Skylights are great for letting cool, natural light into the home and are generally placed in areas where natural lighting is insufficient, such as a bathroom, hallway or even a walk in closet. They can be installed in both new and existing homes and they save you energy in that you no longer have to turn on a light during the day. Skylights also provide more light than a traditional window – up to three times as much, in fact. Using skylights in your home also means that you can be more flexible with internal spaces.
Roof windows are good for areas such as attics and lofts, spaces that have cathedral ceilings but little to no roof space. Roof windows can be opened and this is great in summer where heat may collect on upper levels of the home. Typically, they make use of double insulating glass which is sealed to prevent heat loss and condensation. Roof windows usually have timber frames with external cladding made from powder-coated aluminium or, in some cases, steel.
Roof windows can also be used in homes that have flat ceilings but, in this case, they are combined with a shaft. These windows can be fixed or openable.
Sun tunnels are generally used where a roof window or a skylight will not fit. They are generally smaller than other skylights but still emit a large amount of natural light, making them suitable for small areas such as walk in cupboards and passageways.
Skylights are cost effective and energy efficient – reducing the need for you to use artificial lighting in your home. They also reduce heat loss from your home. Skylights come in a variety of sizes, depending on your needs. For example, a smaller 350mm skylight could be used in a kitchen, while two 400mm skylights correctly spaced can evenly light a large room, such as an open-plan living room.
Skylights can be fixed or openable for ventilation. Openable skylights can be manually or electrically operated and are great for getting extra ventilation in the home. Skylights come in varying shapes and sizes, with some including tubular, pyramidal, domed, square to round, triangular and hexagonal. They also have a range of glazing options such as clear, tinted or opal (opaque). Materials are generally plastics, glass (double glazed and safety treated), aluminium, steel and stainless steel.
When hiring a professional, there are some things to check for. They should be able to advise you on the best skylight for your needs and they should be able to install them within a mutually convenient period. Always get a minimum of three quotes first so that you can gain a general idea of the cost and installation of a skylight/s. Also ask to see the professional’s qualifications.
What can you reasonably expect to pay for a skylight? Here the size and sophistication of the individual skylight, combined with the installers labour cost, will determine price. Simple dome skylights, typically manufactured from a perspex and easily installed will only cost a few hundred dollars. Roof windows and skylights that have complex flashing and double glazing will typically be priced in the thousands of dollar range. Installation costs will be determined by the complexity of the job, ease of access to your roof etc.
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