The earliest known skylights have roots with the ancient Romans. Even back then, people understood the benefit of letting extra sunshine into the home. Skylights also give the illusion of expanding the size of a room while adding warmth in the chilly months. Skylights can even improve airflow and lower energy bills.
There are some factors to consider before you punch holes in your ceiling, however. To make sure you are fully prepared for skylight installation, here are a couple of things to keep in mind before completely committing. And once you’ve made up your mind, call the professionals at Elite Remodeling Services at (904) 657-8383 and talk to one of our skylight experts.
What Type of Skylight Do You Want?
Each skylight has unique capabilities, depending on how you want to use it. One of the first features to consider is whether you want a fixed or vented skylight. You cannot open or close a fixed skylight. Vented skylights, on the other hand, offer a degree of flexibility. They can be opened or closed to control airflow in the room.
Another important consideration is the composition of the skylight. Most skylights are either glass or plastic. Tempered glass has a near perfect visibility rating and can endure the elements better than plastic (also known as acrylic). The primary benefit of plastic is that it is typically cheaper than glass.
You will also need to decide which type of framing you want for the skylight. Here your options are tubular or framed shafts. A tubular skylight is used more often in tight spaces and includes a reflective interior coating to maximize illumination. A framed shaft is a more comprehensive undertaking and requires the skylight to be part of the structure of the home. Be sure to hire a roofing company with plenty of experience to install your skylights correctly.
What Type of Energy Rating Should You Get?
Skylight manufacturers test for heat loss, insulation, solar heat gain, and UV blockage. It is easy to get lost in the details of what each value means.
Each skylight receives a rating for how energy efficient it is. The ideal minimal energy rating will depend on where you live, and the average amount of sun your home receives each day. For instance, homes in the Southwest get a lot of sunlight. Skylights in that locale need a high U-factor, which measures the rate at which the skylight conducts non-solar heat flow. Conversely, homes in the northern half of the US require a lower U-factor. Check out these energy performance ratings for more information.
Where Should You Place Your Skylight?
The location of the skylight and the angle of installation is important as well. These factors will affect the total solar heat gained.
The US Department of Energy has a great guiding principle when it comes to maximizing solar gain in the winter and minimizing it in the summer: “You want to achieve a slope equal to your geographical latitude plus 5 to 15 degrees.”
Even which side of the roof you place the skylight on is a vital consideration. East-facing skylights will receive much more sun in the morning than in the evening. West-facing skylights will experience the opposite effect.
How Much Will This Cost?
A single fixed skylight can be as little as $200 and as much as several thousand. That minimum amount can jump up to $400 per window if a contractor is installing them for you.
But there is more than the cost of parts and labor to consider when making your decision. The improved energy efficiency in your home means you will likely be paying less on heating and cooling bills. Even if you have to pay more up front for an Energy Star certification for your skylight, that cost will more than pay for itself down the road. Call Elite Remodeling Services today (904) 657-8383, we’re your local skylight authority.