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A Brief Guide to Skylights

Skylights may seem like an unnecessary luxury to most people, but they are a necessity for most of the homeowners in cold northern areas that do not get enough sunlight during the day. 

Skylights do not only let extra natural light into a room, they can also significantly improve energy-efficiency and consumption, brighten up dimly lit areas, and provide necessary dimension to some rooms. The main two differences that distinguish skylights from windows (other than their placement), is that skylights are usually more tinted, as they are exposed to more sunlight, and more impact-resistant.

There are three basic types of skylights:

  • Fixed skylights
  • Ventilated skylights
  • Tubular skylights


Fixed Skylights

Empty new room with fixed skylights against blue cloudy skies

Fixed skylights, as we can obviously guess from their name, are fixed in place, cannot be opened, and do not provide any kind of ventilation, they do however provide great views.

This kind of skylights is designed for out-of-reach areas and rooms that need extra natural light, such as stairwells and attics.

Fixed skylights are always sealed. They should not leak, if they do, that means that they were not properly installed.




Ventilated Skylights

Empty new room with ventilated skylights against blue cloudy skies

A ventilated skylight offers the same amount of sunlight a fixed skylight does, in addition to ventilation, which makes it more suitable for areas with excess moisture and/ or rooms that tend to heat up like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, as it allows said moisture to escape. Upon installation, homeowners should make sure that their ventilated skylights are leak-proof. 

There are two types of ventilated skylights:

  • Manual Venting Skylights

The glass of a manual venting skylight can be raised and lowered by simply pushing it upward, or by a crank.

  • Automatic Venting Skylights

The glass of an automatic venting skylights can be raised and lowered using an electric motor. It can also be operated via remote control. Automatic skylights should close on their own in the event of rain.


Tubular Skylights

Flat Roof With Gravel and Tubular Skylights

Also known as Tube Skylights, this type of skylights goes best with areas that could use the extra amount of natural light, but are low on roof space, such as hallways, pantries, foyers, and closets.

Tubular skylights are known for their ability to illuminate spaces evenly and without any losses of light. One great advantage tubular skylights have over other types of skylights is that fact that tube used in it can be bent, making it easier to curve and angle around obstructions usually found in attics.

Moreover, tubular skylights are far more adjustable than other types of skylights; they can integrate fans (for bathrooms), lights (to use at night), dimmers (for when the sunlight is too strong), in addition to being leak-proof.

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