Skylights are a great way to turn the dark areas of your home into bright little corners of sunshine and warmth. The jury’s still out on whether skylights should be considered windows or part of the roof, but here’s what we can say for sure: skylights can provide up to 30% more natural light for the home, as well as create a sense of increased space in the areas it illuminates. At times, some geographic or architectural feature may limit the amount of light you can get through your windows. Sometimes, even the size of the windows themselves can make for inadequate natural light coming into your indoor spaces; installing a skylight allows you to bypass these issues and light up the room to the degree you prefer.
The benefits of installing skylights don’t stop at providing additional natural lighting, however. Even on overcast days, skylights can provide significant natural lighting; as a result of your reduced dependence on electrical lighting, a properly-installed skylight will help reduce your electrical bills, too. This contributes to your home’s overall energy efficiency.
Skylights also contribute to the level of comfort in a room; natural light tends to be softer and more diffuse, as compared to that from electrical lights. This reduces the amount of glare and eye strain that you might otherwise get sitting in the same room, were it lit solely with electrical lights.
There are many options available for those looking to install skylights, including the following:
- fixed skylights – you can probably tell from the name alone that these skylights do not open, much like picture windows
- remote-controlled skylights – fitted with motors that allow them to be opened and closed, these skylights can be operated with a simple remote control unit
- ventilating skylights – these skylights act as a combination of skylight and roof ventilator, and provide both lighting and increased air flow into your rooms
Solar tube skylights, also known as tubular skylights, sun tubes, sun tunnels, and light tubes, are a variation on the more traditional window-on-a-roof skylight design. Consisting of a 10- or 14-inch diameter sheet metal tube with a polished interior, solar tube skylights capture the daylight on your roof and channel it along the tube’s length while maintaining the intensity of light. A 10-inch tubular skylight delivers the equivalent of three 100-watt light bulbs, enough to illuminate a floor area of up to 200 square feet.
If you’re not really looking to add a skylight to your home, then have you considered getting new gutters? More on gutters in Part Two.