A roof lantern is a window placed on the roof of a building to allow entry of natural light. Also, known as skylights or roof lights, these types of windows were first used in sixteenth century Europe for cultivating citrus trees. Since roof lanterns were made from wood during the Victorian era, only the rich and affluent could afford to have them on the roofs of their terraced houses. Today’s lanterns are made from a wide variety of materials including PVC, hardwood, aluminium and stainless steel.
The primary purpose and benefit of installing roof lanterns is to increase the amount of natural light entering a building thereby minimising on electricity costs. In addition to helping reduce a house’s power consumption, roof lights are also seen as key components of a modern contemporary architectural design. Thus, when installing skylights an installer has to take into consideration the design preference of the house’s owner. Additionally, an installer has to take into account the design and size of the lantern to be installed. If a lantern is too small it will appear awkward and unappealing the same applies where the lantern is too large.
Lanterns are usually positioned in such a manner as to direct light to a particular area e.g. a kitchen or the dining area. Thus, the position of the lantern is also a factor to consider. In essence, lanterns are installed to bring a touch of liveliness into a rather dull area of a house. Another important factor to consider when installing lanterns is the cost of installation. Admittedly, installing lanterns will increase the overall cost of construction. However, the long-term benefits outweigh the increased cost of construction. Thus, it is important to consider the benefits of installing skylights vis-a-vis the cost of installation.
The cost of installation will be hinged on the type of lantern to be installed, the installer, the size of the lantern and the quality of work done. Cheap and poorly installed lanterns will typically require constant maintenance and repair. On the other hand, good quality and correctly installed lanterns will require close to no repairs and will be durable. The reason being that proper installation entails the use of double glazing techniques and use of appropriate and efficient sealants. The sealants ensure that there are no leaks during rainy seasons. High-end skylights feature additional benefits such as remote control operation and other electric mechanisms. Thus, the more it costs to install roof lights the more the benefits.
The type of roof on which a roof lantern is to be installed is another factor to be considered. Normally roof lanterns are to be erected on flat roofs; however, not all buildings have flat roofs. Installing a flat roof is cheaper than installing a pitched roof. Thus, the flat roof is more predominant than the pitched roof. Nevertheless, there are buildings that do have pitched roofs. When installing a lantern on a pitched roof, special design considerations have to be taken into account. Moreover, not all installers are experienced in the installation of skylights on pitched roofs. Thus, it is important to work with an installer who is vastly experienced in the installation of skylights.