Are you looking for new ways to bring natural light into your home? A skylight might be what you need. Installing a skylight helps to brighten up a space, especially small rooms, and can completely change the feel of the area. In the evening, a skylight can take a dull, dark place, and give you a breathtaking view of the night sky above.
Skylights can be useful in other ways besides brightness and changing the atmosphere. They can also help reduce utility costs in your home. In the winter months, the skylight lets the natural sunlight in which will help keep the room warm. Also, because of how much light they bring in, you could have enough natural light that you wouldn’t need to turn on artificial lighting.
If this all sounds good, it may be time to think about a skylight. However, before you buy, here is a guide to help you make the best decision for you.
Types of Skylights
When it comes to skylights, there is no one-type-fits-all deal. There are multiple types, including various sizes and styles. Knowing what type of skylight is best for each room could help make the installation process run smoother and save you money from having to replace it.
There are three main types of skylights commonly installed:
- Fixed – these do not open up or provide ventilation. They are installed in hard to reach places to provide additional lighting and dramatic views of above.
- Tubular – these skylights work great in tight and enclosed spaces.
- Vented (Roof Window) – as the name suggested, this is a skylight that opens like a window. Typically, a vented skylight is best suited for rooms that require extra ventilation, like a bathroom or kitchen, to remove excess moisture.
Type of Material
You also want to consider what the skylight is made out of. Skylights are glazed with a variation of plastic and glass material, either done in a single, double, or triple glazing. The most economical material is plastic. A plastic skylight is quite sturdy. However, the plastic can turn yellow over time unless there is a special preventative coating applied. Plastic skylights also let in more UV rays than others.
There is the option of a glass skylight. Going with this option will be more expensive than plastic, but a glass skylight does provide a more elegant look. A glass skylight is usually scratch resistant and is quite durable and long-lasting. However, if you live in an area that is susceptible to large snowfalls or hurricanes, you’ll want a special glass used.
There is also the option of adding a solar-heat control glaze to the skylight. It helps make it more energy efficient.
Know the Ratings
A skylight will have a rating for heat loss, UV blockage, solar heat gain, the percentage of light transmitted. Pay attention to the following numbers on a skylight:
- U-Value: this measures the heat flow through the skylight. If the skylight has a low U-value, it is better at resisting heat
- R-Value: this measures the insulation value of the skylight. The higher the R-value that means the skylight is insulated better.
- Shading Coefficient: this means the solar heat gain. A low shading coefficient will mean there is a lower solar heat gain through the glass.
- UV Blockage: this is the value in which the glazing blocks UV rays from the sun.
- Visible Light Transmittance (VLT): this measurement shows how much light is let in. A high VLT means plenty of natural light.