Look beyond the lantern

Karl Grandfield
Karl Grandfield

By Karl Grandfield, sales manager, Whitesales.

If you’re a fabricator or installer looking to make more money from rooflights, then I would advise you to look beyond the lantern.

You obviously need a quality, easy to assemble and cost effective lantern in your range because lanterns still account for a large proportion of the residential rooflight market (cue the Whitesales em.glaze SkyVu), but there’s no doubt you can create real stand out for your business and generate growth if you have a more comprehensive offering which also includes flat glass rooflights and linked glazing.

That opens up all those projects where the customer just wants something different or more contemporary, or where the design of their house or extension doesn’t lend itself to a ubiquitous lantern.

Our Flats in Fashion marketing campaign was designed to highlight the surge in interest in our em.glaze Premium and em.glaze Economy flat rooflights as a direct alternative to lanterns, and we’re also encouraging customers to look at our em.glaze linked glass as a way in to all those side return projects and ‘wow’ installations where it’s all about opening up the sky and maximising natural light.

Crucially, you could actually increase your margins by offering a flat rooflight over a lantern. In a side by side comparison for a 2m x 1m opening, our em.glaze Economy flat rooflight can work out as much as 35% cheaper than a lantern – yet arguably it still has a higher perceived value to the homeowner – so it’s a win-win.

We’ve optimised the design and glass specification of the em.glaze Economy for 2024 so that it now represents what we believe is the best value proposition in the flat roof light market. It has all the inherent quality, weather and thermal performance that you would associate with a Whitesales product and has an 84mm frit as standard to enhance the aesthetic and hide the frame, as well as being flush glazed so there is no risk of water pooling around the edge. It also comes with a choice of manual or electric opening which means it’s an easy way of achieving free areas for natural ventilation.

As well as the cost saving, you also save valuable time on site with a flat rooflight because you just need to position and secure it onto a pre-assembled, fully Part L compliant timber upstand, rather than having to get to site and then assemble a lantern kit. With the Whitesales em.glaze Economy, you can even get 11 stock sizes delivered direct to site within 24 hours to make life even easier.

If you confine your rooflight offering to lanterns, then it’s obvious you’re also missing out on projects where a flat roof with rectangular openings is not the answer. Most typically, this is the side return type extensions with gently sloping roofs that we see particularly in London, and larger extensions where the priority is to bring in natural light.

Here, the solution is a contemporary looking continuous rooflight – either situated across a whole roof or just across a section to open up a spectacular view of the sky.

Traditionally, these kinds of continuous rooflights have largely been bespoke, but if you opt for a modular system like our em.glaze linked system you get a simpler, more flexible solution which gives you much more consistent margins.

Whitesales em.glaze linked glass sections are available in bespoke sizes from 2,000mm to 6,000mm wide and from 800mm x 2,000mm long, which can be linked together with no external capping. They come in secure, thermally broken welded frames with self-supporting joints and can be wall abutted if required for side returns. We recommend an install pitch of between 5° and 15°, but we can always advise on steeper inclines if required.

We can also provide all the help and advice you need on specifying and installing the products and opening up a potential new revenue stream for your business.