The difference a skylight can make in a room is amazing. Aside from providing natural ambiant light, a skylight makes a room feel larger and more cheerful. The right skylight can transform an ordinary bathroom into a spa, turn a dark kitchen into a cheerful cooking space and breathe new life into your living room. A skylight should always be installed by a professional skylight installer
, but before you race out to the nearest skylight showroom
and place your order, read our buyer's guide to skylights and learn more about all the types that are available.
Types of Skylights
There are three basic types of skylights:
- Ventilating skylights are often called "roof windows" because they can be opened and shut, just like an ordinary window.
- Fixed skylights are skylights that are "fixed" closed. These serve only one purpose: to let light pass into the room.
- Tubular skylights are designed for areas where fixed and ventilating skylights would be too large or inappropriate.Tubular skylights are often also called "sun tunnels" because of their tunnel-like appearance.
Aside from these three types of skylights, there are also several different styles to choose from. Some of the most popular styles for home purposes include:
- Flat skylights are made from flat glass or acrylic panels and have rectangular or square frames.
- Dome skylights are similar in construction to flat skylights, but the glass itself is slightly domed.
- Round skylights are also sometimes called "bubble" skylights. They are half spheres of clear acrylic that look like a bubble emerging from the roof.
- Pyramid skylights are made up of four triangle sheets of acrylic or glass that are put together to form a pyramid that juts dramatically from the roof.
- Polygon skylights are the most expensive and dramatic type of skylight. These consist of glass or acrylic panels arranged in a complex polygonal shape.
The majority of skylights sold to homeowners are flat ventilating or fixed sklylights and tubular skylights, followed by domed skylights, which cost a little more, but are attractive and have the added advantage of shedding water and debris more readily than flat glass or acrylic panes do.
What is the Best Type of Skylight for You?
If you want to naturally illuminate a hallway or other area that is too narrow or small for a full-sized skylight, choose one of the many varieties of tubular skylights on the market. For very small spaces, such as a closet or cupboard, there are very small "sun tunnels" available that can be fixed between the ceiling and the roof. These allow enough ambiant light in to illuminate the interior space.
For larger areas, you will want to choose either a fixed or ventilating skylight. Let your skylight supplier
advise you about which size to choose. A skylight that is too large for a room can look obtrusive and allow too much light to focus on a limited area and a skylight that is too small is almost not worth having. Sometimes, too, it is better to have several smaller skylights placed strategically around the room rather than just one large skylight. Your skylight supplier will also be able to help you decide whether or not you need UV blocking window tinting or double glazing.