Choosing and installing skylights
Skylights are a popular way to introduce more natural light to the interior of your home. Windows are limited in that they can only let light in from the sides; residential skylights allow sunshine to beam in from above, which can create a striking effect in home interiors.
An Overview of the Different Types of Skylights
As with shutters and windows, skylights conform to two basic forms: fixed and operable. Fixed roof skylights don't open, while operable skylights can be opened to let fresh air as well as natural light into your home.
There are many variations within these broad categories, including:
- Flat skylights. These no-frills skylights are made either of glass or acrylic. They consist simply of a flat panel and, if operable, a lever that lets you open and close the skylight. A variation on the flat skylight is the dome skylight, which is similar in design but curves up above the level of your roof.
- Pyramid skylights. These interesting variations appear just as their name suggests – they are pyramid-shaped panels of glass, and are typically fixed rather than operable.
- Tubular skylights. Often featuring baffles that shuttle incoming light through a tubular design, tubular skylights are usually small but powerful, focusing prismatic sunshine into a room to create a unique effect.
- Ridge skylight. Ridge and hip-ridge skylights are usually rectangular in shape and dynamic in appearance, featuring long panels that rise to a peak before being closed off at either end with triangular panes of glass.
These are but a few of the many options available to you. Of course, you can also create custom skylights that incorporate your own designs and personal preferences. Most contractors will be happy to help you make your ideas a reality, and skylights can be fashioned in just about any shape you like.
Tips for Installing Skylights
If you need to install replacement skylights, you're going to begin by removing the solid flashing that borders the original pane(s) of glass or acrylic. Once you've got these out of the way, you should be able to pop the skylight out fairly easily. Next, place the replacement skylights in the same position as the old one. Reattach the flashing, starting at the bottom, moving to the sides and finishing at the top.
Creating a brand-new skylight is a complex job best left to the professionals. Collect estimates from general contractors and roofing contractors in your area to get an idea how much your skylight will cost.