What you need to know before installing a skylight?



There will be areas in your home where you could use a little more light. Allowing natural light into your home is simply the most cost-efficient and energy-efficient way to do so. And adding a skylight is an innovative and elegant way to go about it. There is more to skylight installation than just calling in the contractor. There are a few things you must know before you begin the process.

What Makes Skylights So Special?

Besides their aesthetic benefits, skylights offer many practical benefits too. Installing these features in the right location can offer the following benefits:

  • Make a room seem larger
  • Make architectural and style statements
  • Make darker rooms seem brighter
  • Improve ventilation in humid rooms

Controlled exposure to sunlight is also beneficial for health.

Things to Know

So what are some of the most important things you must know before installing these features in your home? Here are 4 things that should make you an educated homeowner before making the right decision.

1. Skylights are Great for Certain Roofs Only

Skylights are installed at the roofline and under the shingles and sheathing. Your roof type will determine if it can support the skylight or not. Consider what type of framing your roof has. The two common frames are:

  • Stick frames
  • Truss frames

If you have a truss-framed roof, your skylight will be limited in width to not more than 2 feet. Keep in mind that the recommended size for these features is 5% to 10% of the total area of the room.

2. Heat Gain Should be Addressed

Most types of skylight installation will increase heat gain. This may be good during winter, but not during the sunny days in summer. So, how to address this challenge:

  • Install a skylight made of double-insulated glass tempered with low-E coatings
  • Install the skylight at a lower slope
  • Bronze-tinted skylights are also good options

Regulations recommend installing these features at a slope of 5 to 15 degrees lower than a house’s latitude.

3. Know the Types of Skylights

It is good to know the types of skylights available in the market and their key features. You don’t want to install a type without knowing anything about it.

Fixed Skylights

These are the more commonly installed skylight windows and are not designed to be opened. They are perfect for illumination and getting a view of the sky or the outdoors. They are mostly installed on high ceilings that are inaccessible.

Vented Skylights

Aesthetically similar to fixed skylights, these can be opened electronically or manually. Some of the key features of this type of skylight installation are as follows:

  • Perfect for rooms with humidity and condensation issues
  • Good emergency exit options
  • Cost more than fixed skylights

Tubular Skylights

These are long tubes designed to catch sunlight and reflect it into the indoors. They are also known as solar skylights. Choose them for smaller spaces such as:

  • Bathrooms
  • Closets
  • Hallways

They can fit on roofs or attics having obstructions, such as venting and wiring. This makes them easier to install.

4. Consider Glass & Plastic Glazing Options

There is a general perception that glass is the only material used in making skylight glazing. However, there are a couple of plastic options as well. 

You must know the key features of glass and plastic glazing to ensure you are making the right choice:

Glass Glazing

  • Is 2 times as heavy as plastic glazing
  • Is clearer and offers greater impact and scratch resistance
  • Offers better resistance to discoloration
  • Offers better UV protection
  • Offers more insulating options – low-E coating and argon gas layer between the panes

Laminated or tempered glass is recommended as it tends to shatter and not break into sharp pieces on impact.

Plastic Glazing

  • Offers greater strength in the polycarbonate variety
  • Is less likely to break on impact

Glass glazing offers greater flexibility in terms of shapes and sizes.

So make sure to keep these points in mind before skylight installation. Once you have enough knowledge, it will be better to discuss all the options with your installer.