What are Transparent Roof Skylights?
Skylights are roof installations made of framed glass glazing that you can partially or fully install over a roof for illumination.
They are combined with traditional roofing materials such as clay tiles, metal, or concrete to create functional commercial or residential roofs.
A great example of skylights you can install over your home or commercial building is transparent roof skylights. They get that name because they allow natural light to stream into a room from above through transparent glazing.
The transparency of these glass skylights ensures sunlight streams into a space in a way that vertical windows cannot achieve.
They offer excellent top lighting by illuminating buildings with three times more illumination than what you get from vertical windows.
You can benefit from top lighting even during cloudy days, which means roof skylights will benefit you in almost any weather.
In fact, during cloudy days, the lighting provided by skylights is still more efficient than what you get from side lighting.
Origin of transparent roof skylights
Transparent roof skylights have been around for a long time. They were used in ancient Rome as part of the architecture and when glass production started becoming popular during the Industrial Revolution.
But they got popular in the mid 20th century when skylights started being used in different ways, such as energy conservation.
Some of the famous buildings over which transparent skylights were first installed are the Burgos Cathedral and the Palace of Versailles.
These days they are installed in modern designs that improve the aesthetics of a building while offering functionality to its occupants.
Different uses of transparent roof skylights
Transparent roof skylights provide health benefits to the occupants of a building due to the sun rays that stream through them.
Therefore, they are considered a great addition in hospitals because they improve the disposition and health of patients.
And when installed over commercial buildings such as malls, they boost the mood of workers and increase sales in retail stores.
In schools, the natural light from roof skylights increases visibility for students ensuring they perform better in their studies.
For these reasons, transparent roof skylights are often put up over carports, conservatories, foyers, libraries, and other high-traffic areas in commercial buildings.
In residential homes, roof skylights provide homeowners with a view of the sky day or night. That means you do not have to leave your house to enjoy a pleasant view of the sky day or night.
Most residential homes have skylights installed over rooms without vertical windows such as attics. They allow homeowners to transform such dark spaces into studies, extra bedrooms, and offices.
These skylights are also used to release excess humidity and enhance aesthetics in wet areas such as bathrooms.
Transparent roof skylights can increase the value of any building, whether residential or commercial.
But above all else, the most popular reason people install transparent roof skylights is for daylighting.
The use of roof skylights in daylighting strategies
Transparent skylights are often used to minimize electricity use in large buildings and certain residential homes by optimizing daylight.
They are also used as an affordable way of ventilating them and regulating indoor temperatures, eliminating the need for air conditioners and fans.
Therefore, they cut down on the need for electricity and drastically reduce energy bills. In fact, daylighting can reduce your energy costs by up to 80 percent.
That’s why they are installed over places like walkways and foyers to enhance visibility without turning to artificial lighting.
Because they act as a natural lighting option for building owners, glass roofing systems are considered eco-friendly installations.
Therefore, using them as part of a daylighting strategy can earn you Federal tax credits.
If you install a solar-powered skylight this year, you will earn a 26% tax credit from the government.
What is used to make transparent roof skylights?
Transparent roof skylights are made of framing and glazing. The most popular material used as glazing is glass. It is strong, versatile, and gives a space excellent aesthetic appeal.
Glass glazing on a skylight lets in natural light differently from what we see from window panes on vertical windows.
You can expect transparent roof skylight glazing to stream in maximum amounts of natural light into a space.
Although glass is associated with condensation issues due to heat gain, using thermal efficient glazing with low emission coatings will eliminate such problems. Sealed double glazing with argon is another excellent option.
You may also use self-cleaning glass, which is easier to maintain, especially for skylights installed high up on the ceiling.
If you live in a hot area, tinted glazing will help you minimize heat gain due to its ability to lower a skylight’s solar heat gain coefficient.
However, if you live in a cold area, it’s best to install a skylight made of glazing with a high solar heat gain coefficient to ensure your home stays warm.
The framing on a transparent roof skylight is usually made of fabricated aluminum. It is recommended that skylight frames are thermally improved to reduce heat gain too.
You can install transparent roof skylights in different shapes and designs, such as a pyramid, dome, or barrel vault.
In such cases, malleable materials such as acrylic or polycarbonate glazing are used to form these shapes.
You should also consider purchasing accessories for your skylight to improve operability. Using your skylight is much more fun when you have accessories to prevent problems or enhance their capacity.
Blinds are such an accessory that you can use to reduce the amount of light streaming in when it’s hot.
Thermostats and rain sensors are other accessories you can buy for your skylight to set the temperature at which they open or close.
They come in handy during extreme weather, such as rainstorms, to close your skylight immediately it starts to rain.
An installation expert will advise you on the best accessories for your skylight.
Factors to consider when installing transparent roof skylights
While using the right material is important, the way you install roof skylights over your roof will determine how long they last.
Therefore, it’s important to keep these three factors in mind to make the right decision.
Since installing a skylight may force you to cut into your roof or interfere with installations such as electrical wiring and vents, there are regulations you should follow when installing them. These are known as building codes.
You should find out if there are any local or state building codes you need to follow when putting up your transparent roof skylight and follow them.
For example, some codes state that you must curb mount any skylight set at an angle less than 45 degrees from your roof’s horizontal plane.
Others prohibit you from deck mounting a skylight over a roof with a pitch less than 45 degrees.
You may also find codes that prohibit the installation of skylights close to fire-rated walls or air vents.
These are just a few examples of the codes you are expected to adhere to when installing a transparent roof skylight.
Make sure you hire an expert contractor to ensure you follow the building codes in your areas when putting up your skylight.
Transparent roof skylights will leak or have other structural issues if you do not install them properly.
In fact, one of the common reasons for crack or leaks in roof skylights is improper installation.
A contractor who uses the wrong glazing on a skylight or does not use enough weatherproofing around it exposes your home to unnecessary damages due to water and air leaks.
A bad skylight installation can also destroy your roof, voiding its warranty. Therefore, properly installing your skylight is of high priority if it will last.
It will also prevent issues such as leaks that can cause water damage to your home’s interior and decor.
Experts advise homeowners to hire roofing experts with skylight installation knowledge to put them up to avoid such issues.
It is the best way to preserve your roofing warranty and ensure your skylight is installed correctly.
You must maintain your transparent roof skylight in excellent condition for it last.
That means cleaning it regularly with warm soap and water and inspecting it once in a while for any issues such as loose weatherproofing or cracks that may reduce its efficiency.
If such problems are left unchecked, they are likely to destroy your home and the skylight necessitating the installation of a new one.
And considering that skylights are not cheap installations, it’s better to avoid such occurrences by properly maintaining your skylight.
A skylight that is well-taken care of can last for up to 15 years. Therefore, it is worth the time and effort to take care of yours.
You don’t have to pay for light when it is naturally available during the day. Use transparent roof skylights as part of a daylighting strategy to reduce your electricity costs.
You can install transparent roof skylights over most homes and commercial buildings. But to get the best service from them, use durable and strong materials.
And to ensure your roof skylight is installed correctly, hire a roofing expert with an excellent reputation.
The first place to start is by calling a skylight installation expert for a quote.
Once you have that, you can begin your journey to enjoying the many benefits of a skylight by putting one over your home.