Let There Be Light: A Guide To Skylights In Consumer Roofs

Posted on: 2 December 2014

Is there a room in your home that seems darker than others? Would you like to bring more natural daylight into your home? If so, a skylight may be a great solution.

Choosing Your Skylight

Several types of skylights exist, but you'll want to consider the benefits that each type might bring to your home. You may be able to reduce your lighting costs as well as lessen heating or cooling needs with well-chosen lighting.

Here are the main types to consider:

  • Ventilated. This type will, as the name suggests, open to let air flow through your home. They're often installed in kitchens or bathrooms to reduce moisture and can be operated with a remote or a long hand crank.
  • Fixed. These don't open and exist completely to improve the lighting in your home.
  • Tubular. These are newer skylights, usually small in size, and great for small rooms or hallways to let some light through.

Positioning Your Skylight

You might want to install a skylight in a particular room, but that might be impractical due to too much sunlight coming in. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) rates and labels skylights for energy efficiency and those ratings can help you choose the best option for the placement you have in mind.

For example, if your skylight faces south, it's going to let a lot more light and heat into your home. North-facing lights are much cooler. And, of course, east-facing lights take advantage of morning sunlight while west-facing lights make the rooms warmer since they get primarily afternoon sun.

Whether this matters depends a lot on your climate, whether you have trees growing that might shade some or part of the skylight, and how energy-efficient your heating and cooling system is.

Sizing Your Skylight

Ventilated and fixed skylights come in almost any size. You'll choose your size based on the light you want and how the skylight is positioned—you don't want to heat up the room too much with large panels.

One way to determine the best size is to choose skylights that are less than 5 percent of the floor area in rooms with windows and less than 15 percent of the floor area in rooms without windows.

Installing skylights into an existing roof carries some concern about leaks. If these lights are not installed correctly, they can indeed leak, so installation is best left to your professional roofing contractor such as Acoma Roofing.

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