Bring in Natural Light With Skylights

Bring in Natural Light With Skylights
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    While many homeowners may be comfortable with doing the work themselves, not many people may feel that way about installing skylights, another project that the federal government deems worthy of a tax credit.


Window and door replacements are among the easiest home improvement projects to tackle, usually requiring a simple swap out of existing hardware and related components to get the job done. While many homeowners may be comfortable with doing the work themselves, not many people may feel that way about installing skylights, another project that the federal government deems worthy of a tax credit.

D-I-Y or Contractor?

Skylights have come a long way since these earlier models were first used.

Skylight installation is not an easy job especially as a roof must be cut into, flashing put in place and the roof sealed to keep moisture out. If your roof is in good shape the job is easier to accomplish, but if your roof is in need of replacement, then the job is best held off until that work has been done.

Window and door replacement seems logical to include with any federal home improvement project, but not skylights. After all, the main benefit is to provide a beautiful view of the sky, right? Well, not just that. Skylights bring in plenty of natural light and offset the need to use electricity as much. On sunny days, even the darkest room can benefit from natural light, limiting the need for electricity which is the efficiency aspect the federal government wants to encourage, thus the tax credit.

3 Types of Skylights

Owners of commercial buildings understand the benefits of bringing in natural light, enabling office complexes, shopping centers and public buildings to harness sunlight and minimize the need for lighting throughout the day. Homeowners can enjoy similar benefits with only one major decision needing to be made and that would be selecting the type of skylight to be used.

Fixed skylights are the most popular and are relatively cost effective. They’re perfect for stairwells, attics and other rooms where the goal is simply to increase the amount of light that can come in. You can’t open them, but you don’t want to. What you want is to invite in natural light and plenty of it.

Ventilating skylights can be opened and come with a crank for manual operation or can be opened electronically using a remote. You’ll find these types of skylights in areas of the house where additional ventilation is needed as in a kitchen or bath. Over cooking that steak or taking a long, hot shower does not need to overtax your existing ventilation system with a ventilated skylight in place. For homes near the beach, you’ll find ventilated skylights in bedrooms, family rooms and wherever else homeowners want to enjoy sea air and sunlight.

Tubular skylights can be found wherever additional light is needed in the house. These skylights are small, round and installed in rooms, closets and hallways that can benefit from some natural light. Many newer homes have tubular skylights, providing a great way to eliminate the need for electrical lighting in areas of the house where needed the most.

Special Touches

There are some drawbacks with skylights, problems you can address before your new units are put in place. Larger skylights in particular can bring in plenty of sun, but they can also expose your to harmful rays of the sun including damaging UV rays. To counter the problem without reducing natural light, window covers allow the light in, but keep the rays out. They’re designed for older units as most of today’s skylights come equipped with sun ray filters — just make sure that you understand what you’re getting before placing your order and that the look of these covers match your needs. Yes, they come in different colors, therefore you’ll want to find the right match for your decor.

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Solar shade screen panels are ideal especially if your skylights expose you to the prying eyes of neighbors. The science behind these panels is that outside viewing of the home’s interior is restricted as porosity, reflectivity and ambient lighting combine to ensure your privacy. Your installer can demonstrate how this works and what options are best for you. If you’re not satisfied with this option, you can always choose customized, electronic operated blinds to completely block out lighting during times when you absolutely must have some privacy.

Resources How to Install a Skylight

University of Massachusetts Amherst: Building and Construction Technology: Preventing Ice Dams

See Also — Visit our section on doors and windows to discover design options and tips.

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Categories: Home Lighting

About Author

Krayton M Davis

Executive Manager: LetsRenovate Team