Nothing makes a house more comfortable than having an abundance of natural light. When your house receives lots of light from the sun, it feels more spacious and alive.
The quantity and placement of your windows will determine how much sunlight you get, as well as any buildings you may have surrounding your property. It also depends on the direction of the sun as well. These are factors that are difficult if not impossible to change once the house is already built.
One workaround that’s popular among homeowners is to install skylights. They are a handy way of bringing natural light from the surrounding environment inside of your home. Certain types of skylights allow you to direct that sunlight from your roof straight into any room you want.
In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about getting the best skylights for your home. We’ll cover the benefits of skylights, six of the best skylights, and a few handy tips on how to select the best ones.
Table of Contents
Provide Natural light
The first and most obvious benefit of having a skylight at home is for the natural lighting they give. Regardless of how your home is built, having a skylight will open up a pathway for light from the outside to shine right into your home.
Provide Solar Heat
Skylights offer an abundance of functionality and savings as well. During the colder months when temperatures drop and you start to spend more on heating, skylights can help lighten the burden. With the solar heat, the inside of your home will stay warm without having to depend too much on your heating.
Ventilate & Provide Fresh Air
While some types of skylights only let natural sunlight through, others can also open up and let fresh air in as well. With a constant supply of fresh air, your home will be well ventilated. Ventilation also means better humidity and also a lack of odors in the home.
Offer Natural Views
Skylights aren’t just about letting air and sunlight in. It also allows you to look out into the sky. Depending on where your skylight is located, you’ll be able to lay down and look out into the starry night’s sky or admire the clouds going by on a sunny afternoon. It’s like having a window out to nature.
Let’s not forget, skylights are also an accessory for your home that makes it look nicer. It’s a great way to impress your neighbors and visitors. Skylights are an accessory for your home that not only looks amazing, but it's also packed with functionality as well.
Top 5 Skylights
The 13-inch tubular skylight by Natural Light Energy Systems is a modern-style skylight made of aluminum with a lovely matte finish. Its biggest selling point is the 25-year warranty that the manufacturer offers which is one of the best in the industry.
Being a tubular type skylight, the installation process is easy and flexible. This skylight fits best on a shingle type pitched roof.
It comes with built-in UV protection which means that the natural sunlight that comes through it will not damage or fade your clothes, furniture, or carpeting.
This skylight can illuminate up to 150 square feet of space inside your home with great efficiency. It’s ENERGY STAR Qualified and has NFRC Certification for energy efficiency.
It’s a maintenance-free skylight that is also watertight and prevents the buildup of moisture with its special condensation release system. With great features and an impressive 25-year warranty, this skylight is built to last.
The Sun Tunnel by Velux America is 14 inches in diameter so it takes in a lot of natural light. This skylight beats all the others in the flexibility it offers.
While tubular skylights are typically made of fixed aluminum tunneling, the Sun Tunnel comes with a flexible tunnel instead. That makes installation super easy, even more so than any other normal type of tubular skylight. The flexibility allows it to bend and stretch at whatever angle is necessary to fit through your roof.
Velux America truly puts a lot of effort into developing their skylights. The Sun Tunnel is optically engineered to transfer natural light in the most efficient ways possible. The flexible tunnel also comes with its proprietary Flexi Loc System that cuts installation time in half.
Best of all, the diffusers (the parts that illuminate the inside of your house) come in plenty of different designs which means you can pick one that suits your tastes and the existing decor of the house.
This skylight by FAKRO is a roof window that you can open and use to exit the home in case of an emergency. Typically, you’ll find a skylight like this in places where the building code requires all rooms to have two exits. Usually, they’ll be placed in locations such as in an attic or an upper floor.
With this type of skylight, you have the ability to let natural light in through a window located at the roof.That goes both ways, as it also means that you’ll be able to look out at the beautiful sky, day or night. And if you're going to get on top of your you roof to install it, you might as well apply some sealer to help the roof last longer while you're up there.
At the same time, you can open the roof window and immediately provide your home with added ventilation. Leave it open for a while and your home will be free of stale air, replacing it with natural fresh air from your surroundings.
In terms of material, this roof window includes double-glazed tempered glass. Not only does this make the glass more durable, but it also reflects heat much more efficiently. So while you’re letting in lots of beautiful sunlight during the summer months, you won’t be heating up your home excessively.
