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How much does a lantern conservatory roof cost?

There is nothing quite like a lantern roof on a conservatory to add a touch of style and grandeur to the overall effect but lantern roofs are towards the more expensive end of the spectrum when it comes to conservatory design. How much you end up paying will depend on the height and length of the final installation plus any additional features. An average range for the cost of a lantern roof on a conservatory would be from somewhere in the region of £4,100 to £7,950.

Lantern roofs are most commonly seen on what are described as orangeries; these are not traditional glass conservatories but a halfway house between an actual extension and a conservatory with brick or stone built pillars and part solid walls.  However, a lantern roof can in theory be fitted to any conservatory and are also used for single storey solid extensions because they add natural light and a real feature to what would otherwise be a completely plain roof.

What is a Lantern Roof conservatory?

The Lantern conservatory was the original conservatory style when they were first introduced as orangeries.  The style dates back to the 19th century and there is a fabulous display of Victorian lantern roof conservatories at Kew Gardens in London. 

The lantern roof has a two-tier feature sometimes known as the ‘wedding cake effect’.  The two levels are separated by a row of windows and this stylish design is perfect for period  Edwardian or Victorian properties although it can also be incorporated very effectively into more contemporary and modernist designs.

Lantern style roofs are often used for large and grand conservatories or conservatories that are used to house swimming pools but they can be scaled down and incorporated into any style of conservatory design.  They create light, height and grandeur with an uninterrupted view of the sky; the added level of windows offers the option of more ventilation.  These days, due to the height of the upper level of windows, these are usually electrically operated from remote.  Some conservatory companies offer stained glass options for the upper tier of windows.

Roof lanterns can have several different designs on a conservatory roof but are mostly a pyramid, box or elongated pyramid shape.

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What are the factors which can influence the cost of a lantern roof conservatory?

The precise cost of a lantern roof on your conservatory will depend on a number of factors many of which may be unique to your home, these include:-

  • The size of the conservatory roof
  • The size and complexity of the roof design and the lantern
  • The type of glass you choose for the design
  • Whether you add features like remote control windows or coloured or tinted glass
  • Whether the existing frame will support the new feature on the roof or needs upgrading
  • Access to the site
  • Your location in the UK – this type of work in the south-east or London is inevitably more expensive

Are there any unforeseen costs with a lantern roof conservatory?

Your contractor will quote you for the job of fitting the roof but there can be hidden costs with a lantern roof conservatory that don’t necessarily appear on the quote and which it is easy to overlook.

  • If you are going for a completely new roof there may be costs associated with the disposal of the old roof
  • Your contractor may find that repairs or upgrading is required on the original frame if it is very old and in a state of disrepair
  • Most conservatories fall within the standard definition so they are not subject to Building Regulations approval but much depends on the design of the conservatory and how it is heated.  If you do need Building Control approval then this can cost several hundred pounds

Can you fit a lantern roof to any style of conservatory?

Lantern roofs are commonly associated with quite large and ornate conservatories attached to period houses but they can also be used to add a feature to something quite plain, even a conservatory with a flat roof.  A lantern roof can hugely enhance even a modest conservatory with a proportional feature that works on either a modern or a classic style and can be tailored to the design and size of the original building.

Apart from style, what are the benefits of having a roof lantern?

Long, rectangular roof lanterns channel daylight where you need it and are perfect for conservatories, particularly for those which have stone or brick half walls.  Add natural light over a working space or dining room table.  Wider roof lanterns can stretch across most of the conservatory roof and make the most wonderful feature at night.

Roof lanterns can offer excellent thermal efficiency and will harvest natural sunlight and daylight, ideal in the winter months.  Modern materials reduce heat loss in the winter and solar glare in the summer with the help of subtly tinted and thermally-efficient glass.  The lantern will draw in much more natural light from a range of different angles compared to flat roof lights increasing the available light in the room below.

Electrically operated windows mean you can increase ventilation in the conservatory at the flick of a switch.

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Are lantern roofs becoming more fashionable?

Old-style conservatories have long had a reputation for being too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.  For most people, the last thing they wanted to do was increase the glass content in their conservatory roof as an inefficient conservatory roof made of glass or polycarbonate was commonly the source of all the problems.

Now, next-generation glass means that poor thermal regulation is increasingly a thing of the past.  Choose energy-efficient glass which reduces solar glare and the ingress of heat in the summer and also prevents essential warmth from escaping in the winter. 

