Skylights – Are they Right for You

Tips About Installing Skylights in your Home

Skylights are an excellent way to bring more natural light into your home. Just one skylight can dramatically transform your room by adding 30% more natural light than a window. This helps you save energy and makes your home warmer during the winter. Skylights may seem inexpensive at first glance since a quality 2×4 foot skylight along with a flashing kit costs anywhere from $100 to $400. However, you need to consider adding another $3000 for installation costs. That being said you first need to carefully evaluate if installing a skylight is the right thing for your home.

Skylights can brighten your home

Till recently having a roof slope determined if you could install a skylight. Flat roofs or those which were too steep required special tools and techniques. However, many of the skylight kits available today include a comprehensive installation kit and procedures which permits it to be installed on all types of roofs. Since, most skylights are meant to be installed on a roof with asphalt shingles you may need to pay extra for flashing if you have tile or metal roofing.

Answer these questions to determine if your home needs a skylight:

Does your roof have trusses? Truss framing is usually around 24 inches on the center and accommodates a 2 foot skylight. But you will have to directly cut through the truss to install something wider. This will require hiring a structural engineer which can end up costing an additional $300. Is your attic space clear? Check your attic for wiring, plumbing and HVAC.

Is a chase required? A chase is just a framed tunnel which will channel the sunlight via the skylight, through your attic and into your room. It can be finished with a drywall and then painted. A professional installation requiring this will cost around $1000. You will not need a chase if you have a cathedral ceiling.

Is a skylight suitable for the architecture of your home? A skylight is just a neutral element and will blend in with most style homes but it could affect the overall curb appeal of an old home.

Can the same job be done with a solar light tube? This costs around 20% less than what a skylight will end up costing you and can illuminate an area measuring around 600 sq. ft.

Features of the best skylights

Even cheap skylights come complete with UV protection and insulated glass. A fixed skylight will cost around $150 to $400. Many manufacturers offer a number of options which help to control the amount of light entering your home and improve ventilation.

A manual venting skylight which needs to be opened manually via a hand crank can cost up to $500
An electronic skylight which you can open and close via remote costs around $1000. This also includes a rain sensor which will automatically close the skylight when it rains.
Some skylights have mini blinds which will fine tune the light you receive. This is operated via a stick crank or your remote control. These blinds cost around $400.

Before Installing Skylights, Read This:


Don’t Skimp on Quality

Energy efficiency, water tightness, sound reduction and other factors such as load and wind resistance are important considerations. Explore additional options such as shading, UV coatings and ventilation. Also, many manufacturers offer high-quality products made from sustainable materials in an effort to protect the environment. Installing a skylight is a serious undertaking, and you want to make sure you’ll be satisfied with your decision later on.
Plan Well
Just be sure to plan carefully to achieve the most pleasing and efficient results, advises Arrol Gellner, an Emeryville, Calif.-based architect and author of the nationally syndicated newspaper column “Architext.”
“You really need to be aware of what the outcome will be and not just cross your fingers and knock a hole in the ceiling,” says Gellner. “It’s a matter of good planning.”
He also notes that adding a skylight in the kitchen or bath has different effects than adding a window. “People tend to use them interchangeably,” he says, “and that’s a mistake.”
Follow the Sun

Bring the Sunshine Inside with Skylights

“I find that people regard the sun as a 100-watt bulb nailed to the sky that never moves,” says Gellner. “But you have to be aware where the sun starts out and where it ends up. Skylights in sloping roofs facing south are especially liable to overheat rooms. North-facing skylights will admit a soft, diffuse light all day long, although they won’t give that sun-splashed effect.”

To protect the new cabinets in your kitchen or the oak vanity in your bath from the potentially bleaching effects of direct sunlight, you can get gray- or bronze-tinted glass that blocks the sun’s ultraviolet rays.


Hope you enjoyed learning about skylights and out tips to look out for. Check out our other topics on choosing the right gutters and back to our homepage Roofing Alexandria.