Bi-Fold Doors Blog

an orangery with aluminium bi fold doors with a roof lantern
07-May-2016

Brighten up your House Extension with a Roof Lantern


Natural light is considered to be an important factor in modern architecture. A room with ample light will brighten everybody’s mood. While bifold doors are the perfect way of creating lighter living spaces, if you need additional light an ideal solution is a roof lantern.

One problem with extensions is that they can create dark spaces in the rooms that adjoin them. Where once there were windows to let in the light, the new extension can block the light you previously enjoyed. While the extension itself may be well illuminated, you might need a little more light to enhance your total living space.

Roof Lanterns

A roof lantern, also known as a skylight, introduces natural light into your extension through the roof. The concept is literally as old as the hills, but over recent years it has become a popular architectural feature in both modern and traditional homes. There are many different designs, though it is generally a structure that is raised from the flat roof of the extension. Popular shapes are pyramid, square, rectangular, and octagonal, and the emphasis is generally on maximizing the glass area and minimizing the frame, all the better for maximizing the brightness.

Available in large, medium and small sizes, a roof lantern is the ideal choice for many kinds of extension. As well as allowing light to flood into your extension, you can even choose vented designs that allow fresh air into the room. The vents can be electrically operated or operated manually, and some designs include sensors that detect when it begins to rain and automatically closes the vent accordingly.

Materials

Roof lanterns are available in the same kinds of materials as external doors. These include aluminium, uPVC and timber.

Aluminium roof lanterns

Aluminium has become a popular structural material as it requires little maintenance and it is strong and light. Its strength and density means that the size of the frame can be relatively small while it is strong enough to support large areas of glass. Having a small frame and large glass area brings in more light.

uPVC roof lanterns

uPVC roof lanterns are the ideal solution if you are seeking to minimise the cost. In terms of illumination they are less efficient than aluminium, however, they require very little maintenance and are long lasting. Modern uPVC neither discolours nor fades.

Timber roof lanterns

Timber roof lanterns can look great in the right situation, and they can add a touch of elegance to your extension. Available in hardwood and softwood, there are many different design options you can choose. They are thermally efficient, and the only downsides are that they don’t allow as much glass as aluminium structures and they do require ongoing maintenance. They are not the ideal choice if they are difficult to access for maintenance.

Glazing

With rising energy prices, it is more important than ever to ensure that your extension is properly insulated, and the glazing you choose for your roof lantern is an important part of this. While many people choose high efficiency double glazing, if you really want to benefit from the latest technologies, you might prefer argon filled triple glazing. This will be more expensive, but you are likely to recoup the extra cost in reduced energy bills.

You should also consider what happens when the sun shines brightly in the summer. The last thing you will want it for your extension to get too hot for comfortable living. Options for improved solar control include bronze tinted and blue tinted glazing.