The Comprehensive Guide to Timber Roof Lanterns Across the UK

Published on 24 November 2023

Discover the Warmth of Premium Timber Roof Lanterns

Adding a roof lantern is one of the best ways to invite more natural light into your home. But when choosing a roof lantern, one of the most important decisions is the type of timber to use. The timber material impacts the lantern’s aesthetics, durability, maintenance needs and cost. This comprehensive guide explores the different timber options for roof lanterns across the UK.

Timber selection is one of the most crucial decisions when installing a roof lantern to bathe your home in natural light. The type of wood defines the lantern’s beauty, longevity and maintenance needs. This guide will illuminate the timber options for roof lanterns across the UK so you can choose the perfect material to enhance your space.

Let the Light Shine In: Pick Timber as Thoughtfully as You Pick Fixtures

A roof lantern graces your home with gorgeous natural light. But the timber you choose impacts aesthetics and durability, so pick as carefully as you do fixtures. This guide explores timber roof lantern options in the UK—from pine to oak—to help you select the perfect wood to harness sunlight and enhance your space.

Harvest the Sun’s Rays: Timber Roof Lantern Materials Across the UK

Timber selection influences a roof lantern’s beauty, resilience and maintenance. To choose the ideal wood for inviting sunlight into your home, arm yourself with knowledge. This comprehensive UK guide examines roof lantern softwoods and hardwoods so you can pick the perfect timber to harness the sun’s radiance.

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Softwood vs. Hardwood

The first key decision is softwood versus hardwood. Common softwood choices like pine, spruce or fir are typically more affordable and easier to cut and shape during manufacturing. But softwoods are generally less durable than hardwoods. Popular hardwoods for roof lanterns include oak, mahogany and walnut. Though more expensive, these dense hardwoods stand up better to weathering, potential rot and insect damage.

Softwood Roof Lanterns

Popular softwood choices for roof lanterns in the UK include:

  • Pine – Versatile and affordable, pine is a lightweight softwood that stains well. It may require more frequent treatment and maintenance to achieve longevity.
  • Cedar – With its attractive reddish hue and natural weather resistance, cedar is a great softwood roof lantern choice. It has good insulating properties too.
  • Larch – A durable softwood that can last over 40 years with treatment. Its distinctive knotty look provides rustic character.

The Benefits of Softwood Roof Lanterns

Softwood roof lanterns offer several advantages that make them a popular choice across the UK:

  • Cost-effective – Softwoods like pine are more budget-friendly than exotic hardwoods. This makes softwood lanterns accessible to more homeowners.
  • Easy to work with – Softwoods are relatively lightweight and tend to be more flexible than hardwoods. This makes them very easy to machine and work into complex lantern designs.
  • Good insulation – Many softwood species have excellent thermal insulation properties thanks to their intricate cellular structure. This helps improve energy efficiency.
  • Range of finishes – From clear varnishes to bold paint colours, softwoods can be finished in many ways to match décor. Their typically paler hue shows off colours beautifully.
  • Natural light is an energizing property and recent studies suggest it boosts both productivity and work performance. Although these studies refer to natural light in the office, undoubtedly natural light in the home must also have a similar effect. So, perhaps your skylight windows can help you work harder.

Hardwood Roof Lanterns

For roof lanterns where durability is a priority, UK homeowners often select these hardwoods:

  • Oak – The quintessential hardwood for roof lanterns across Britain. Water-resistant oak ages beautifully and suits almost any architectural style.
  • Mahogany – This exotic tropical hardwood offers a rich reddish-brown colouration. Dense and weather-resistant, it creates elegant roof lanterns.
  • Walnut – Prized for its luxurious chocolate brown colour with distinctive grain patterns. Walnut makes a sophisticated design statement.

The Benefits of Hardwood Roof Lanterns

While pricier, hardwood roof lanterns provide unmatched benefits:

  • Superior durability – Dense hardwoods stand up to weathering, moisture, pests and other hazards. They last decades with proper care.
  • Strength – Hardwoods have incredible structural integrity to withstand wind, rain and snow loads. Their strength adds safety.
  • Stunning aesthetics – Hardwoods showcase mesmerizing grain patterns and warm, luxurious hues that beautifully complement both traditional and contemporary architecture.
  • Sustainable – Many hardwoods like oak and walnut come from UK forests. Choosing locally sourced hardwoods supports domestic timber growers.


Roof Lantern Finishes

The right finish protects the timber and enhances its natural beauty. Here are some top options:

Roof lantern finishes

  • Stains – Available in various opacities to showcase or subdue the grain. Work well on most softwoods and hardwoods.
  • Paints – Offer full opacity in any colour. Especially suitable for softwoods where grain is less pronounced.
  • Oils – Penetrate deep into the wood to nourish and protect. Ideal for accentuating fine hardwood grain patterns.
  • Varnishes – Form a clear, protective shell while allowing the wood’s natural colour and texture to shine through.

Timber Roof Lantern Specifications

Choosing the Best Finish

Consider these factors when selecting a finish for your timber roof lantern:

  • Desired aesthetic – stains, paints and clear coats each create a different decorative look.
  • Level of protection needed – Brush on additional coats annually to maintain optimal weatherproofing.
  • Type of timber used – Certain finishes work better with softwoods vs. hardwoods. Consult manufacturer recommendations.
  • Overhang size – More exposed lanterns need finishes with superior UV and water resistance.
  • Application method – Brush-on finishes reach details paint rollers may miss. Spray-on is the fastest for large areas.

Ongoing Care and Maintenance

To achieve maximum longevity from your timber roof lantern,

be diligent about:

  • Annual inspections – Check for any cracks, damage or wear. Address issues promptly.
  • Reapplying finishes – Maintain protective stain or paint layers as needed.
  • Cleaning – Gently wash with mild soap and water to remove dirt and debris.
  • Re-caulking – Look for any gaps or cracks in the caulk and re-seal as needed.

No matter your design sensibilities or budget, there is a perfect timber roof lantern option for your home. This guide outlines key material considerations so you can make an informed decision that matches your needs and architectural vision.


Let the Light Shine Through the Perfect Timber

With this comprehensive guide, you now have in-depth knowledge of timber roof lantern options across the UK. Armed with an understanding of softwood vs. hardwood characteristics, finishes, and maintenance needs, you can confidently select the ideal timber to complement your architecture and budget. Install a roof lantern that marries durability, aesthetics and functionality to bathe your home in breathtaking natural light for years to come.

Choose Timber as Thoughtfully as You Choose Fixtures

A roof lantern graces your home with beauty and natural light. Make it the crowning jewel it deserves to be by selecting the perfect timber. This guide has outlined the nuances of softwoods vs. hardwoods, finishes and upkeep. Now you can choose wood as thoughtfully as you do fixtures, so your lantern shines beautifully for decades, come rain or shine.

Fill Your Home with the Warmth of Natural Light

Timber selection is integral to a roof lantern that fills your space with natural light for years while matching your style and budget. Whether you value affordability, sustainability, or durability, this guide has detailed the UK timber options to meet your needs. Install a lantern in pine, oak or another wood and let the sunlight stream through its perfect grain.


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