What You Need to Know When Installing a Skylight

If you have a spot in your home or office that is always dark, even with the lights on, you should flood it with natural light by installing a skylight in Sydney.

Skylights can let in up to five times more light than vertical windows.

In fact, they are often used to increase the amount of light in rooms that lack any or enough vertical windows.

You probably think it’s a good idea to install one now.

installing skylights in a residential home

But before you spend money on a skylight, you need enough information to help you pick the right one.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions on skylight installations.

What is a skylight?

Skylights are vinyl, metal, or wood frames that hold a light-transmitting sheet of plastic or glass referred to as glazing.

They are installed over roofs to let in natural sunlight or create extra ventilation in homes or commercial buildings.

What are the benefits of using a skylight?

Skylights bring natural light into the home, which brightens it and lifts up our mood.

They will help you reduce your energy consumption thanks to the free natural light you get from outside.

The additional ventilation and lighting provided by skylights prevents mold and mildew growth in humid rooms such as bathrooms.

Skylights aerate the home providing better indoor quality, especially in kitchens where they decrease the build-up of odor and keep the room cool.

You can also use them to highlight specific areas of the home, such as the living room, dining area, or indoor garden.

What are the different types of skylights available?

There are fixed skylights, vented skylights, and tubular skylights.

Fixed skylights do not open. They are only suitable for light exposure and are often installed on high ceilings. They give you a nice view of the sky.

Vented skylights are made to open manually or electronically. Apart from letting in natural light, they are ideal for ventilation and moisture control in humid spaces. They are often used in kitchens and bathrooms.

Tubular skylights do not give you a view of the sky, but they let in some light through reflection. They are often installed over hallways and closets as additional sources of light.

How do you power a skylight?

You can power a skylight electrically, using solar-charged batteries, or manually. Each option has its advantage.

For instance, a solar-powered skylight will save you on electricity costs but is unreliable in every kind of weather.

However, when fully charged, it can still function even when there is no electricity. You also get Federal tax credits for purchasing and installing solar-powered skylights.

Operating a skylight manually helps to save on power costs and only requires your effort.

But you miss out on the luxury of remotely controlling or programming your skylight, which you get with an electric skylight.

What should you consider when installing a skylight?

– Roof framing

It’s easy to install a skylight on a stick-framed roof because you can easily fit a skylight between the rafters.

Truss framed roofs provide a greater challenge because cutting them after installation will interfere with their structural integrity.

However, an experienced roofer can fix a skylight on any roof frame.

– Warranties

Some roof warranties are voided by installing a skylight because it requires roof penetration. Working with your roofer will ensure your skylight is installed in a way that continues to honor your warranty.

Size and placement

You need to install your skylight where it can provide extra lighting and ventilation, such as over a bathroom, dining area, or indoor garden.

The type of roof and room over which you install a skylight will determine its size and shape. Skylights come in different forms to suit your room orientation, such as square, rectangular, and round.

– Light

The amount of light that will flow into a room when you install skylights matters.

Hallways require only ambient light, which is very little. But kitchens and living rooms require task lighting that must be ample enough for you to engage in different activities.

– Time

It’s best to put up a skylight when re-roofing or putting up a new roof.  If you must do it on an old roof, it should be on a clear day to ensure the workmanship is not faulty, which will cause leakages in the future.

Glazing

You can choose between glass and plastic glazing when installing a skylight. Glass glazing gives you clearer views and is easier to keep clean.

Plastic glazing is cheaper but less durable and more likely to discolor over time.

– Budget

A large skylight requires more roof framing, which will translate to higher costs. Several smaller skylights also cost more than larger ones.

The glazing you choose will also raise or lower Costs. Glass glazing generally costs more than plastic.

Are skylights ideal for flat roofs?

While skylights are mostly recommended for sloped roofs, you can still install them over a flat roof.

However, to put up skylights on a flat roof, you risk problems such as leakage due to moisture collecting on top of it.

The good news is that there are various designs ideal for flat roofs that prevent leakages, such as tunnel skylights, fixed skylights, roof access skylights, and curved flat roof skylights.

Can you install skylights on both stick-framed and trussed roofs?

Skylights are best suited for stick framed roofs that provide enough space between rafters to install a skylight.

Trussed roofs do not give the same space. If you insist on installing skylights over a truss roof, they must be small ones.

Does the type of ceiling in your home matter when putting up a skylight?

Although skylights are often installed over a vaulted ceiling due to their sloping nature, you can install one on any type of ceiling. All it takes is a bit more work and skill.

When installing skylights over flat ceilings, you need a drywall light shaft to direct the light into the intended room.

Where there are attic spaces, sun tunnels are used to transfer skylight from the roof to the room over which you need it. You only have to sacrifice the view of the sky.

Therefore, the type of ceiling in your home will only determine whether you get a skylight with a view or not. But it cannot prevent you from installing one.

What are the different methods of installing a skylight?

You can install a skylight by deck mounting it or curb mounting it.

Deck-mounted skylights are attached to the roof deck of slanting roofs and are meant to lie flush against the roof. They are usually installed over sloping and high-pitched roofs.

Curb-mounted skylights are lifted a bit higher than the roof by a curb. The curb is a raised frame mounted over a roof to mount structures such as skylights.

