The Ideal Lantern Skylights to Flood Flat Roof Homes with Natural Light : Your Complete 101 Guide

Updated on November 21st, 2023 at 11:49 am
Published on 17 October 2018

Why are Roof Lantern Skylights Ideal?

Lantern skylights are the ideal solution to get more natural light into homes with flat roofing. Ideal for rooms with dim lighting, lantern skylights beautifully illuminate living spaces with their unique curved and domed structures to maximize sunlight from overhead while providing attractive design accents. Learn about the best lantern skylights for flat roofs and how to choose the perfect size and style to flood your flat roof home with the sunshine and elegance that lantern skylights offer.

It’s great once you’ve decided that you would like to let more natural light into your property with a rooflight of some sort, however, it is not always easy to choose between skylights and lantern rooflights.


Choosing what style of skylights your extension requires or what shape of roof lantern will work best for your flat roof, isn’t an easy decision.

The right roof light can instantly transform any property, allowing light to flood into previously dark spaces, enhancing the feel of the room as well as giving the illusion of extra space. But, what is the difference between lantern rooflights and skylights?

Lantern rooflights are the larger, more prestigious-looking glass roof window options, the focal point of a room as it naturally draws the eye with its impressive architecture. While skylights are generally smaller, high-quality “windows” that are installed on your roof, allowing natural light to flow into your property through specific segments.

One advantage of skylights over a roof lantern for your flat room is that they can offer improved ventilation in the room they’re installed in because they open, whereas roof lanterns tend to be a fixed feature, which while flooding the room below with an inordinate amount of additional natural light, don’t tend to open.

So if you’re having difficulty choosing which is the most suitable lantern skylight for flat roofs, consider the following:

  • Roof lanterns become the focal point of a room and are ideal for installing on flat roofs, providing a stunning architectural centrepiece for your home
  • Skylights can be installed on flat roofs but tend to be more suited to pitched roofs
  • Skylights provide ventilation
  • A roof lantern will make your room feel larger, extending the ceiling up towards the sky
  • If you don’t want to see the roof light from the outside, a skylight is the best option
  • Roof lanterns are better at channelling light into a room as they have 360-degree surround, compared to a flat, horizontal skylight
  • A skylight can be a more cost-effective solution if you’re on a tight budget

Where is a skylight best placed in a property?

Skylights and roof lanterns work well in many different rooms of a house. Your kitchen, for example, may benefit from an increased natural light level and further ventilation, while in the lounge there would be less need to open the roof window.

In theory, there are no rules as to which room you should have a roof lantern installed in, it is a matter of personal choice – they work well in loft conversions, kitchens, hallways, and even bathrooms.

Many people opt for conservatories, kitchens, orangeries, sunrooms and dining rooms as their room of choice for a roof lantern, because these rooms tend to be the ones most lived in and therefore the ones that could benefit from more natural light. However, that is not to say you can’t have a roof lantern installed in whichever room you prefer.

In most cases, planning permission for installing a roof lantern will not be required, however, you should make sure this is not needed before going ahead with an installation.

The Best Skylights for Flat Roofs

Just because you have a flat roof does not mean that you must opt for a roof lantern. In fact, a skylight may be better suited to both your budget and plans for your home.

It is not true that only roof lanterns open up your home to allow the maximum amount of light in. In fact, skylights are equally effective in brightening up your home when installed in an area of direct sunlight. What’s more, they can let the fresh air in too!

Ultimately, when choosing between roof lanterns and skylights, the choice is yours.

There are plenty of skylight options from Prestige Roof Lanterns UK. Choose from various different skylight sizes and openings, to suit your property entirely.

Pros and cons of roof lanterns

Pros of roof lantern:

  • Modern roof lanterns are incredibly thermal efficient
  • A roof lantern will allow much more natural light into your room than skylights alone, affording you increased health benefits such as minimising the effects of seasonal affective disorder
  • A roof lantern adds an architectural feature to your home
  • Because a roof lantern allows more light into your room you don’t need extra lighting so you use less electricity, less energy = lower bills

Cons of roof lantern:

  • You can’t open a roof lantern like you can a skylight as they are usually fitted fixtures
  • They don’t tend to have blinds fitted so you can see the sky all day and night
  • Roof lanterns are more expensive than fitting flat skylights, but they are cheaper than glazing the whole roof
  • While you don’t typically need planning permission for a roof lantern, there are cases where you do require planning permission, such as if the lantern will extend more than 150mm beyond the roof’s existing plane, or if the side-facing windows aren’t going to be obscure glazed, or the opening will be less than 1.7m from the floor.

Roof Lanterns for flat roofs

Many homeowners prefer to opt for a roof lantern over a skylight when they have a flat roof. However, some are deterred by the cost.

If you have got your heart set on a roof lantern over a skylight, but are not quite sure your budget can stretch to it, you may want to consider installing the roof lantern yourself.

Roof Lanterns: A Luxurious Addition to Flat Roofs

Flat roofs, while offering practical advantages like ease of access and maintenance, can often lack the visual appeal of their pitched counterparts. Roof lanterns, also known as lantern skylights, with their expansive glass panels and striking architectural presence, can transform a flat roof into a stunning focal point. They flood interiors with natural light, creating a sense of spaciousness and enhancing the overall ambiance of the home. Lantern skylights should be professionally installed for optimal lighting effects and weather sealing on flat roofs.

