What is the difference between a roof lantern and skylight? - Westbury Windows and Joinery

What is the difference between a roof lantern and skylight?

Westbury Roof Lantern

If you’re looking to add an abundance of natural light into your home, look no further than a roof lantern or skylight. Known to allow far more natural light than conventional, side hung windows, these cleverly positioned glazed panes are able to deliver three times more natural light. Becoming a popular choice amongst homeowners when renovating or building home extensions.

As we all seek larger, open plan spaces, we require that extra illumination in the furthest corners of the room to really bring it to life. So, whatever your preference, here are some key differences between roof lanterns and skylights for you to consider. Sky lights and roof lanterns are both often referred to as roof lights. An umbrella term for any window positioned atop a flat or pitched roof. But there are several key differences.

What is a sky light?

Skylights are flat windows, usually set amongst the tiles of a pitched roof. Often these windows can be opened by a centre-pivot or be top-hung. Skylights are also able to be included into flat roof extensions and make a great choice if you would like them to be less visible from ground level outside. 

What is a Roof Lantern?

Roof lanterns provide a glazed pitch to flat roof extensions. They add a magnificent architectural element to the structure of the building. Inside, the lanterns extend the ceiling height and transform the space into a more luxurious and contemporary environment, opening the room into the sky. They benefit from a greater amount of natural light thanks to their ability to channel sun rays from every angle. Often roof lanterns are non-opening but many feature automatic thermostatic ventilation to allow heat to rise and escape, minimising heat build-up. Our roof lantern ventilation also features rain sensors, closing them as the first drop of rain falls, so you’re never caught out by the unpredictable British weather.

The top 3 most important considerations when buying a roof light

1. Which way is your room facing?

Whether your space is north or south facing, a roof light is sure to draw in an abundance of natural light. However, a sun-soaked room will battle with a build up in temperature during the summer months, therefore the window should ideally provide adequate ventilation with the option to open and allow warm air to escape. So, seek opening skylights to open yourself, or thermostatic ventilation in a roof lantern to open automatically as a vital precaution to ensuring that your room remains at a comfortable temperature.

Another important consideration for south-facing rooms is minimising damage to furniture from UV rays. At Westbury, we offer Westbury Sun Guard for our roof lanterns, a neutral glass that lets in ample natural light and reduces some UV rays and glare from entering your room. Our solar glass also reduces as much heat transmission, keeping the room at a more consistent temperature. 

We pair the roof lantern’s timber sections with high-spec double glazing and aluminium capping for a premium product that looks beautiful and is very low maintenance. We use toughened panes filled with argon gas and sealed with a Low E coating as standard, ensuring exceptional performance all year round.

2. Do I Need Planning Permission For A Skylight Or Roof Lantern?

Often a concern for many looking to add a roof lantern or skylight is whether or not planning permission is required. The short answer is no, however, as with any project it is important to check consents beforehand. Researching whether your plans require permission and seeking professional advice before you start, can save potential stress and financial loss later down the line.

Consents vary on location, but generally a roof lantern can be installed to your flat roof under permitted development. Meaning that you may only require building control or a FENSA certified fitter to install your lantern. Skylights can also be installed without planning permission; However, they are required to remain under 150mm in height from the roof face when installed into a pitched roof.

3. What kind of rooflight is better for adding natural light?

Generally, roof lanterns allow a far greater amount of natural light to enter your home, but both solutions are up to the task of brightening the space.

When it comes to choosing between the two, the greatest difference is personal preference and the style you seek. Flat roof lights are barely visible from the outside and offer a more discreet solution. They also make great solutions for pitched roofs. Roof lanterns are more theatrical and elegant both internally and externally. If you are seeking opulence and creating a more spacious environment, then a roof lantern will definitely deliver.

Seek Reputable Companies

When it comes to buying windows, doors, roof lanterns or skylights. Always seek out reputable companies that you know and trust. Shopping around for the best price is all part of the buying process, and should certainly play a role in making a decision to buy a roof light. However always be aware of exactly what you are paying for, seek transparency and an understanding of your exact needs. Our homes are our havens, and nobody wants to endure a leaky roof or end up with cold, unusable spaces if corners are cut.

At Westbury, we invite all our clients to visit our workshop, understand our process and witness our glazing techniques that exceed GGF (Glass & Glazing Federation) guidelines. So you’re not only able to fully understand the options available to you, but also able to confidently make a decision for the best possible solution for you.