Curb-mounted skylights are ideal for flat roofs, low pitch roofs, and commercial roofs because they can be raised above a roof deck to fit like a cap.

What do you consider when choosing glazing for your skylights?

Your skylights should protect your home from various things, which will be determined by the glazing you use and the workmanship involved.

When picking glazing, consider the following factors;

UV exposure:

Ultraviolet rays from the sun can harm your skin and fade your furniture. Pick skylight glazing with UV protection to filter these harmful rays and prevent them from streaming into your home.

Condensation:

You don’t want your skylight to leak rain, ice, or snow into your home. Therefore, ensure your contractor can properly seal and flash your skylight during installation to prevent leakage. Picking a product that lets out moisture is also essential.

Impact damage:

Your skylight should withstand any damage from airborne debris, hail, and high wind damage. Excellent glazing options that prevent impact damage are tempered glass and impact glass.

Which is better, glass glazing or plastic glazing?

Your skylight glazing can be plastic or glass. Most strong skylights are made of double-paned glass.

Glass glazing is heavier and more expensive than plastic but is resistant to stains and scratches. You can also expect it to resist breakage if it is made of laminated or tempered glass.

Some types of glass glazing also come with different types of coating to improve their protective abilities, such as heat-absorbing tints, low -emissivity coatings, and insulation.

What are the advantages of using plastic glazing?

Plastic glazing is made of polycarbonate or acrylic. It is lighter than glass, less likely to break, and inexpensive.

But unlike glass, plastic glazing gets brittle, scratches, and discolors quickly. Unless quoted with protective film, it will let in harmful UV rays.

Therefore, it’s best to invest in durable glass glazing that offers you and your home complete protection while giving you a great view of the sky.

Can thieves access my home through the skylight?

Unless they break your skylight, thieves cannot access your home via it.

Skylights are only built to open a few inches wide, which is minimal space for someone to pass through unless they compromise the skylight by cutting through it or breaking it.

You can improve the security of your skylight by picking the right glazing, which is often a combination of laminated and tempered glass.

Installing a lockable skylight with a protective screen will further prevent breakage and secure your home from intruders.

Do skylights leak?

There is a common misconception that skylights leak, but that’s not the case.

Well-installed skylights rarely leak unless they are old, in which case they should be replaced.

Modern materials such as Clean, Quiet, and Safe glass are used to prevent leakage caused by the accumulation of rainwater.

Another great option is curved glass which is often used on flat roof skylights.

Contractors also use techniques such as pitching skylights on a flat roof to facilitate easy drainage.

Therefore, leakage is not a problem when you use the best materials on your skylight and ensure it is correctly installed.

Can you expect condensation issues with skylights?

Condensation issues in a skylight occur due to too much humidity in a home. You can avoid such problems by purchasing skylights with weep holes.

These holes are situated around the perimeter and are designed to let out condensation.

You could also pick skylights with thermal insulation, allowing heat to leave the house, and preventing condensation.

Can skylights withstand harsh weather?

You can never control the weather. And when you have a skylight, you need to know it can withstand weather conditions such as hurricanes.

There are hurricane-rated skylights that are capable of withstanding extreme weather due to their airtight seals, all-weather- underlayment, flashing, and counter flashing that keeps rainwater from leaking into your home.

You can also purchase programmable solar or electric skylights equipped with rain sensors that trigger the window to automatically close immediately it starts raining.

Can skylights affect the temperature of your home?

Depending on where your skylights face, they can affect the temperature of your home.

If they face a direction where you get a lot of sunshine, they will increase your home’s temperature.

If you have to situate your skylights in such an area, blinds can help you to reduce the amount of light or heat that comes in.

You can also use glass with electrochromic technology that allows you to control the tint of your skylight, turning it from clear to dark using a remote control.

What reduced the lifespan of a skylight?

Generally, skylights should last for up to ten years. If your’s breaks down before that time, it may be because of poor installation.

You will know your skylight is old when it leaks or loses its thermal insulation.

Can you repair an old skylight?

Skylights may require repair due to old age or because of problems caused by poor installation. However, properly installed skylights that have not gone past their warrant years rarely need repair.

Common problems you will find in a skylight are leakage due to deterioration or loss of thermal insulation, which causes unnecessary heat gain or loss.

Replacing an old skylight is a labor-intensive and unnecessary expenditure. You should replace a skylight with a new one that comes with a leak-free warranty if it goes beyond its warranty years.

Are skylights expensive?

A basic skylight is not expensive, but the price gets a bit high if you want to install a unit with additions such as blinds or shades.

However, blinds and shades help you to control the temperature in your home.

The cost of a skylight is determined by its size and whether it’s a venting or non-venting one. It also matters if the skylight is an electrically venting one or solar-powered.

Keep in mind that the cost of a skylight will include installation costs and any material needed, such as flashing kits, shingles, blinds, underlayment, and interior light shaft, among other materials.

Conclusion

Those are answers to a few frequently asked questions about skylights. As you can see, you can install one on any roof.

Picking the right materials and skilled contractors are the most important factors to focus on.

Once it’s on your house, proper maintenance will extend its lifespan, ensuring you enjoy it for a long time.

Contact a skylight expert today for a quote, and you’ll find it’s pretty affordable.

Related:

How to Choose the Right Skylight: 9 Factors to Consider When Installing a Skylight