Roof Lanterns: A Buying Guide


No matter if you live far up in the north of Scotland or way down south at the tip of Cornwall, we can all appreciate adding that extra bit of natural light into our homes. And when it comes to getting that added sunshine, there are few better glazing options than a dedicated roof lantern.

Commonly the most prominent architectural feature present in Victorian and Georgian homes, roof lanterns are specifically designed to welcome as much natural light into a room as possible.

They’re the premier glass roofing system we offer here at Express, and they excel at maximising interior light, even in dark rooms, while seamlessly increasing the value of your home.

But how do you know if a lantern roof extension is the right choice for you?

To help you gain a thorough understanding of this type of roofing system, and provide you with some feasible lantern roof extension ideas, we’re broken down everything you need to know on the topic in this simple roof lantern buying guide – including what a roof lantern is, and what to know about lantern roof costs.


If you’ve already done some preliminary research, you may already be aware of the differences between a lantern roof extension and other forms of roof lights. But for those not in the know, we’ll touch on the key differences here.

Unlike the more typical skylight, roof lanterns specifically cover any glass structure that not only sits above a flat roof but physically projects upwards, allowing light to enter your home from all sides of the structure – in most cases, they allow up to three times as much light when compared to vertical windows!

They come in a wide variety of shapes and styles, including both period and contemporary designs, with domes, pyramids, and even octagons being relatively popular. In general, they are a great choice for communal spaces, such as living rooms or kitchens, or any room that requires that extra light throughout the day.

These are just some of the preliminary differences that help distinguish roof lanterns from other roofing systems, and you can read about them in more detail in our article on roof lanterns vs skylights.



As with any type of window or roof system, roof lanterns come with numerous benefits that make them well-suited to the needs of a variety of homes. The most prominent benefits, and the ones you’ll want to bear in mind, include the following:

  • Increase volumes of light: While we’ve already mentioned how roof lanterns bring in far more light than their typical window counterparts, this is particularly prevalent at the start and end of the day. Thanks to their size and shape, lanterns are able to capture greater levels of low light, meaning your room will be brighter throughout the day.
  • Reduced energy costs: Due to the nature of their construction, lanterns can be an excellent addition to your home in terms of thermal efficiency. Constructed using aluminium frames and breaks, our Express roof lanterns not only keep the heat in on those cold mornings, but the extra illumination they provide means you won’t have to turn your lights on until well into the evening.
  • Making rooms feel bigger: Besides making your room brighter overall, roof lanterns also alter the dimensions of the space they’re in, making your room feel that much bigger. This means that even small rooms can benefit from the addition of a lantern, eliminating that claustrophobic feel.
  • Easy maintenance: Although cleaning windows can sometimes be tricky, lanterns hold one key advantage in this area over other window types. Being positioned on a flat roof means that, once you’re up there, cleaning your windows becomes as simple as wiping them down. Their raised nature also means that water doesn’t pool at the base of frames, reducing the likelihood of moss and mould build-up.


As with anything that’s set to become the focal point of your home, there are several key areas you need to be aware of to get the most out of your purchase.

Are you after a slim and sleek look or do you want something more classically ostentatious? Perhaps there’s a specific type of glazing you want installed to help soundproof your room?

Whatever your desires, the following areas are always worth considering when settling on lantern roof extension ideas.


The size of your lantern is very much down to both your personal preference and the size of the room you want to install it in. A bigger lantern isn’t always required to let in great volumes of light, and you might be surprised at how much light even a small one can facilitate.

Generally speaking, most roof lanterns come in set sizes, so once you know the type or style of lantern you’re after, you can pick the size that you want. Of course, here at Express, we can offer you more precise measurements, providing you with a bespoke product that’s uniquely tailored to your home.


Naturally, the lantern roof cost is going to be a major factor in determining what size and shape you can afford to install in your home. In most cases, size and material will be the primary deciders in how much your lantern will cost you, but it’s best to speak to our experts for a more accurate figure.


Although there is the potential for planning permission to be required for a roof lantern, this is not always the case. In many scenarios, it’s often quick and efficient to install a lantern and their size tends not to pose any serious problems for building regulations.

So, if your roof lantern is already part of an agreed extension, or you’re looking to replace an existing roof light with something new, then you won’t need planning permission – though it is always within your best interests to double-check.


Last, but certainly not least, you will of course need to settle on how you want your lantern to look. Again, this comes down to personal preference as well as the current style of your home. Here at Express, we specialise in aluminium window setups, which are well-tailored to more modern and contemporary builds thanks to their slim design and minimal framing. We also use toughened glass in all our glazing products, which offers both security and UV protection.

And with that last point, you should now have everything you need to start thinking about installing the ideal roof lantern in your home. Of course, there’s more to be said than we can put down here, so why not get in touch with the Express team with your questions?

Whether by visiting us online, downloading our free brochure, or by heading to one of our showrooms, our team are on hand to help and can guide you through the process of buying and installing your lantern step by step. You can also browse the rest of our blog for ideas and more insightful articles like this one.

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