Bringing the Sky Indoors: Exploring Skylight Types, Considerations, and Ideal Installations
Photo Credit: National Contractors Inc.

 In the realm of architectural design, skylights stand as luminous gateways between the interior and the heavens above. These architectural features not only infuse spaces with natural light but also elevate the ambiance and functionality of any environment they adorn. From traditional fixed designs to modern, energy-efficient marvels, skylights come in a myriad of types, each with its own unique characteristics and considerations. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the diverse world of skylights, exploring their types, factors to consider, and the ideal scenarios for installation or replacement. 

 At their core, skylights are architectural features installed on the roofs of buildings to admit daylight into interior spaces. They come in many shapes, sizes, and configurations, each offering unique aesthetic and functional benefits. From the humble square window to the grandiose vaulted dome, skylights span the spectrum of architectural expression, seamlessly blending form and function. 

Distinct types of skylights
There are three distinct types of skylights to choose from, each with their own unique purpose.

The simplest and most common type, fixed skylights are stationary and cannot be opened. They come in a variety of sizes and are perfect for bringing natural light into any room. They are ideal for spaces where ventilation is not a priority, such as hallways, stairwells, and attics.

As the name suggests, these skylights are equipped with hinges or motors that allow them to open and close, facilitating air circulation and ventilation. The nice part about ventilating skylights is their versatility. This type is particularly suited for kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas prone to moisture buildup.

Also known as sun tunnels, tubular skylights are compact, cylindrical devices that capture sunlight from the roof and channel it into interiors through reflective tubes. They are particularly suitable for small spaces, such as closets, bathrooms, and hallways, where conventional skylights may not be feasible. Tubular skylights are efficient at transmitting daylight over long distances with minimal heat loss.

For those seeking unique and tailored solutions, custom skylights offer limitless possibilities in terms of design, shape, and materials. Whether it's a geometrically intricate pattern, a curved glass canopy, or an innovative solar-powered skylight, custom solutions enable homeowners to realize their vision for natural light and aesthetic expression.

Choosing Between Manual, Electric, and Solar Venting Skylights
Venting skylights can reduce energy costs by releasing stale air and harmful moisture that can build up in spaces like a bathroom or kitchen, but there are different options when considering a venting skylight.

As the name suggests, a manual skylight opens and closes manually without the use of electricity or solar energy.

An electric skylight is a type of skylight that can be opened and closed using an electric motor, which is typically operated by a remote control or a wall-mounted switch.

A solar-powered skylight features a solar panel that captures any available daylight and is the power source that opens and closes the skylight. The beauty of a solar skylight is that you can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit and save 30% on product and installation.

Factors to Consider
Before installing or replacing skylights, several crucial factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Roof Orientation and Placement: Assess the orientation of your roof and the path of the sun to determine the ideal placement of skylights. Proper orientation ensures optimal daylighting and energy efficiency while minimizing glare and heat gain.
  • Size and Shape: Choose skylights that complement the scale and proportions of the room while maximizing natural light penetration. Consider factors such as ceiling height, roof pitch, and architectural style when selecting the size and shape of skylights.
  • Ventilation and Control: Determine whether ventilation is required and select skylights with integrated vents or motorized openers for airflow regulation. Consider additional features such as rain sensors, remote controls, and shading options for added convenience and comfort.
  • Glazing Options: Select appropriate glazing materials to enhance energy efficiency, UV protection, and thermal performance. Options include single-pane, double-pane, and triple-pane glass, as well as acrylic and polycarbonate materials. Choose glazing with low-E coatings and argon gas fills for superior insulation and solar control.
  • Installation and Maintenance: Hire a professional contractor with experience in skylight installation to ensure proper placement, weatherproofing, and structural integrity. Follow manufacturer guidelines for regular maintenance, including cleaning, sealing, and inspecting for leaks, to prolong the lifespan of skylights and preserve indoor air quality.

The Right Skylight for the Right Room 

Here is some inspiration on which skylight to buy depending on the room where you want to add natural light and fresh air.

Photo Credit: National Contractors, Inc.

Kitchen: Venting Skylight
As we've mentioned before, a venting skylight does a wonderful job of opening your kitchen by the way it brings in natural light and ventilates any cooking odors and humidity that may be harmful to your health. A venting skylight can be solar or electrically powered and remote or manually controlled.

Bathroom: Venting Skylight
One of the main benefits of a skylight is the fresh air and daylight that it brings while maintaining privacy. With a venting skylight, you can naturally release steam and stifling air preventing moisture and unwanted odors from accumulating while keeping that essential privacy in your bathroom.

Ideal Time to Install or Replace Skylights
The ideal time to install or replace skylights depends on a range of factors, including roof maintenance or replacement, interior renovation projects, and weather conditions. Consider the following scenarios:

  • Roof Replacement: A new skylight can be fitted seamlessly into your new roof construction. If your roof is due for replacement, take advantage of the opportunity to install new skylights or upgrade existing ones. New skylights will be more attractive, more functional, and more energy-efficient than your old ones. By replacing your skylights at the same time as your roof, you can eliminate costs associated with redundancies for materials and labor which will save homeowners considerably on labor costs. Coordinate with roofing contractors to ensure proper flashing, waterproofing, and compatibility with roofing materials. 
  • Interior Renovation: If you're planning a major interior renovation, such as a kitchen remodel or home addition, consider installing skylights to enhance natural light and visual appeal. Consult with designers and contractors to integrate skylights seamlessly into the renovation plans and maximize their impact on the overall design.
  • Seasonal Considerations: While skylights can be installed year-round, consider scheduling installation during mild weather conditions to minimize disruptions and ensure proper sealing and insulation. Avoid extreme temperatures, heavy rainfall, and high winds that may impede installation and compromise the integrity of skylights.

In conclusion, skylights are versatile architectural features that offer a multitude of benefits, from enhancing natural light and ventilation to improving energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal. By understanding the distinct types of skylights available, considering key factors such as location, size, glazing, and ventilation, and identifying ideal scenarios for installation or replacement, homeowners can make informed decisions that optimize the comfort, functionality, and beauty of their indoor spaces. So, unlock the sky and invite its radiant warmth and luminosity into your home through the timeless allure of skylights.

Trust the Professionals
Whether you are in the market for inspections and maintenance, skylights, siding, gutters, windows and doors, or a new roof, speaking with a trusted, award-winning industry leader like National Contractors, Inc. is an excellent way to make sure you’re protecting your investment.

National Contractors is GAF Master Elite certified with extensive training and licensing to get your roof repair(s) or replacement done correctly. We offer unsurpassed general construction services to community associations, condominiums, management companies, engineering firms, residential and commercial property managers.