vario velux modular rooflight
20 Oct, 2020

Your flat roof kitchen extension: Roof lantern or flat glass rooflight?

One of the most glorious things about a flat-roof kitchen extension is being able to open up so much space to the outside world and let the light pour in. One of the most common ways of doing this (after the typical bifold doors) is to put flat glass rooflights or a roof lantern in the ceiling, opening your “5th wall” to the sky above.

But how do you choose between them? In this article we explore the design and technical considerations you’ll need to address when making your decision:

Classic or contemporary designs

As whichever style of rooflight you choose will be a key feature of your new flat roof kitchen extension, aesthetics are very important. If your home had a more classic, traditional interior or your property is a period building with lots of original features, a roof lantern can be a great way of blending your new flat roof kitchen extension into your existing structure.

On the other hand, if your tastes trend towards the more modern and contemporary end of the spectrum, a flat glass rooflight will enhance the clean lines and pared back look of your living space. Sharp shadows and strong contrasts bring neutral spaces to life, adding character without extra clutter.

The lighter side of life

Another key consideration is what lighting effect you want your rooflight to have. A flat glass rooflight allows light into your room in a more direct way, allowing you to create specific focal points and design features in a room, for instance over a striking dining table or a perfectly accessorised workspace. A roof lantern brings in light in a more fragmented way, from different angles, so you get a pretty effect and more variety of the way light falls into your room, allowing light to be scattered over different elements such as a collection of pretty plates on a Welsh dresser.

Shapes and sizes

As they are made of multiple pieces of glazing, roof lanterns can come in all sorts of sizes, up to a huge 20 square metres, so they could span your entire kitchen extension. Flat glass rooflights only go up to 4 square metres, so to achieve the same expanse, you’ll need to join multiple units together.

Where flat glass rooflights really come into their own is the shapes you have to play with. Roof lanterns are square or rectangular, whereas flat glass roof lanterns offer alternatives such as round glass for pooling light onto particular features, such as a round table that mirrors the shape above. Long thin shapes which work well highlighting similar shaped spaces below such as breakfast bars and worktops. Feature lighting can be poured onto a particular wall, to highlight a favourite painting or onto a pale wall to reflect light back into the rest of the room.

The practical stuff

A flat roof kitchen extension is an expensive undertaking, so one of the most common questions is around price. There is usually not a massive amount to choose between the prices of a good quality flat glass rooflight and a similar grade roof lantern. The difference in price comes with installation, as roof lanterns often need assembling on site which means they take longer and cost more to install.

Another consideration is insulation. So long as they’re good quality products, roof lanterns and flat glass rooflights should have similar insulation properties in their glazing. Where the difference starts to emerge is in the frame. As the roof lantern has more joining points of all the different panes of glass, it can result in less insulation overall.

When it comes to cleaning, roof lanterns may well have the edge as the natural angles on the glass drain away water better than their flat counterparts. Installing flat glass rooflights with a slight pitch (5-15 degrees is standard) can help to combat this.

Whichever route you choose, you’ll be letting more daylight into your home and that can only be a good thing. To discuss your decisions, talk to our Daylight Experts>>

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