Different Types of Skylights: How to Choose the Right One

Installing skylights in Sydney is an excellent way of adding value to your home.

They can light up dark areas that rarely access any light, reduce your electricity costs, and enhance your living space by increasing ambiance.

Skylights can also improve the visual comfort in a home, especially for elderly people, and regulate temperatures when it gets too hot or cold.

You can even make your home energy efficient by combining skylights, electric lights, and vertical windows to illuminate your home.


flat skylights installed in a building


But maybe you feel your vertical windows give you enough lighting, and skylights are unnecessary?

Well, experts say a skylight can let in three times more natural light than a vertical window. And unlike vertical windows that unevenly let in light due to internal and external obstructions such as buildings, skylights have no obstructions.

Therefore, they fully stream light into the home from above, illuminating dark spaces and creating amazing ambiance.

There are lots of skylights in the market. It may be challenging to pick one.

However, since installing a skylight is not exactly cheap, you should pick one with care.

That means considering the options available, their different benefits, and what suits your home.

In this article, we share information on different types of skylights. Hopefully, it will help you to make the right choice.

Here we go.


What are the different types of skylights available?

You should choose a skylight based on your needs and the blueprint of your home. Let’s look at the different types available.

  • Fixed skylights

These are skylights you cannot open or close. They are usually located over low-lit areas. They remain permanently sealed and only let in light and a view of the sky.

You can install them over attics, open plan living rooms, and bedrooms. You may also use them to illuminate wet areas such as bathrooms or swimming pools to prevent mold growth. They can also give you a beautiful view of the sky day or night.

Fixed skylights are an excellent installation to use when creating a beautiful ambiance in your home. Use them to illuminate attractive spaces with sculptures, art, or flowers.


  • Venting skylights

If you are looking for skylights that will help you regulate temperatures in your home while adding extra lighting, venting skylights are the best option.

Also known as ventilating skylights, these installations can improve the flow of air in your home.

Think of them as an extra window in your house located on the roof that you can open or close depending on your needs.

Ventilating skylights provide you with more benefits than fixed skylights and cost more to install too.

They are usually put up over bathrooms and kitchens to add lighting, dehumidify, and aerate them, ensuring they remain cool and well-aerated.


  • Tubular daylights

Some multi-story homes and commercial buildings have dark spaces on lower floors where you cannot install a skylight. These may be pantries, attics, hallways, or basements.

Just because you cannot install a skylight over such spaces doesn’t mean it’s impossible to illuminate them. Tubular daylights are a great solution.

They consist of small, dome-shaped roof installations that collect natural light and direct it to dark spaces using highly reflective tubing. The light is then transmitted into rooms using a diffuser.

Tubular daylights cost less to install than fixed and venting skylights because it takes less materials and time to put them up.

They also require a simpler procedure to put up than regular skylights and are therefore easier to install.

These daylights are often used together with electrical light in daylighting systems to minimize light consumption.


  • Flat or otherwise

Some skylights protrude from the roof in different shapes. They may be installed over rectangular or square openings but built up into different shapes on top.

Some examples are pyramid skylights, dome skylights, and hip ridge skylights. Others are polygon skylights which are, in essence, a multi-sided pyramid.

Skylights that protrude from the roof, such as dome or pyramid skylights, uniquely capture light and look better than regular ones. Therefore, they are used to add aesthetic appeal to a building.

Unlike other skylights such as fixed skylights, they can illuminate a whole room due to how light streams in through them.

They are also used to insulate a space and are suitable for commercial and residential buildings. Often they are installed over lobbies, swimming areas, and exciting spaces such as indoor gardens and art rooms.

We also have barrel vault skylights that can completely cover a space providing a continuous tunnel of natural light. They are an economical way of lighting up high traffic areas such as walkways and canopies in commercial buildings.

However, they do not work for residential homes because they eliminate privacy and can allow too much light into a space. They may also not make financial sense for a homeowner to install due to their size.


Factors to consider when picking a skylight

Now that we have learned the various skylights available in the market, here are a few factors you can use to make the right choice.

