Rooflights (also known as skylights) can do wonders for a home, be it adding an extra slice of daylight to a room or creating a roof terrace. But decisions like whether you want a fixed or opening rooflight and what color or material will work best with your interiors and home's architecture are just a few of the things you need to consider before choosing one.
I recently purchased new roof lights, and I considered the following points before I chose the perfect rooflight for my home that aligned with my need and will be helpful to you.
When to start
It is highly recommended to install a rooflight while building the new roof. This gives your roofer the option of cutting off sheathing and shingles around the skylight opening, flaring them out to let water drain away from the skylight to prevent leaks.
Choose your type
There are a lot of different options when it comes to skylights.
Decisions like whether you want a fixed or opening rooflight and what color or material will work best with your interiors, and home's architecture are just a few of the things you need to consider before choosing one.
What kind of light you get, how much you pay, and how complex the installation will be all depend on the style and size of your skylight.
Here's what you need to know about skylight styles:
- Tubular (or tubular daylighting device) skylights are small, fiber-optic devices that pipe natural light—and heat—from a rooftop dome via reflective tubing into a space below.
They're easy to install, so they're suitable for do-it-yourselfers or people looking to add some extra light to dark spaces through the ceiling without committing to a complete remodel.
- Dome (or fixed) skylights combine acrylic glazing with a hinged or removable aluminum frame to allow natural light while providing ventilation.
With this approach, you can get skylights up to 4 feet wide, but check local codes before installing any large openings in your roof.
- Ventilating (or opening) skylights have sashes that open for ventilation like traditional windows with screens for added peace of mind. In addition, most ventilating skylights come equipped with rain sensors that close automatically.
Measure the space
In order to provide the optimal amount of light and warmth to your home, you'll want to install a well-sized skylight.
First, measure the area where you intend to install the skylight. Then, multiply those two numbers together to get the square footage.
For example, 5 feet by 4 feet gets you a 20 square foot skylight. Then, decide on an area you would like illuminated (a table underneath) and find its square footage. In this case, let's say that's about 10 square feet. Then divide 20 by 10 for an optimal skylight size of 2. Therefore, we would recommend a 2-inch skylight to be placed in this area.
Skylights over small rooms benefit from the durability and strength offered by plastic and acrylic ones. However, for larger projects — like big windows above living areas — opt for glass.