The more we learn about the importance of natural light for humans, our pets and our plants, the more important we now know it is to have natural sources of that light in our homes. Ancient Romans were already in the know about all of this. With new technologies making skylights even more effective for ventilation and energy savings not to mention adding to the beauty of your sunroom, maybe it’s time to pop open your sunroom roof and let the sun shine through.
What is a Skylight?
A simple definition of a skylight is that it is an opening in the ceiling or roof usually made of glass, either translucent or transparent, to allow sunlight into a room.
Origin of Skylights
Skylights in one form or another have been with us since Ancient Rome.
A cylindrical temple called The Pantheon was the first structure to ever use skylights. In industrial times skylights became quite practical as the ability to produce large glass panes became possible, and polishing them made them more transparent than previously. Sealing improved with the advent of sheet metal. With only kerosene lamps to light a residence, it would have been advantageous to have a daylight source of sunshine to light the home.
Now, in modern times, with the advent of heat absorbing tinted glass, UV protection and low-emissivity coatings, skylights can be a great fit for a sunroom, allowing more sunlight and extra ventilation, stargazing at night, and adding elegance to your sunroom design. All this can add more enjoyment to your sunroom experience.
What Are the Three Main Types of Skylights?
- Ventilating: Vented skylights enhance airflow. Remember, heat rises and a vented skylight can disperse that heat at the ceiling in the summer months. This type of skylight is ideal for most rooms and perfect for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms due to their excess moisture. Since ventilation in sunrooms is so important, it’s likely this type of skylight would be your best bet. They work best with higher pitched roofs or cathedral ceilings. Available with manual or electric operation. Manual operation is done with a pole, crank or chain.
- Fixed: This type is just as it sounds. They stay stationary because they do not open and therefore provide no ventilation. Ideal for any room needing more light. They are the least expensive and often the most waterproof. They are often domed so that rain and snow will slide off them.
- Tubular: This type is best for smaller spaces like closets, foyers, and hallways. They tend to be easy to install. It has a reflective tube which is adjustable.
- Skylights come in different shapes and sizes. Shapes include flat, arched, domed and pyramid.
Why Are Skylights Popular in Home Renovations?
- Ventilating skylights offer more control in keeping your sunroom comfortable
- Adding a skylight adds a modern touch and improves the overall look and feel of a sunroom
- If you prefer a sunroom with less windows due to privacy concerns, adding a skylight will provide extra ventilation and light
- Your home could increase in value
- A skylight can make the room look larger
- A perfect way to lie back and look at the night sky
- Properly placed and installed skylights may help save on energy costs
How to Get the Most Out of Your Skylight
To heighten the greatest light and energy efficiency, make sure to match the size of your skylight to the room size.
To reduce condensation, add ceiling or exhaust fans built into the walls.
If budget allows, purchasing motorized venting skylights will eliminate the need to manually crank open hard-to-reach skylights. Some skylights allow you to use your smartphone to operate all your skylight operations.
What Should You Look For When Adding a Skylight to Your Sunroom?
While making the decision to add skylights to your sunroom, call Sunshine Sunrooms or your local sunroom experts. The plethora of new technologies can seem a bit complex but a little research can make your decision a lot easier. Installing a skylight is never a DIY project – the professionals help reduce the costs and help you install the perfect addition to your sunroom.
Look for Energy Star and NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) rated skylights. The Energy Star ratings will be rated based on climate. They also help to lower energy costs because they maximize energy efficiency. NFRC ratings further break down energy performance ratings in multiple categories.
- Skylights with double or triple glazed glass tend to be the most energy efficient.
- Adding motorized blinds to your skylight will help keep heat out in the summer months as well as keep warmth inside in the winter.
- If budget allows, having automated units with moisture sensors will automatically close the skylight when it rains or snows.
- Consider the framing of your skylight. Proper installation and the proper type of frame itself will ensure your skylight will be waterproof and draft proof. Some types of framing need more maintenance than others. Consult with an expert for the pros and cons of the different framing materials. Framing materials include wood, metal, vinyl and polyurethane.
Consider Which Direction Your Sunroom Faces
Note the direction of your sunroom. This could impact when and how you operate your skylight and how they impact the amount of light and heat you will enjoy.
- Sunrooms facing north will have skylights that don’t absorb or release a lot of heat. They provide a steady amount of illumination.
- South facing skylights may retain a lot of heat in the summer, and will give the sunroom extra heat in the winter.
- East facing skylights will provide the most generous amounts of heat and light in the mornings
- Skylights facing west will provide the most light and heat in the afternoons.
Adding a cover to the outside of your skylight is a very effective heat reducing measure. Inside blinds are a less expensive option. In the winter months, they can also help keep the heat from escaping.
If you decide to add a skylight to an existing sunroom, or include it in your plans for a new sunroom, you can be sure it will add beauty, energy savings and enjoyment for years to come.
Sunshine Sunrooms are experts with sunroom, pergola, patio covers, screen rooms, and more! Give our team a call for unbeatable service, pricing and quality, 972-243-5390 or contact us online.