Skylight Buying Guide
Skylights are a great way to let the natural light into your home. From solar tubes to skylight blinds, learn everything you need to know before, during, and after your skylight purchase.
Let the Sunlight In
Before You Buy
The first step in buying a skylight is figuring out its placement in your home. Skylights only work in rooms that are directly below the roof or below an unfinished attic space. If you want to install your skylight in a room below an attic, there must be a light shaft that goes through the attic in place.
Roof: The roof thickness determines the type of installation required. Make sure you know if you have a truss or rafter roof support system.
- Truss: Lumber beams make a “W” shaped support system in your roof. They are placed in triangular sections to reinforce the structure of your roof.
- Rafter: A series of sloped lumber beams that make a “V” shape from the peak of your roof down to the perimeter.
Note: Never cut rafters or trusses without first consulting an engineer or structural expert.
Ceiling: The type of ceiling you have dictates whether or not you need a shaft to direct light into the room.
- Cathedral Ceilings: Require one hole because skylights can mount right into the roof.
- Regular Ceilings: Need either a straight or flared shaft.
Shaft: The shape of the shaft dictates the flow of the natural light in a room. When using a shaft you’ll have to cut and frame two holes — one in the ceiling and in the roof.
- Flared Shaft: Angled on all four sides, it directs the most light into a room.
- Straight Shaft: It directs the light straight down, resulting in a focused beam straight below the window.
DIY Installation Types
The most common skylight installation type, curb-mounted skylights need to be installed on a box structure. This skylight is designed to sit over the curb of the box.
Deck mounted skylights come with a built-in curb that you will need to seal with underlayment or other waterproof materials.
Self-flashing skylights can be installed directly into the roof opening. They require less labour and materials for installation, but usually require help from trained professionals.
SHOP ALL SELF-FLASHING SKYLIGHTS
Additional Skylight Features To Consider
Here are some extras you might want to look for when selecting a skylight:
- Insulated thermal glass prevents loss of heat in winter and assists with cooling in summer.
- Tinting filters UV rays and additional heat.
- Shades or blinds screen full sun — a good idea as the sun tracks through the room during the day.
- Remotes for blinds allow you to control whether they’re up or down.
- Insect screens on ventilating skylights keep pests outdoors where they belong.
- Solar-equipped windows allow you to forego any wiring for your remote.
- Weather sensors close the skylight automatically at the first drop of rain.
- Two-pane energy-efficient glass offers insulation to keep the warm or cold air out.
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