Eurocell have their Skypod, Atlas have their lantern roof and perhaps the biggest of them all, Ultraframe have joined the party with their UltraSky lantern roof. The battle of lantern roof products has really begun!

In an attempt to diversify the product ranges of manufacturers and installers, roofing and system companies have set about creating a new product niche, designed to breathe life into the nation’s flat roofs. When a new glazed extension isn’t always a physical or financial option for homeowners, doing something with their previously ignored flat roofs might be. This is where the lantern roof comes in.

Growing quickly

The market for small, easily installed lantern roofs has rocketed over the past couple of years as the industry looks for new ways to increase business and find new revenue streams. Entering the flat roof sector was a clever move. After all, how many homes do you see with flat roofs used on extensions? Plenty. Yet very few had any source of light whatsoever, often making those rooms dark and a tad lacklustre.

Even our own main reception building has a big flat roof with absolutely no source of natural light. We have strip lights that do that job, which doesn’t really give off the nicest glow, bulbs never do. But our reception buildings, as well as many others, is a prime target for one or two of these new kit-form lantern roofs to be fitted.

When you consider there is likely to be millions of existing flat roofs all over the UK, the scope for the new lantern roof market is absolutely huge. No wonder everyone is going to want a piece of it.

Different materials, different looks

The three I’ve mentioned come in different options. The Skypod from Eurocell is a PVC system, and one I have sold twice before. The Atlas lantern roof is an aluminium option which I have seen at last year’s FiT Show and did look very impressive. The aluminium option gives you maximum glass and minimal frame width. Then the new UltraSky lantern froom from Ultraframe comes in both PVC and aluminium, which could be a good move as it will cover both fans of PVC and aluminium.

Which one is better? Not a clue! I haven’t yet seen the Atlas roof fitted, although on display it did look very nice. Nor have I seen the new UltraSky lantern roof in the flesh either. We have used the Skypod from Eurocell a couple of times so far, and the end users seemed happy with their looks and finish, so no complaints from me on that feedback!

What I would say though is that if the lantern roof market is going to go from niche to fully fledged sector, they’re all going to need to come with either triple glazing as an option to upgrade, or come with triple glazing as standard. And I’m not just referring to the three products above, but all suppliers who either have a lantern roof on the market right now, or have one in the pipeline. If triple glazing is going to be the new standard bearer in the coming years, I don’t see much point in bringing out new product now that don’t have at least the option to make these roofs with triple glazed units.

Still, away from triple glazing, these roofs are going to become a very popular side product that could make installers quite a lot of money, if they’re not doing so already.

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