Despite improvements in lighting technology, nothing luminates quite like the real thing and skylights are the perfect vehicle to bring it in to your home.
Before you install the skylight, the planning stage should include consideration of what you want it to achieve.
For example, how and where the skylight spreads its light will be dependent on its shape. If you desire the light throughout the room, it should be a model with a bubbled design. Straight-edged skylights are ideal when you want light focused on a specific area.
As far as optics are concerned, they draw more light into smaller rooms and actually make them seem larger by creating an effect of airiness and spaciousness. On the other hand, positioning a skylight in an inappropriate place can cause glare.
If the light coming through is too intense, it can cause an uncomfortable amount of heat and might even cause fabrics to fade if too much light falls directly on them. As a precaution, consider adding a shade or filter to the skylight to be more careful with skylight glare.
Uncomfortable heat gain can be avoided by installing a skylight made of double-insulated glass tempered with low-E coatings. These coatings are designed to minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared lights that travel through glass without minimizing the transmission of visible light.
The performance and durability of a skylight is obviously going to be affected by climate. Skylights made from acrylic material are relatively inexpensive and strong, but don’t quite measure up to glass when it comes to the harsh climes of our area. Skylights made purely out of glass are intended to work against rain and snow. That way water spots are not left behind, and you will not have to worry about leaks.
When it comes to the actual installation, proper flashing is a vital component. Flashing is the metal barrier surrounding the exterior of a skylight that prevents water from penetrating the system.
Improperly installed flashing can result in gradual water seepage that can cause significant damage and lead to such structural headaches as rust, corrosion and mold growth. Proper flashing installation is not just a good idea, it’s essential.
Like anything else, a skylight will last longer and perform better if it is well maintained. It should be carefully cleaned once or twice a year. This involves removing any accumulated debris or films on the skylight’s glass or acrylic. Cleaning is especially important with acrylic skylights, as a haze can form and be more difficult to remove than it would be with glass.
Cleaning should be done professionally by someone who can not only clean, but inspect the skylight for problems that can be dealt with and not end up leading to bigger problems.
A professional can repair metal flashing that has worked loose and could permit water to enter between the roof line and skylight opening.
Other inspection points that should be addressed are hairline cracks that form due to temperature change or factors such as falling tree limbs. These cracks can widen and give water an opening.
Observing proper placement and maintenance procedures will light up your life.
WRITTEN BY: DAN PELTON | RESOURCES: BRIGHT SKYLIGHTS PLUS