Have you ever walked into a room and felt comfortable, and everything seems clear?
If you look around and up towards the ceiling, you’ll notice a skylight on the roof that gives life to the room. It allows natural light to flood the room and brightens it.
This and much more is what a skylight brings to a room. However, they are not as popular to some people because of their flaws. This begs the question, are skylights good or bad idea? The answer to this question depends entirely on your choice of skylights, how you use them, and how they impact your space.
Skylights are a great addition to a room, especially a dull one, and they completely transform the room's character, style, and appearance. Before deciding to install a skylight, you should familiarize yourself with the options available.
Also, skylights are not the same for every person because they serve different purposes, such as letting in natural light, providing air circulation and solar heat. Whichever the purposes, learn about the pros and cons of skylights.
What Are Skylights & What Is The Purpose Of A Skylight?
A skylight is a window installed in the roof at the same angle as the ceiling to allow natural light to illuminate the room.
It serves several purposes, including;
• Allow natural light into a room
• For ventilation allowing air circulation in a room
• Offer panoramic views
• Delivering warmth during winter and cool breeze during summer
Since they lessen the usage of electric lights and air conditioners, they also help to reduce energy costs.
Most Popular Types Of Skylights For Your Home
1. Fixed Skylight
This is the most basic and simple type of skylight. It is installed on an unreachable high ceiling, and it doesn’t open.
It mainly serves two purposes, adding light to a room and reducing the sun’s exposure. They also provide beautiful views of the sky.
Since they are fixed, they don’t offer air circulation. It is suitable for an attic, bedroom, or stairwell.
2. Ventilated Skylight
Vented or ventilated skylights are similar to fixed skylights. However, they can be opened to provide ventilation and are accessible via hand or electronically.
They also tend to be more expensive than fixed skylights. Besides these, vented skylights serve similar purposes to fixed windows. They are an excellent choice for those looking for humidity control.
A Ventilated skylight would be suitable for small rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry rooms. This type of skylight can also serve as an emergency exit, especially if they are easily accessible.
3. Tubular Skylight
Tubular skylights, also referred to as solar skylights, are long tubes meant to trap and reflect light into a home.
The reflective tube is adjustable, and it fits nicely in tight or between spaces obscured by venting or wiring.
They are one of the newest types on the market and are suitable for small spaces like closets, foyers, bathrooms, pantries, and hallways.
Solar skylights can have filters to control the sun’s rays, dimmers to control the amount of light entering a room, and exhaust fans to regulate moisture.
They are a good choice if privacy is your priority. An added bonus is solar lights are easy to install.
Considerations When Choosing The Right Skylight For Your Home
There are several factors that you need to consider before when choosing a skylight. These factors help you to make the right choice.
1. Skylight Materials Of Construction
1.1. Plastic Glazing
Plastic is the main glazing option, and it has been used for decades. However, its usage is becoming less common. It is affordable and easy to install.
1.2. Glass Glazing
Glass glazing comes in several variations making it popular and the preferred option for skylights. Glass offers better lighting and lasts longer than plastic. Although it shares similar pros and cons to plastic, it presents unique traits.
2. Weathering Elements
2.1. Sunlight (UV) & Heat
Your skylight material should be able to protect you from the sun’s UV rays and heat. As the beautiful natural light fills your room, your skylight should be designed to filter and prevent exposure to harmful rays.
2.2. Rain & Hail
Another essential element is extreme weather conditions like storms and heavy rain. If you live in an area that has harsh weather, you should choose a material strong enough to withstand the heavy rain, snow, and hail.
3. Energy Performance Rating Of Skylights
Skylight manufacturers always test their materials' energy performance and rate them. The tests include solar heat gain, prevention of UV rays, heat loss, and illumination. These ratings are usually expressed numerically, and they should also play a part in your selection.
UV blockage- shows the ability of a skylight to block ultraviolet rays. The performance is expressed in percentage.
U-value- it depends on the glazing material, frame and related parts. U-value measures the heat flow rate through a skylight. A lower value means the skylight has good resistance to heat flow.
R-value- it shows a glazing material’s insulation properties. A higher R-value means the skylight has good insulation.
Visible light transmittance- this is a measure of how much light a skylight transmits. If you are looking for plenty of natural light, then opt for a skylight with a high LVT value. Tinted glazing offers less lighting.
Shading coefficient- it measures the solar heat that passes through the skylight glazing. A high shading coefficient means the solar heat gain is high.
4. Maintenance Of Skylights
To ensure your skylight last longs and works well, follow the cleaning and maintenance guidelines below;
Routine cleaning of skylights requires that you clean both the interior and exterior parts. It is important to clean the glass or plastic when it is not in direct sunlight. Where there are multiple rows, start by cleaning the highest row and work your way down.
Soak the skylight glass in clean water and mild soap to remove debris and dirt stuck on the glass. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the glass. Do not use materials that will easily scratch and damage the skylight glass.
The exterior surface should also be cleaned the same way. Ensure you dry the surfaces after cleaning.
Once you are done cleaning, inspect for any cracks and leaks that might have been caused by blown debris and tree branches. Any cracks found should be replaced immediately.
Check the gears and the motor for skylights that open to determine if they function correctly.
Skylight Placement Tips
1. Before placing a skylight, consider the sun’s movement and understand the sun’s movement to maximize its lighting. The sun will not always provide the same amount of light all year round. The placement of your skylight should be planned accordingly.
2. For ventilated options, consider the climate of your location. The weather will affect the positioning of the skylight.
3. A skylight's slope affects the sun’s heat gain. Consult a professional to get the right slope that will be ideal during summer and winter.
Skylight Pros & Cons
1. Letting in natural light- this is one of the primary benefits of a skylight. It brightens dark rooms and places.
2. Reduce energy costs- it lessens the usage of air conditioners and heaters by providing solar heat while letting in light.
3. Letting in the fresh air- skylights provide better ventilation allowing air circulation in a room. This helps to reduce stuffiness and freshens up the room.
4. Improves the look of your home- a skylight adds value to your home and improving the atmosphere, and making it attractive. It also offers sky views that are pleasing.
1. Roof leaks- worn out skylights will cause wear and tear to your roof, resulting in leaks.
2. Expensive- good and durable skylights do not come cheap. They also require professional attention when installing.
3. Not easy to clean- skylight requires proper care to function optimally. If you thought cleaning your windows is difficult, imagine cleaning skylights on the roof that are barely reachable.
From the pointers above, it is clear that deciding to install a skylight will depend on a variety of factors.
Understanding the value of skylights starts with the different types and their suitability for your rooms and location.
Get to know the challenges and benefits of each. In addition, get an experience roofing contract to install the skylight properly.