Enjoy features like self-cleaning glass which repels dirt and keeps the windows on the lantern element of the roof clearer and cleaner for longer.  Double-glazed glass panels will also provide sound insulation against heavy rain and blot out noise from the environment such as traffic, aeroplanes and disruption from adjacent buildings. Read more on the cost of roof moss removal and on roof cleaning and coating costs for more information on keeping your roof clean.

How to find the right contractor for a lantern roof

A lantern roof on a new or existing conservatory as a refurbishment is a significant cost so you will want to be sure you have the right contractor to do the job.

Try and find a personal recommendation from a friend or neighbour but do be aware that lantern roofs are more specialist and the conservatory company they used may not offer them.

Social media is a good source of information but do be sure to ask for references from anyone who has not been recommended by someone you actually know.  Facebook groups can bring forth all sorts of suggestions but only a percentage of people commenting will have had any real experience of the contractor they are recommending.

There are trusted trader platforms online which capture some of your information and will contact authentic and verified local traders on your behalf.  Some of these sites are very effective but some are little more than glorified advertising directories so make sure that these traders have gone through some sort of vetting process and that their online reviews are genuine.

How many quotes should you obtain?

Always source three to four estimates as this will help you make the right choice of contractor ultimately and also give you a much better feeling for the cost of a new conservatory lantern roof.  Prices will vary significantly and every project is unique so it can be hard to use a friend or neighbour’s project as a benchmark for your own cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a lantern on a conservatory roof require planning permission?

Not usually but if your home is listed and/or in a conservation area then it is important to check this aspect with the local listings officer.  If planning permission is required, the whole conservatory design will be evaluated, not just the lantern roof.

Does a lantern roof conservatory require inspection under Building Regulations?

Conservatories have not historically required compliance with Building Regulations although the criteria about what could be classified as a conservatory were very strict.  In 2010, the regulations relaxed a little, mainly surrounding the use of different materials other than glass in the conservatory roof and perhaps as a response to some of the poor thermal efficiency of many older-style conservatories.  A standard conservatory should not require approval from the Buildings Inspector even with a lantern roof so this won’t increase your costs.  However, if your design is straying more towards an orangery than a conservatory then you may need to think again.

Will a lantern roof conservatory increase the value of my home? Is it worth the extra cost?

A lantern roof conservatory is a significant cost, enough to make you think about whether you can justify the expense and whether you will get your money back on a sale.  There are two reasons why a new lantern roof will pay you back at sale time and the first is the increased kerb appeal of your home – these roofs can look amazing, the finishing touch on a period-style conservatory or a proportional and eye-catching feature even on a modest building.  The second reason a new lantern roof is a big winner with potential buyers is that next-generation glazing materials will solve all of those thermal problems associated with old-style conservatory roofs and which most keen buyers are only too well aware of.  If you choose self-cleaning glass and remotely operated windows then potential purchases will be able to see that the roof is not just a decorative feature but a very workable and manageable addition to the conservatory.

What if my neighbour starts complaining about the work I am doing – my conservatory is right next to his fence?

There is a statute called the 1996 Party Wall Act which governs work next to a neighbouring boundary – it doesn’t have to involve a physical wall, it can just be right next to your neighbour’s house or fence.  The idea is to make sure neighbours cooperate over works that can be potentially noisy and disruptive; the Act is there to protect neighbours from nuisance during anti-social hours and damage to their property whilst their neighbour carries out work.  It sets out the process for an agreement to regulate the situation and there is also a mechanism for resolution in the event of a dispute.

Should you expect guarantees and warranties for the work?

A conservatory contractor should offer guarantees on their workmanship and also some of the materials used will carry a manufacturer’s warranty.  Make sure you obtain all of these in writing at the end of the installation.

Can I get a Green Homes Grant to help pay for my new conservatory roof?

There has been a lot of debate about the Green Homes Grant and whether it can apply to a conservatory.  Traditionally, conservatories have not been considered part of the thermal envelope of the building but if the conservatory is not separated from the main house by a solid wall and door then it may be eligible.  Homeowners who qualify can receive a grant worth up to £5,000 and some householders who are on a low income could receive even more, up to a maximum figure of £10,000 towards the cost of a new conservatory roof.

A lantern roof conservatory is not going to be a cheap cost if you are planning either a complete roof refurbishment on an existing conservatory or a new build.  But they do offer a spectacular feature on your home plus new 21st-century glazing options mean you have the glass roof you have always dreamed of plus super thermal efficiency, wasn’t that the whole point of having a conservatory in the first place?

No matter what style of conservatory, a lantern roof can be designed to suit the size and shape and makes a fabulous feature with 21st-century materials and technology.

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