Different types of roof lanterns: glazed or boarded

If you’re looking to transform your home, an orangery with a magnificent roof lantern is the way to do it! In this article, we explore roof lanterns in more detail and assess the differences between glazed and boarded designs.

A roof lantern is a faceted glass structure installed into a flat roof. Typically, we add glazed roof lanterns to orangery extensions, whereas garden room extensions will usually have a fully tiled roof. A true architectural masterpiece, roof lanterns consist of a perfectly proportioned composition with common rafters, jack rafters and hip rafters arranged in symmetrical splendour. If you’re looking to give your home architectural impact, a show-stopping and high-quality roof lantern is ideal.

A roof lantern rises from a flat roof with glazed aspects on all sides, allowing it to catch the sun from all angles at any time of the day. They help your interiors to truly maximise on natural light, with the roof lantern allowing as much sunshine to flood the rooms below from all directions. A roof lantern will also give the impression of an elevated ceiling, potentially adding extraordinary height to an otherwise ordinary space.

What goes into a Westbury roof lantern? 

Unlike other materials, you can achieve highly exquisite detailing from timber, which gives the structure character and creates an incredible architectural impact. We use an exceptional engineered knot-free wood called Accoya, for the outward-facing section of our engineered timber, and particularly vulnerable elements of our projects such as the ridge cap of a roof lantern. Accoya is CO² neutral throughout its full lifecycle, 100% biodegradable and offers outstanding performance and durability. 

Accoya has achieved the most upper durability class possible (Class 1 – EN 350) and is guaranteed to last for up to 50 years. The longer lifespan enables fewer replacements over the same period compared to most other materials, while having more substantial carbon sequestration benefits. Secondly, the superior dimensional stability means fewer paint coatings are needed, providing the surfaces are given a wipe down on a bi-annual basis. Accoya also offers excellent thermal insulation, making it ideal for a structure with plenty of glazed elements. 

Westbury lanterns are double glazed with 4-16-4 toughened panes, filled with argon gas, and sealed with a Low E coating as standard to ensure optimal performance all year round. We also offer the option to upgrade the glazing to laminated, low-maintenance, or solar reflective glass if required. Our high-tech glazing reduces heat transmission, which leads to energy savings and ensures the room maintains a consistent temperature throughout all seasons. Automatic thermostatic ventilation sashes in the roof lantern improve airflow and open or close as the room meets a set temperature, or if it begins to rain.

We then use decorative finials made from resin, which will not split or cause water ingress over time. The engineered timber sections are paired with high-spec aluminium capping for a high-quality product that looks beautiful and requires incredibly minimal maintenance.

Bespoke designs to suit your unique property

Our roof lantern projects incorporate intricate designs and careful manufacturing to ensure they meet the unique specifications of any given project. Each one of our orangeries will have a unique roof lantern which is made to measure and can meet any pitch and size requirements. 

The size, shape and overall design of your orangery extension are dependent on the style and of your property’s roof and the main building itself. This, in turn, should influence the design of your roof lantern. The shelf depth, beam dimension and hip shape will all have an impact on how the finished space will look. Too large, and the roof lantern looks overbearing. Too small, and it seems out of proportion to the rest of the room. Rectangular, square, octagonal, double, and triple roof lanterns all look fantastic when used in the right setting. .

We also supply and install individual roof lanterns and support architects and specifiers with a full in-house design service (including detailed drawings and 1:20 kerb detail drawings) via our sister company, Westbury Windows and Joinery.  

Exploring the benefits of boarded roof lanterns

Suppose you are lucky enough to have a south-facing house. In that case, it’s positioning will expose your extension to more sunshine so it could be worth considering a garden room with a tiled roof, or an orangery with a boarded roof lantern to help minimise the sun exposure. We often suggest that our clients opt for a boarded style if they are having an extension with multiple roof lanterns because the extended eves and gable proportions suit the architectural aesthetic of their property. Yet, they don’t want the space to feel too open and exposed with an excessive amount of glazing.

There might be other reasons why you might opt for a boarded roof lantern. Look at this project in Surrey, for example. The property already included a cosy, snug living room extension with a sloping, flat tiled roof. We suggested that the homeowners add French doors and a boarded roof lantern to that room to match the architectural features of their new orangery. The shape of the boarded roof lantern adds more visual interest to the property’s exterior and internally the room benefits from a heightened ceiling and a focal point that draws the eye up. 

If boarded roof lanterns don’t suit your tastes, you could opt for glazing with a solar reflective film, which will help to regulate the temperature and protect carpets and furniture from damaging ultraviolet rays that can cause colours to fade.

For more information about our bespoke timber orangeries, and to discuss your extension project in more detail, feel free to contact us for expert advice or download our brochure.

Our sister company, Aliwood Roof Lanterns also offer a range of Timber Roof Lanterns for flat roof extensions.