In this complete guide to skylights, first, we must address some of the reasons why someone may consider skylights in the first place.
Roof skylights are a great way to let natural light into your home. They can make your house look more spacious and provide an extra source of light when you need it. One of the best benefits of having natural light coming in from your roof is that it helps animals and plants have a better grasp on the time of day and seasons, allowing their natural habits and processes to do what they’re designed to.
A home filled with purely artificial light, can often cause stress on plants and animals and keep them in a more dormant state. Studies have even shown that with us humans, lack of sunlight and a structured day can have serious effects on both our mental and physical health.
While pretty minor, roof skylights are not without their drawbacks, though. The most common problem is that if they are outdated or poorly installed, they are a source of lost heat in the winter or cool air in the summer, which means potentially higher energy consumption and money wasted. They also need to be cleaned regularly, and if the glass is dirty or dusty it will reduce the amount of natural light they actually provide.
Despite these problems, we believe in most cases the pros outweigh the cons.
One of the best things about skylights is that they work on virtually any roof. There are a few different styles to accommodate each individual case and generally can be added to a home without any serious renovations. At most, you typically will expect to need your ceiling refinished in the area of the installation, but there are also options that help prevent that!
Traditional skylights come in 2 main variants; “deck mount” and “curb mount.” These can be installed on most roofs without much trouble, and provide the most light. Let’s go over some of the main differences between Curb Mounted and Deck Mounted skylights.
These are seen often and what most people think of when they hear the word “skylight.” These skylights are the most popular because they typically require less work and maintenance after the initial installation. The reason we refer to them as curb mounted, is because they are comprised of a 6-8 inch frame mounted to the surface of an existing roof, and the skylight itself is placed over it, like a lid to a box. This design makes it very easy to replace and update the existing skylight panels and requires much less maintenance.
The downside of the curb mount skylight is that the nature of its design makes it less energy efficient, as the curb or frame typically isn’t insulated against the roof, and the removable lid portion doesn’t have the strongest seal. This is typically not a major issue, but may come at a small cost to your energy bill and some may consider them an eye sore due to how they protrude from the roof.
Unlike curb mounted skylights, these are very sleek and virtually flush with the roof. In order to do so, it does require a bit more work to install, and not everyone is comfortable or experienced enough to do so.
This mount style is typically a better option for newly built homes because the installation process on an existing home can be cumbersome, so it’s best to plan out your structure with these skylights in mind, and build around them to minimize labor. Luxury homeowners typically prefer this style as they blend into the roof a bit better and actually require less maintenance as they are a more permanent fixture.
If the process of adding a skylight just isn’t something you’re interested in, but you’d still like to add some more daylight in your home, fret not! There is a great alternative that offers some of the same benefits but without all the work and much less maintenance.
Solar Tubes are a classic favorite and a popular addition to any existing roof. Not to be confused with solar power, a solar tube is pretty much exactly what it sounds like; a tube that allows sunlight into the home!
These are quirky features that are reminiscent of windows on an old boat or submarine and look great on any home that could use a little added character. They take up very little roof surface, are easily installed, and typically require no additional renovations on the interior of the home. A hole is simply cut into the roof, a tube is slid down and mounted, and an acrylic or glass “lens” caps it off.
Solar tubes are most commonly used to give some extra light in smaller areas of a home such as a bathroom or over a sink or counter in a kitchen.
Skylights are a great way to bring natural light into your home. They are typically more expensive than windows, but they offer a lot of unique benefits that really can’t be found with any other feature.
However, if they are installed improperly or you don’t take care of them when they are, they can lead to larger problems such as letting in unwanted pests and potentially causing water damage which can quickly grow into even larger problems for the structural integrity of your home and roof. That is why it is important to take care of them by cleaning them regularly and calling to have repairs done immediately if you notice a draft or leak.
As with most roofs in general, neglect is the number one cause of failure with skylights. Lack of maintenance or outright ignoring early signs of wear and tear can lead to serious problems that can really hurt your wallet, and even affect the value of the home.
Simply put; Make sure that whoever installs your skylights has the experience to back up their quality and has the knowledge to walk you through proper maintenance.
Skylights are a great addition to any home, can increase the home value, and their ability to improve the quality of life is backed by science, but they need to be installed properly on day-one in order for them to function optimally. A shoddy installation can quickly turn into a long list of problems and a loss on your investment.
If you want an expert opinion on your skylight installation, maintenance, or repair needs, contact us! We will be happy to help you with all of your needs.