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Who does not love skylights? They allow abundant natural light into your home and can convert any dark, drab space into a bright, illuminated room. It’s, in fact, magical to count the stars during cloudless nights or observe the snowfall on wintry days. These are the reasons why homeowners install these roof windows although they are expensive. However, they do have some downsides. For example, they can lead to high electricity bills and can end up being costly when you have to undergo repairs due to moisture problems and damages. Therefore, today, we bring you this comprehensive guide that highlights the major pros and cons of skylights. Go through them and decide whether this is the right investment option for you. But before that, let’s understand the definition of skylights.
What are skylights?
Skylights are light-transmitting structures that are usually installed on your roof. They come in different styles — traditional skylights, which are fixed on pitched roofs and bespoke glazed units, that can be fitted on flat roofs as well as terraces. Their main purpose is to maximize the amount of natural light entering your home and to promote cross ventilation.
Extra daylight and solar heating
Of course, the primary reason to install a skylight is to bathe your interiors in plenty of daylight. This is especially beneficial during the winter months when the days are much shorter. When we spend the entire day cooped up inside a dark, dim, and artificially lit room, our body does not get the required amount of natural light and fresh air. This is when a few well-placed skylights make all the difference.
Next, skylights lend solar heating. When you purchase a high-quality set with a good solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), you can be confident of allowing the required amount of heat within your house. Not only this, skylight windows help in cross ventilation, thereby, letting in the fresh air and cooling the interiors, without the need of an air conditioner.
Enhanced aesthetics and an illusion of extra space
Cramped rooms automatically seem bigger when illuminated with natural daylight. You can enhance this illusion further by installing properly placed mirrors. Mirrors play with reflections and add to the perception of larger areas.
Additionally, adding skylights is also counted as a cosmetic change. This not only makes your interiors aesthetically pleasing and attractive but also increases the equity value of your property.
As we already mentioned, skylights heat up your home and also cool it via cross ventilation. Therefore, you do not need to turn on your heater during summer or air conditioner in winter. This can result in significantly reducing your energy bills.
Nourishing environment for indoor plants
If you are a fan of indoor herbs and plants, then you will be pleased to know that skylights offer a healthy environment for any types of greens to grow and thrive. When you have abundant natural lighting, you can place them anywhere in your home, rather than cramming them on a window sill. Moreover, you can also have a vast variety of plants.
Energy and moisture leakage
If you don’t have good quality or properly installed skylights, they can cause heat loss and energy leaks. Due to increased energy loss via cracks and improper lamination, you can end up paying high electricity bills. In order to combat this, consult with a professional installer and check the additions in energy costs. Moreover, think of energy-efficient solutions, such as the right type of windows.
Apart from losing heat, skylights are prone to potential moisture leaks. For example, during heavy rains, water might creep in through these openings, causing immense damage to your interiors. Preventive measures include frequent maintenance and good ventilation practices. Also, when you install skylights, ensure that they are air-permeable.
High installation costs
Skylights do come with high installation costs. Even their maintenance can be costly. A single skylight costs a minimum of $200 (approximately) or more. Adding up labor charges, which depend on your location, the total price can range between $400 to $1300 per window. These numbers are dependant on your type of skylight (manual, electric, or covered) and also the brand you choose.
Too much glare and overheating
Sometimes, especially on bright, sunny days, skylights can allow too much sunlight. This can result in eroding the color of your indoor carpets, furniture, as well as furnishings. You can, however, prevent overheating by installing filtered window panes. Also, be careful while deciding which part of your house can benefit the most from an extra ceiling window.
Skylights definitely act as a boon by cheering up your home via natural light, primarily during winter. However, they can lead to overheating, increased bills, and water damage if you don’t install them properly. Hence, if you reside in a region that does not face many hot summers, skylights are a good option. But, it would be better still if you follow the below recommendations:
Talk to a professional and install them, preferably, on the north-facing roof. Check for locations where there are proper shading and get skylights with the best specifications. Go for double or triple pane windows and recommended solar heat gain coefficients. Remove skylight shafts or properly air-seal and insulate them. Use the best water-proof materials to prevent moisture seepage and related damage. If you adhere to the above tips, we don’t see any reason why adding skylights should not be a good idea.