What is a skylight? What are the pros and cons of skylights?

Octagon shaped skylight window and blue sky
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What is a skylight? What are the pros and cons of skylights?

Like regular windows, skylight, also known as roof windows, is a part of the roof that comes in different styles and functionalities. They’re great for spaces like bathrooms, closets, or hallways where extra light and ventilation are needed without compromising privacy.

But the price of skylight windows can sometimes discourage homeowners. In this article, I’ll cover all you need to know about skylight window costs, empowering you to make informed choices when shopping for your new skylight windows.

What is skylighting?

Sky lighting refers to the use of natural light from the sky to illuminate indoor spaces. It’s a sustainable and energy-efficient lighting technique that harnesses sunlight to brighten up interiors. Rather than relying solely on artificial lighting sources like light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, sky lighting takes advantage of windows, skylights, or other openings in buildings to let sunlight in.

Here’s a breakdown of how skylighting works:Closed roof window through which you can see the blue sky and white clouds on a sunny day. Modern technologies. Bottom view.

  • Natural Light Source: The primary source of light for skylighting is, of course, the sun. Sunlight contains a broad spectrum of colours and is abundant during daylight hours, making it an excellent resource for lighting up indoor spaces.
  • Utilization of Windows and Skylights: Sky lighting systems typically incorporate windows or skylights strategically placed throughout a building. These openings allow natural light to enter the interior spaces, reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day.
  • Distribution of Light: Once sunlight enters the building, it needs to be distributed evenly to ensure uniform lighting throughout the space. This can be achieved through the design of the building’s architecture, such as the positioning of windows and the use of reflective surfaces to bounce light into darker areas.
  • What are the pros and cons of skylights?

  • A skylight is a fantastic way to add light to your home in a unique and stylish way. But like anything, there can be some downsides if you don’t do it right! So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of skylights?
  • Pros of Sky Lighting:

    1. Energy Efficiency: Sky lighting relies on natural sunlight, which is abundant and free. By using daylight instead of artificial lighting during the day, buildings can significantly reduce their energy consumption and lower utility bills.
    2. Cost Savings: With reduced reliance on electric lighting, building owners can save money on electricity costs over time. While the initial installation of skylighting may require an investment, the long-term savings can outweigh the upfront expenses.
    3. Health Benefits: Natural light has been linked to various health benefits, including improved mood, enhanced productivity, and better sleep quality. Skylighting can help create a more comfortable and pleasant indoor environment for occupants, leading to overall well-being.
    4. Visual Comfort: Sunlight provides a high-quality, balanced light that closely mimics natural outdoor lighting conditions. This can reduce eye strain, improve visibility, and create a more visually appealing space compared to harsh artificial lighting.
    5. Aesthetics: Skylights and windows can add architectural interest to a building’s design, enhancing its aesthetic appeal both inside and out. They can also create visually striking effects, such as patterns of light and shadow, which can contribute to the overall ambience of a space.

    Wooden ceiling in a contemporary mansard room with attic window of decorative planks surface.

  • Cons of Sky Lighting:

    1. Glare and Heat Gain: Direct sunlight entering through windows or skylights can cause glare and overheating, especially in warmer climates or during certain times of the day. This can create discomfort for occupants and may require the use of shading devices or glazing treatments to mitigate.
    2. UV Radiation: Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause fading and damage to interior furnishings, artwork, and flooring over time. While some types of glazing can filter out UV rays, additional measures may be needed to protect sensitive materials.
    3. Weather Dependence: Skylighting is reliant on weather conditions, such as cloud cover and the position of the sun. Cloudy days or periods of inclement weather can significantly reduce the amount of natural light available, impacting the effectiveness of skylighting systems.
    4. Limited Control: Unlike electric lighting, which can be easily adjusted or turned off as needed, natural light is not as easily controllable. While shading devices and dimming systems can provide some level of control, they may not always be sufficient to meet the specific lighting needs of a space.
    5. Maintenance Requirements: Skylights, windows, and other components of skylighting systems require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. This may include cleaning to remove dirt and debris, inspecting for leaks or damage, and replacing worn or damaged parts.
  • Happy young couple using tablet sitting on the floor at home

How much do skylights cost?

Skylights come in a range of prices, typically from $150 to $2,000 or higher per skylight. The actual cost depends on factors such as size, features, and materials. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Tubular skylights usually range from $150 to $1,200.
  • Acrylic skylights typically cost between $350 and $750.
  • Custom glazing can be $2,000 or more.

Professional installation by skilled skylight installers is necessary to ensure proper fitting and prevent leaks. This adds to the overall cost.

What factors influence skylight installation costs?

Several factors affect the cost of skylight installation:

  1. Size of skylight: Larger skylights may require structural changes to the roof and ceiling, potentially increasing installation costs.
  2. Type of skylight: Simple tubular skylights are less expensive to install than motorized dome skylights.
  3. Roof type and pitch: Some roofs may need modifications to accommodate skylights, especially pitched roofs.
  4. New or replacement installation: Installing a skylight in a new build or during renovations may be more cost-effective than retrofitting into an existing structure.

Skylight installers typically charge by the hour, with rates ranging from $45 to $95 per hour, plus a service fee. Alternatively, they may offer a flat rate, with typical installation costs as follows:

  • $300 to $600 for standard installations.
  • $850 to $1,300 for larger or more complex installations.

Request detailed quotes from local skylight installers to compare prices and ensure transparency in the services provided.

How many skylights should I get?

When deciding on skylights for your home, remember that you might need several to achieve your desired level of brightness. Typically, installers group 2 to 4 smaller skylights together. However, opting for a single large skylight might be more economical.

Installers can connect multiple skylights in various arrangements to increase light intake and create diverse effects in your rooms.

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