Cost Considerations: A Barrier for Some Homeowners

Despite their undeniable charm, roof lanterns or lantern skylights come with a price tag that can be a deterrent for some homeowners. Compared to standard skylights, which are typically smaller and more straightforward to install, roof lanterns which are a type of lantern skylight involve a more complex installation process and a higher upfront cost. This can make them an aspiration rather than a realistic option for many. However, over time lantern skylights recoup costs through enhancing natural light and reducing electricity usage.

DIY Installation: A Cost-Effective Alternative

For those who are determined to bring the elegance of a roof lantern also called a lantern skylight to their flat roof without breaking the bank, DIY installation offers a potential solution. While it is not a task for the faint of heart, those with DIY confidence and the necessary skills can save significantly by taking the lantern skylight installation into their own hands. However, improperly installed lantern skylights risk leaking or lack of structural stability in winds. Consult an expert before attempting DIY roof lantern also known as lantern skylights installations.

Factors to Consider Before Embarking on DIY Roof Lantern Installation

Before embarking on a DIY roof lantern installation, it is crucial to carefully assess your skills, experience, and the complexity of the project. Consider the following factors:

  1. DIY Expertise: Roof lantern installations require a good level of DIY competence and experience in roofing and carpentry. If you are not confident in your abilities, it is advisable to seek professional assistance.

  2. Project Complexity: Roof lantern installations can vary in complexity depending on the size, style, and location of the lantern. Assess the specific requirements of your project to determine if it is within your DIY capabilities.

  3. Safety Precautions: Roof work inherently carries safety risks. Ensure you have the proper safety equipment and take all necessary precautions to prevent accidents.

  4. Local Building Codes: Comply with all applicable building codes and regulations governing roof installations in your area.

  5. Assistance When Needed: Even for experienced DIY enthusiasts, it is always a good idea to have someone available to assist with lifting and maneuvering the lantern components.

Resources and Guidance for DIY Roof Lantern Installation

If you decide to proceed with a DIY roof lantern installation, there are numerous resources available to guide you through the process. These include:

  1. Manufacturer Instructions: Carefully follow the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer of your specific roof lantern model.

  2. Online Tutorials: Numerous online tutorials and videos can provide step-by-step guidance for DIY roof lantern installation.

  3. DIY Books and Articles: Various DIY books and articles offer detailed instructions and tips for roof lantern installation.

  4. Expert Advice: Seek advice from experienced DIY enthusiasts or roofing professionals for specific guidance and problem-solving.

Read our guide on how to install a roof lantern on a flat roof for more information.

Advantages and disadvantages of flat roofs

If you would like to find out more about the pros and cons of having a flat roof, perhaps you are considering the roof for a new orangery (we do beautiful orangery roof lanterns) installation or thinking about a roof replacement for an extension, read our article on advantages and disadvantages of flat roofs.

Considerations for Flat Roof Installations

  • Drainage system: Ensure a properly designed drainage system is installed to prevent water pooling and potential damage.

  • Slope: Even flat roofs have a slight slope to encourage water runoff. The slope should be consistent and adequate.

  • Waterproofing membrane: Use a high-quality waterproofing membrane to protect the roof from leaks and moisture damage.

  • Regular maintenance: Regularly inspect the roof for any signs of damage, wear, or leaks. Promptly address any issues to maintain the roof’s integrity.

  • Professional installation: Consider hiring a professional roofing contractor with experience in flat roof installations to ensure proper construction and avoid potential problems down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Do I need planning permission for a roof lantern or skylight?

In most cases, planning permission is not required for installing a roof lantern or skylight. However, it is always a good idea to check with your local planning authority to be sure.

Q: How much do roof lanterns and skylights cost?

The cost of a roof lantern or skylight will vary depending on the size, material, and style. However, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay between £500 and £5,000 for a roof lantern and between £200 and £2,000 for a skylight.

Q: Can I install a roof lantern or skylight myself?

It is possible to install a roof lantern or skylight yourself, but it is a complex task that requires a certain level of skill and experience. If you are not confident in your DIY skills, it is best to hire a professional to install your roof glazing.

Q: How do I maintain my roof lantern or skylight?

Regular maintenance will help to extend the life of your roof lantern or skylight. You should clean your roof glazing at least twice a year and inspect it for any damage. If you find any damage, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible.

By taking into account the comparisons and considerations covered in this guide, readers now have the knowledge base to decide whether a lantern skylight, skylight or combination of the two makes the most sense for their home. When determining between lantern skylights or standard skylights, remember that every residence has unique needs and goals when it comes to enhancing natural light.

With this newly gained insight into lantern skylight product specifications, pricing factors, pros and cons and expert installation guidance, you can now actualize the optimal lighting solution comprised of lantern skylights, skylights or both. Transform previously dark, cold rooms into sun-filled oases full of ambience, elegance and savings on electricity with properly placed lantern skylights.

Our team has helped over 500 homeowners install custom lantern skylights for flat roof spaces of all kinds. Let us take the complexity out of the process for your lantern skylight project – our team eagerly awaits your questions and stands ready to bring your flat roof lighting vision to fruition with tailored lantern skylight precision and care. We offer only the highest quality lantern skylights along with beginning-to-end support, including permitting help and leakproof warranties. Contact us today to explore how lantern skylights can substantially enhance any flat roof residential or commercial space through perfect natural light infusion and architectural beauty.

Contact us at Prestige Roof Lanterns UK

For more information on any of our roof lanterns or skylights then please contact us at Prestige Roof Lanterns UK, we’re happy to help.

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