4 Things to Consider When Buying Skylights


Skylights can be a wonderfully stylish addition to any home. Not only do they add a touch of sophistication to any interior, but they’re also a great way to open a room and brighten up small, dark spaces with natural sunlight. There are many different styles to choose from and wading through the options can be overwhelming if you’re not quite sure about what to look for. So we’ve collected a quick shopping guide from This Old House to help you out.

  1. Stay away from inexpensive units with plastic glazing. Although they are cheaper initially, the bottom line is they don’t last and many of them leak. The better choice is a high-quality curbed skylight with energy-efficient glazing—and the factory flashing kit made for it
  2. Skylights come as venting units, which open, or as fixed units, which don’t. Stick to the fixed units as the venting ones are rarely ever used and are usually inconvenient to access.
  3. It’s essential to make sure the room has adequate ventilation so condensation doesn’t become a problem. A vent fan for a small bathroom should provide 1 cubic foot per minute of air circulation per square foot of floor area, or about eight air changes per hour.
  4. Stick with clear glass instead of tinted because it lets in more light. If intense sunlight does cause too much heat buildup or begins to fade carpeting and furniture inside, add a shade or screen.
  5. If your home has trusses, make sure the installer sticks with units made to fit between roof members, or gangs several smaller skylights together to create a larger window.

For more skylight tips or installation info, visit This Old House.

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