lanterns by having specially made hip and rafter cappings which are fixed down with stainless steel screws. We ensure there is a thermal break and that the roof is maintenance-free, except for a simple wash down.

Our newest design innovation is to sit the roof lantern glass into an aluminium glazing tray so there is no step protruding on the top sheet of glass. This is a fully patent glazed system, unique to Westbury.

If you’d like to know more about what happens when you order a roof lantern take a look at our blog post for more information.