What You Need to Know Before Installing a Skylight in Your Roof

Installing a skylight is an excellent way to infuse your home with bright, natural light. These additions can make indoor spaces seem far larger than they actually are, and if they’re correctly installed, they can add significant value to homes. If you’ve been dreaming of lounging in a hot bath while staring up at the starry sky or want to enjoy dinner with the colors of twilight bathing your dining room in a soft glow, this could be the perfect home improvement for you. Before you get started, however, there are a few important things to know.

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With the right skylight in your home, you’ll have the benefit of both solar heating and another reliable way to ventilate your property. These windows can help you cut your home energy costs, boost the resale value of your property, and allow you to create amazing overhead views. They’re great for setting a home apart from other similar-looking properties in the neighborhood, and for creating an indoor atmosphere that’s light, airy, and undeniably uplifting. However, skylight installations should never be do-it-yourself projects, even if you happen to be quite handy. Proper installation is vital for optimizing the benefits of these upgrades, and for avoiding problems with leaks, awkward placement, and serious roof damages among other things.

Determining Whether a Skylight Is Right for Your Home

One of the first things that you’ll need to consider before hiring someone to put a skylight in is whether or not your roof can actually support one of these features. Given that skylights are installed underneath a roof’s shingles and sheathing, not all roof framing types work well for these projects. With stick-framed roofs, each rafter can be up to four feet away from the other. This makes stick-framed roofs ideal for larger skylights as installers have plenty of space for cutting and fitting units in. Conversely, truss-framed roofs that are made out of triangular, prefabricated units generally don’t work well. Prefabricated trusses aren’t meant to be cut once they’ve been installed and thus, alterations to fit a skylight in may wind up diminishing the roof’s integrity. If you have a truss-framed roof, you might need to choose a small skylight, or have several small-sized skylights installed at regular intervals. This won’t provide the same dramatic look that a single, large-sized unit will, but it won’t undermine your roof.

A good roof slope is also important for ensuring a successful skylight installation. Hip, shed, and gable roofs typically provide the right amount of slope for ensuring that water drains away from skylights and off the roof, rather than pooling near these features. For obvious reasons, you definitely cannot install a skylight if you have a flat roof. Having standing bodies of water around these windows can lead to discolored glazing, roof leaks, ceiling rot, pest infestations, and a host of other problems.

The type of roof framing that your home has will play a major role in determining which skylight size works best for your property, if any at all. However, there are countless other factors to consider. For instance, you don’t necessarily have to opt for glass glazing for your skylight. Glass glazing is by far the most superior choice, but it can also be as much as five times more costly than plastic alternatives. Glass that’s used in these products is manufactured to be stain, scratch, and impact resistant. You can also choose between two different insulating options when you opt for glass. These are:

  • Argon gas between two panes that traps heat indoors during the winter and keeps excess heat out during the summer
  • A transparent layer of metal oxide at the interior of the skylights that’s known as a low-E or low emissivity coating

Plastic is the most budget-friendly choice for those looking to save. There are also a number of attractive, durable, and highly functional options available. Plastic is less likely to break or shatter than glass, but it’s much more prone to problems with discoloration. Plastic glazing is available in economical acrylic designs, and in sturdier polycarbonate options. If you’re ready to bring your dreams of having a skylight to fruition and want to find the best products for doing so, we can help. Get in touch with us today by calling 913-850-6556.