If you’ve not heard the term before, you may be asking yourself the inevitable question: What is a lantern roof conservatory?
It is in part a decorative – but also practical – section of your extension, conservatory or orangery that can be customised according to your design plans.
Conservatory roof lanterns are available in a range of different materials, with the price varying depending on your choice. UPVC roof lanterns are relatively inexpensive and ideal if you are on a tight budget.
Stylistically, though, aluminium roof lanterns have the edge and will let in more light. Both types can be purchased in different colours, which means you can choose roof lantern colours that’ll suit your design requirements.
To make sure that your conservatory roof stands out from the crowd, it’s vital to choose a design that will complement the stylistic choices you’ve already made.
Here are some lantern roof designs for you consider when doing your research.
There are plenty of lantern roof designs available that range from the standard roof lantern – which is available in both traditional and contemporary styles – through to roof lantern skylights that are ideal a flat or pitched conservatory roof.
Whether you are building a new extension – or are thinking about buying a replacement conservatory roof – you should seriously consider buying a lantern roof.
If you live in a conservation area, you’ll probably have stumbled across flat roof lanterns as part of your research. Don’t be put off by the term ‘flat’; this type of roof lantern can be canted slightly – so that the rainwater runs off them.
There are a number of different roof lantern types available. If you are looking for small conservatory ideas, a small square-shaped fixed rooflight might be better than, say, a long skylight.
If a choice is available, then aluminium roof lanterns will a better choice – as they will maximise window space and let in more light.
If you have a conventional property, then a double hipped roof might be appealing. This is built on upstands. This gives your conservatory roof an elevated appearance that is grand and which may better suit larger extension builds.
Vents can be built in to your conservatory that are operated manually (via a pole) or electronically.
If you prefer, your conservatory roof can be built without upstands. This may be a concession that you need to make if you have a one-storey building where the height of your lantern roof is likely to exceed that of your property.
These are ideal for an orangery conservatory – or any form of extension, for that matter. A rectangular lantern roof is normally sited centrally and in such a way that draws attention to a particular part of the room.
For example, if your chosen installer is creating an L-shaped conservatory, you might have decided to create a narrow dining room area, above which could be placed your rectangular lantern roof.
Whether you’re looking for a replacement conservatory roof – or building from scratch – this is a great design option that will add plenty of light to your home. Used in close conjunction with bi-folding doors, a rectangular lantern roof could be a fantastic design choice.
If space is limited, you may have to be conservative in your design choices. As a result, you might end up settling on a square lantern roof. This will break up an otherwise drab looking roof area.
Moving away from the decorative angle, you could use this design to create a segue between two spaces; square lantern roofs can be used to emphasise transitional spaces (which could be where your kitchen and conservatory meet).
Do roof lanterns need planning permission?
More information about whether you’ll need consent can be found on the government’s dedicated planning portal.
Here are a few hints to help you in the meantime.
Normally you do not need planning permission for lantern roofs; this is because lantern roofs are now – due to legislative changes made in October 2008 – seen in most cases as permitted developments.
There are a few exceptions that you’ll need to bear in mind when considering your conservatory lantern roof designs – which are as follows:
A rectangular lantern roof would work well with this type of transparent frontage – especially if you used bi-folding doors to connect your orangery conservatory with your garden.
If you want to make your home as thermally efficient as possible, then a solid roof orangery should be on your design radar.
Suitable in particular for double-ended Edwardian orangeries, this style is more thermally efficient – and much better at soundproofing than – a polycarbonate or glass roof.
Does this mean you shouldn’t get a lantern roof? Not necessarily.
An orangery or conservatory roof can both be solid, but they let in less light (you would need to install centre pivot windows, but these would not let in as much light as the earlier-discussed square or rectangular roof lanterns).
In many respects, your orangery roof options will be similar to the ones cited above. An orangery conservatory can be built using square or rectangular lantern roof or in a double hipped format.
It really comes down to a matter of stylistic preference. If you want to build a contemporary orangery, then it will most likely use more glass than brick.
Before you choose your conservatory roof, you will need to think about the type of materials you want to use for the physical build.
UPVC is popular because it is cheap to manufacture, still lasts a very long time and can be colour-coded to suit your design requirements. Your lantern roof might look better, though, if you opted for a timber frame.