  1. Your type of roof and house design

The type of skylight you choose must work with your roof design and home installations.

If you want to put up a fixed skylight with a light shaft leading from it, you need a space free of items like electrical wires and plumbing lines to install it.

However, if the room over which you desire to install a skylight is located on the lower floors of your home, tube daylights will work best. They are malleable and come with elbow joints you can use to maneuver past installations such as vents.

The structure of your roof also matters. Truss roofs can only hold skylights 24 inches wide between their trusses; anything over that has to be customized.

The slope of your roof also matters; deck-mounted skylights are better for pitched roofs, while curb-mounted skylights work best for flat roofs.


  1. The method of operation

How do you want to operate your skylight? Can you do it manually, or do you need an automated one?

Skylights you can operate manually require nothing but your effort. However, opening or closing a skylight is cumbersome every time you need to keep out rain or ventilate your home.

A skylight you operate using a remote control or automation system is better. You can set it to open or close during certain times of the day.

And if your skylight is located too high up in the ceiling, using a remote control makes more sense than operating it using a pull cord.


  1. The kind of lighting you require

The type of illumination you want in your home will also guide your choice of a skylight. For instance, large fixed skylights can brighten a room significantly.

And where you require more light on a lower floor, tubular daylights are an excellent solution.

Due to their reflective tubing, they hardly lose any light delivering all the illumination they get from your roof to your room of choice. Daylights work best over hallways, lobbies, and basement areas.

The room over which you require a skylight will also guide your choices. If you have few vertical windows in a room, a large skylight will be a welcome source of additional lighting.


  1. The functionality of a skylight

The functions you require a skylight to meet should guide your choice of a skylight. If you need a skylight to light up your home and ventilate it, a fixed skylight or daylight will do.

However, if you also need to aerate your space once in a while, a ventilating skylight is best.

You may also require a skylight for the aesthetic appeal, in addition to lighting. That may require you to customize a skylight to your preferred design or necessitate you to pick a unique one such as a pyramid skylight.

Where you need to locate your skylight in a commercial building, daylights and barrel vault skylights are a great idea because you can use them to reduce energy costs.

You may also have to consider the weather in your area. If you live in a hot place, a fixed skylight will bring with it issues of heat gain. You may be better off installing a ventilating skylight.

Considering functionality in this way will provide you with the best answers when looking for the ideal skylight.


  1. Aesthetic value

A skylight can make your home look more spacious by illuminating dark spaces.

And if you install a stylish one such as a dome skylight, it will add some curb appeal to your home and give you a panoramic view of the sky day or night.

You may also use skylights to create new spaces in the home by adding light. A dark attic can become a beautiful walk-in closet, reading space, or bedroom. While a basement becomes an attractive open sitting area.

The warmth delivered by a skylight is enough to improve the ambiance of any living space. Therefore, consider how you can include a skylight in your home design to enhance its outlook when choosing one.


  1. The material

The material used to make your skylight matter. It determines the quality of light you get from the skylight, its functionality, and durability.

A skylight made of plastic glazing is likely to age faster than one made of glass glazing.

And if UV exposure is an issue, you may need to install a skylight with UV protection or any other coatings that will keep these harmful rays out.

Consider these factors and others, such as impact resistance, light transmission, and heat gain when installing a skylight.


Are you ready to install a skylight?

These are a few factors and tips you can use to make the right choice.

Of course, once you find a few skylight options based on the factors we have given you, your budget will determine which one you choose and how many you install over your home.

Once you buy a skylight, consider getting additions that will make it easier to operate it, such as blinds, sensors, and thermostats.

Remember, there are many modern skylight designs to choose from; therefore, pick one that gives you all the benefits possible.

Avoid sticking to old designs that do not have modern addition. They are likely to cost you more in maintenance.

However, before you make a choice, talk to skylight experts. They will give you an idea of the best skylight for your home, which will help you to narrow down your choices.

Don’t forget, a skylight must be professionally installed by a roofing expert to prevent roof damage and ensure it serves you for years to come. So when the time comes to put yours up, don’t hesitate to hire one.



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