How much does a roof lantern cost to buy and install?

large roof lantern in open plan kitchen
(Image credit: Used Kitchen Exchange)

If you are wondering what a new roof lantern costs, you are not alone. Roof lanterns are hugely popular features these days, making it possible to bring natural light flooding in to even central spaces of the home. Not only do they serve this very practical purpose brilliantly, they also look stunning from both the inside and out. 

However, one of the main concerns with anyone considering installing roof lanterns into their home is cost — and this is not a feature known for being particularly cheap.

In this guide, we take a look at the kind of costs you can expect if you decide to take the plunge and include a roof lantern in the design of your new home or extension to ensure that there are no nasty surprises in store. 

Why splash out on roof lantern costs?

Roof lanterns combine aesthetics with practicality and bring bags of light flooding into even the darkest of spaces in a house. They also add a real sense of elegance and wow factor, as well as character, making them popular with not only owners of period properties but also of new homes. 

Rooflights are usually used on flat roofs, making them ideal for anyone after single storey extension ideas — plus they are ideal for large, open plan spaces where it can be tricky to pull light in into some of the more central areas.

And if you still aren't sold on the idea of a roof lantern, bear in mind that not only are there designs to suit all styles of home, there are also ranges for all kinds of budgets.

We take a look at the costs involved with purchasing and fitting a roof lantern, as well as the alternatives should you decide this is not a feature that is right for you.

How much does a roof lantern cost?

It is hard to give an exact figure when it comes to roof lantern costs. This is because what you pay will vary dramatically depending on the size, material, configuration and the type of glazing you opt for. Prices can also rise should you decide to add on any optional extras, such as automated opening mechanisms.  

At the lower end of the price scale lie flat roof lanterns as these are cheaper to manufacture and simpler in form. 

If you are happy to spend more, at the very top of the cost scale lie large bespoke roof lanterns, made from hardwood or aluminium. 

uPVC, flat roof lanterns can be found for as little as around £260 — however, many of these are more akin to rooflights as opposed to the more visually striking roof lanterns we are talking about here.

If you choose to go for a small and basic (a box design for example) uPVC roof lantern, with no side windows, you will be looking at starting costs of from around £550, not including installation. That said, some smaller aluminium designs can also be found with these kind of starting prices, although this is usually when they are on offer and, in reality, a more common starting price for timber and aluminium roof lanterns tends to be at least £1,000.

It is important to remember that these prices are excluding delivery and installation. In addition, adding specialist glazing, such as self-cleaning (often a must-have for hard to reach roof lanterns) or solar control glass, automatic openers and blinds can all add hundreds more pounds. 

kitchen extension with bank of flat rooflights

Flat roof lanterns will be cheaper than very complex configurations featuring sidelights and pyramids.  (Image credit: Simon Burt)

How much do roof lanterns cost to install?

Of course once you have bought your roof lantern, you will need to have it installed. Again, it is almost impossible to give an exact figure when it comes to installation costs. This is because the quotes you receive will very much depend on the type and size of roof lantern you opt for, your roof structure, where in the country you live and whether or not you are having your lantern installed as part of a bigger project, such as an extension.

Some roof lanterns are easier to fit than others — Korniche, for example, supply their roof lanterns in kit form, requiring no cutting, trimming or silicone sealant and say they are designed to be fitted in minutes. 

As with other types of ceiling glazing and rooflights, roof lanterns are usually fitted by a carpenter, roofer or the company supplying the roof lantern. Carpenter rates vary, but between £200-£300 a day is common, meaning that if your roof lantern takes two or three days to fit you might be looking at around £900 for installation. You also need to factor in any repairs that might need to be required to your roof or gutters, as well as scaffolding hire. In reality, you will be safer budgeting more like £1,500 - £2,500 for installation. 

white timber roof lantern

This beautiful timber roof lantern is from Westbury Windows & Joinery (Image credit: Westbury Windows & Joinery)

Roof lanterns vs rooflights: Which costs more?

In general, roof lanterns tend to cost more than rooflights — although obviously if you opted for a small uPVC roof lantern it could well be cheaper than a solid timber, large-format rooflight. 

"Flat glass rooflights are generally slightly cheaper per square metre for the same quality product, but the difference isn’t so huge that it would prohibit you from choosing a lantern if that is your heart’s desire," say the experts at VELUX. "What is of more consideration is the installation and quality of the product. You will very rarely find a lantern rooflight that is pre-assembled. This means that the product will have to be assembled on-site by your installer. This tends to increase the installation time and thus the cost of installation."

Natasha Brinsmead

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.