This is an excellent aluminum tubular skylight designed specifically for flat roofs. However, it's worth noting that this one does not fit well with metal roofs.
The product includes four feet of tubing and a domed prismatic light diffuser. The diffuser makes a big difference, as it softens the light before spreading it out to illuminate the inside of your house. Plus, it adds an element of privacy since you can’t see through the skylight tunnel, but the natural sunlight will still get through it very efficiently. Just like the previous skylight, this one is also NFRC Certified for Energy Efficiency.
The skylight can extend as far as four feet in length, and only weighs 15 pounds in total. These traits make this skylight a great choice for those living in hurricane-prone areas since it’s been hurricane tested and is approved according to certain code requirements. Not only do you get a great skylight that can illuminate up to 150 square feet of space inside your home, but it’ll also stand up against some of the harshest weather conditions that you may experience in the region you live in. For extra help during the winter, make sure you also buy roof/gutter heating cables.
The Double-Hip skylight by Sunoptics is a fixed-type skylight that’s perfect for your kitchen, your garage, or any other part of your house that needs natural lighting. Not only does it let gorgeous natural light in, but it also allows fresh air to ventilate through.
Unlike other skylights, this one has a prismatic lens which is exceptionally efficient at capturing light. It also achieves a 100% light diffusion, which means that it distributes it equally inside the house. No more glare or hotspots and everything is spread out effectively. The lens itself is made of triple-glazed and impact-modified acrylic material that also offers better thermal protection. Meaning no matter how much light it captures, the surface will never get dangerously hot. The frame is a powder-coated bronze aluminum which is fully-welded and sealed. This helps prevent water or moisture from seeping through and prevents the skylight from expanding under all that intense sunlight.
You can either buy the skylight with or without a manual vent. With the manual vent, you’ll be able to adjust it using the telescoping operator pole to crank the vent open as much as you’d like it to. With this version of the skylight, you’ll get added value. Not only will the inside of your home gain loads of beautiful natural sunlight, but you’ll also get added ventilation.
Types of Skylights
As you may have noticed from the ones mentioned above, skylights generally fall into three categories: roof window type, fixed type, and tubular types.
Ventilating / Roof Windows - Some skylights come in the form of a window that’s placed on the roof. For the most part, it’s no different than the rest of the windows you have around your home. Since it functions as a window, you can open it up and use it to ventilate the air within your home.
Fixed - This type of skylight is fixed in place. It’s simply a plane of glass or other transparent material that lets natural sunlight in while also letting you enjoy the view outside. Typically, you can’t open this kind of skylight. Regardless, you should always be striving for more natural sunlight in your home.
Tubular - A tubular skylight offers a bit more flexibility in terms of placement. As the name suggests, the skylight is connected to a tunnel-like part that sends natural light into a different part of the house. This gives you the flexibility of placing the top part of the skylight wherever you can capture the most sunlight.
Skylight Buying Guide
A skylight is a significant investment, not only in terms of money. The installation may take a bit of time as well so before you decide which skylight to buy for your home, here are a few things to consider.
Cost - You’ll definitely want to consider the price of the unit. Sure, you could save a lot of money by going with a cheaper model, however, that might not always be the best choice in the long run. You’ll want your skylights to last a long time. It’s definitely worth investing a little bit more money in exchange for a higher-quality product.
Installation - Some skylights are easier to install than others. Before selecting the skylight you want, be sure to ask about the installation process. How long might it take and how noisy it can be to install.
Glazing - Glazing refers to the material that’s used to make the skylight. Some are made of plastic, which is cheap and durable. Others are made of glass, either tempered glass or laminated glass which costs more but tends to be more efficient at standing up to wear and tear. Each of these materials comes with its own set of pros and cons, so decide what your priorities are and pick the glazing that suits you best.
Functionality - Lastly you should consider the functionality of the skylights themselves. For instance, skylights can differ greatly in their ability to provide ventilation while some provide no ventilation at all. Others can either open up to bring in natural air, or they may have ventilation systems built into it.
Although you’re probably buying a skylight just for the natural lighting functions, skylights today can offer you so much more. It’s worth taking the time to figure out which functions will make you the happiest.