Sky lights are not a recent architectural feature; those who have visited Rome’s Pantheon and seen the mesmerising oculus (or open sky light) will appreciate just how ancient a concept this is.
But moving to more modern-day times, there is much a sky light can achieve for your home build or reno.
What are sky lights?
Sky lights are normally located in the ceiling/roof of a home.
They are in affect ceiling windows that allow natural light to enter and illuminate a space below.
Five great reasons why sky lights could work for your home (and you)
Energy savings – you’re relying on natural versus artificial light to illuminate a room or area, thus saving on utility bills. A sky light could also help reduce further ongoing costs by contributing to natural ventilation (open the sky light before turning on the air conditioner or ceiling fan)
Sky lights add value to your home – natural lighting is generally considered a ‘plus’ when it comes to property on the market. The more abundant, the more excited the real estate agent
Natural light is considered beneficial to our wellbeing, and can have a very positive effect on our mood (as well as the real estate agent’s!)
Sky lights are a clever lighting solution for spaces that are not conducive to traditional wall windows
Sky lights can provide a wonderful design element to your home by not only enhancing natural light, but enhancing the view (for example, your sky light may look up to a canopy of tree leaves, or capture a slice of sunrise or sunset to be enjoyed)
A perfect exampe of the use of a fixed skylight in an attic bathroom renovation
What should you know before installing a sky light?
You need to be aware of your home’s structural integrity – installing a sky light at a random point in your roof could compromise this integrity
Before you commence work on your sky light, ensure the proposed roof cutting is not going to slice into electrical wiring, etc
Ensure the proposed sky light and installation will deliver a waterproof product
What are the types of sky lights available?
There are basically four types of sky lights available for homes – fixed, manually vented, electrically vented and tube:
A fixed sky light. This is a sky light that will never open, so it is basically just a source of natural light for your home, versus a window that will help ventilate a space
A vented sky light. This is a sky light that can open.
Although this option means you need to be extra vigilant in minimising possible leaks, it does have advantages, such as its ability to help remove excess moisture in a room (for example – a bathroom sky light can be opened during shower time.
Minimising the build-up of moisture in turn minimises the build-up of bacteria).
A vented sky light is usually opened either manually, or electrically.
- A tube sky light. This is a flexible tube that runs between the ceiling and the roof, allowing light to travel down. It does not raise/lower.
A manually operated skylight
How do you install a sky light?
You basically have three options:
A window contractor
DIY. Unless you have the necessary skills, it is assumed that only fixed and manually vented sky lights would be DIY projects.
If you’re using a contractor, it is unlikely that you have to install a sky light during fair weather only.
Can you install a sky light after your home is built?
Yes – absolutely (although refer earlier to points you should consider before installing a sky light).
Sky lights can retro fit to various sizes and options are available for regular sized rafters.
Talk to your retailer for the best advice and options available.
As winter descends and our days get darker for longer, the idea of a sky light becomes increasingly attractive.
Should you be planning a sky light in your home, we are sure it will become a much-loved feature.