Timber lantern roofs are normally built in hardwood, which is hard-wearing (much more so than UPVC). If you already use wooden frames in your property, you’ll probably want continue this theme when building your extension.
A conservatory roof in timber will look incredible – but, if it isn’t maintained properly, it could be prone to rotting and warping.
You are looking at roof lanterns because you want to allow as much natural light into your conservatory as possible.
Why compromise by choosing wood or UPVC? If your budget will allow it, an aluminium lantern roof comes complete with the following benefits:
If you are extending your property and intending to use ceiling-to-wall glass – along with, perhaps, bi-folding doors and a glass roof – you’ll need to think carefully about how to ventilate your new space.
Thermally efficient glass is great at keeping a conservatory or orangery warm; but overheating comes with its own set of problems.
Your roof lantern can be fitted with two types of trickle vent: controllable or permanent. The latter of these is a permanent weatherproof that is built around the rooflight’s perimeter that is between 5 and 10 mm.
The former can be controlled by manipulating a vent that sits adjacently to the lantern roof’s upstands.
Conservatories UK-wide use hinged opening rooflights. As we briefly mentioned earlier, they can be operated manually or electronically. An electronica hinged rooflight is operated by way of a manually operated switch and can be opened to between 400 and 600mm.
A winding rod is used to open and close your roof lantern’s hinge. It does not open as far as the electronic version, but still manages a respectable 300mm.
All of these ventilation options are suitable for an orangery or conservatory. You can get free quotes from us by using our online calculator – as many times as you like.
Is a hinged rooflight better than a trickle vent for your lantern roof? One of our experts will call you for a more detailed chat and to see if you’d like to discuss your requirements with one of our national accredited installers.
Although planning permission for lantern roofs will generally be granted, the same cannot be said when it comes to building regulations.
This means that your design will still be subject to scrutiny – and that there’s no guarantee that your conservatory ideas will pass muster.
Why are building regulations for roof lanterns enforceable?
It’s because you are making modifications to an existing structure that won’t have been built with your proposed lantern roof design in mind.
Your installer will most probably have to run some checks before they can either approve or reject your roof lantern design.
If your conservatory roof was built before the building regulations changed in October 2008, you may be thinking about replacing this part of your extension – rather than instructing a local contractor to build from scratch.
A replacement conservatory roof could cost you between £2500 and £5000, depending on the type of design you opted for.
Modern conservatories have roofs that are superior in terms of thermal-efficiency, ventilation and soundproofing.
That’s why so many homeowners are turning to replacement conservatory roofs as a cost-effective way to refresh their jaded extension and give them a new lease of life – whilst at the same time adding value to their home.
Thermally efficient glass is filled with gas that occupies the space in between the glazings to help trap heat inside your conservatory – thereby making it more energy efficient and reducing the need to use heating during those cooler evenings or long winter months.
Although you must have thermally efficient glass to comply with building regulations, it is equally important to install adequate ventilation. Modern conservatories can be prone to overheating still, which can cause condensation to build up.
Your conservatory roof does not need to be decorated. If you are trying to achieve a minimalist look, leaving this part of your extension bereft of any such stylistic embellishments is probably wise.
But finials – which are the decorative adornments that you will already have seen on the apex or canopy of a conservatory – can make a world of difference if you’ve been looking at modern conservatories and have run out of ideas.
A finial could be anything from a ball or sphere through to a spire. Why not have a look at some conservatory roof images to get some fresh ideas?
You don’t have to replace your conservatory entirely. The conservatory roof is the first part of the structure that starts to degrade. If everything else is in order, you may be able to get away with replacing this part only.
If you decide to get a replacement conservatory roof, aluminium may be a good choice. It is lighter and will exert less stress. This will make it easier for you to get planning permission and comply with building regulations.
Conservatories UK-wide are being refurbished rather than rebuilt – so try and get some quotes from local installation companies.
The contemporary orangery looks more like a conservatory, in that it uses a lot of glass and may have a more open-plan structure that makes it distinct in design from the rest of the property.
The classic orangery is built using pillars and brick throughout, which makes it appear more like an extension of the existing build. A quick search online for ‘orangeries UK’ will reveal a plethora of different styles for you to think about.
But, in truth, the terminology that once distinguished ‘orangery’ from ‘conservatory’ or ‘house extensions’ is rapidly breaking down, making it harder to create a solid nomenclature for homeowners to refer to.