Things to know before installing a skylight - Home
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Things to know before installing a skylight

Apr, 2019

A Skylight is a structure that transmits light from the sun during the day time and forms the complete roof or a part of the roof. History has seen many ancient architectures use the concept of Skylight. The Oculus of the Pantheon is a brilliant and magnificent example of ancient architecture and use of Skylight.

There are many different types of Skylight, but the primary types are:

  • Open Skylight: An open and unglazed hole in the roof or dome.
  • Fixed Unit Skylight: As the name suggests it is not operable and remains fixed without any ventilation.
  • Operable Skylight: It is an operable Skylight with hinges for opening & ventilating, and also known as roof window.
  • Retractable Skylight: These are retractable parts of the roof set on tracks and made of glass or plastic. They can be retracted to open up the roof at will.

Things to be considered

1. Choose the placement wisely
The placement of the Skylight is difficult and causes a lot of problems if it is not setup wisely and in a technically sound manner. The best option will be to get help from engineers and interior designers to help in the process of installing the Skylight. An interior designer will be able to provide the right opinion regarding how the skylight should be placed in the roof and how the light from the sun will affect the room and its inhabitants. Hiring a roofing expert will help in the proper installation of the Skylight and will not harm the roof of the house. As they are professionals in their fields, there is an assurance of quality. The Skylight needs to be well planned, and the blueprint along with the space plan needs to be kept ready before beginning the work of installation of the Skylight.

2. Bad Weather can hinder the project
Bad weather conditions are always a hindrance in any construction work. In the same manner, the installation of the skylight is also held back in bad weather conditions. Though Skylight can be installed any time during the year, the installation in summers is the best as the weather is dry and there is a lot of heat in the atmosphere which helps to dry the adhesives and the building materials. The probability of rain and snow is less in the summer seasons, and the work can be done faster without delays. If installed in the rainy or winter weather there is a chance of springing a leak and the materials used for installing the Skylight coming off and in the process damaging the Skylight. There is also a risk of slipping down the sloping roofs due to rainwater or snow during working on the installation can cause severe injuries.

3. Wearing footwear with the proper traction
As the Skylights are generally placed or installed on the sloping roofs, there is a high risk of falling and injuring oneself during the installation process. It is always recommended to employ professionals who are experts in the fields of home improvement to install the Skylight. If you are well experienced in small construction and home improvement work and would like to install the Skylight yourself, then it is advisable to take all the safety precautions. Since the slopes of the roofs may be slippery, boots or footwear with a lot of traction should be worn so that there is a lot of grip on the surface, as it can prevent accidents.

4. Determine the slope
How much heat and light a room will absorb is dependent on the slope of the Skylight. If the Skylight absorbs too much heat and light, then the place will turn into a solar oven, and that is something that people would not want. Since the Skylights are made of glass or plastic, it causes a greenhouse effect where the heat and light come in through the transparent medium but is unable to leave. The slope is also a dominant factor, as low slopes will admit more heat in summers and less in winters and are exactly opposite of what is required. The ideal slope for installation is 10 degrees more than the latitude of the geographical location.

5. Start from the inside
It is always advisable to start from the interior of the roof rather the outside. First, remove the sheathing, and then drive the screws into the outline on the corner of the box for the Skylight. This reduces the risk of any injuries that could have been caused due to the slippery slope of the roof as you have to spend less time on the exterior of the roof finding out the spot for cutting as well as makes the work easier.

6. Remove the shingles
Removing the shingles is also an essential task while installing a Skylight. For eliminating the shingles, we need to start from two rows above from the point where the marker is set for cutting the roof for the Skylight. We need to insert a pry bar under the shingles to break the seal and remove the shingles. The shingles need to be removed and not cut as it would destroy the look of the Skylight from outside when we re-attach the shingles to the sides of the Skylight. Do not remove the last row of shingles on the lower point of the Skylight as they will help in rainwater drainage.

7. Waterproof the flashing
This flashing attached to the skylight and comes with the kit. It helps in diverting the water or snow from the opening, and it does not allow any leakage of water. The waterproof flashings prevent the deterioration of the seals due to rain and ice accumulation.

8. Work patiently to add extra Drywall & Insulation
Adding insulation and drywall is very important as it will reduce the condensation on the roof as well as the light and the heat that enters in the room will be soothing and not harmful to the eyes. If there is less condensation, there will be fewer chances of a leak.

There are various health and psychological benefits of installing a skylight. It facilitates the entry of natural light in the room, and natural light improves the mood of the inmates, as well as they, help heat up the room and light it up. It saves a lot of cost in heating and lighting as well. Other advantages include an inlet of fresh air and better ventilation. Sometimes the rooms in the attic become stuffy as there are no possibilities of better windows. Though cozy the attic needs to be ventilated as well from time to time. The Skylights serve the very same purpose. They also provide a better view of nature which puts the mind at ease. Overall the Skylights have always been a very advantageous architectural improvement providing a better living condition.

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