We hear a lot about skylights, especially in terms of loft conversions and home extensions, but what exactly are they and what can they bring to a house?
Skylights are windows set into a roof with the intention of flooding the space underneath with natural sunlight. With the right styles of window fitted, they can also be opened up, to increase ventilation. Velux windows are the most well known version of hinged panes that can be easily opened and closed.
Due to being able to filter sunlight during every hour of daylight, skylight roof windows can help to increase the ambient temperature of any room that they are installed in, as well as the illumination. This makes them exceptionally popular for both bedrooms and kitchens.
As with any new home installation that will have a significant impact on the structural integrity of a space, you need to be sure that you have the right basis to work with. To be sure that skylights can be installed in your home, you’ll need to:
Ask a professional builder or even an architect to visit your home and assess your proposed location for suitability. You might need to clear the space first, especially if you are hoping to add a skylight to an attic.
Adding a skylight will mean that a hole needs to be cut into your roof, so try to get a handle on the climate in your area, so you have a good shot at a dry installation. You’ll need to be sure that your rafters are in good condition, before you start, as well. The last thing you want is to need a brand new roof, just to install a window!
A surprising number of people actually fit their own skylights, as a DIY project, but in general, it is advisable to hire a professional for the task, as you need to be 100% confident that you have a weatherproof seal in place. Important factors to take into account are:
Choosing a high-quality and proven skylight installation kit. Do your research and find out which kits come the most highly recommended. You can ask a professional for advice about this.
As your new skylight will act as an extra source of illumination in a room, you need to make sure that the rest of your lighting choices will work well with it, to create a cohesive and beautiful ambiance. This is why skylights are also referred to as roof lights.
There are a host of practical extra touches to take into account, depending on which room you are adding a skylight to. For bathrooms, as a prime example, you will want to think about adding extra ventilation vents, to prevent condensation build up.
Don’t forget to decide if you want to add technology to your skylights. If you will need electronic operating systems, this is something to think about right at the start of the design process.
Proper maintenance of new skylights is essential, as they can be an expensive addition to a home and should be looked after to extend their lifespan. Before you definitely decide to invest in roof windows, consider the fact that you will need to commit to the following:
Regular cleaning. You don’t want streaky roof windows, so always avoid cleaning your glass at the hottest time of the day, as your water will dry before you can squeegee it.
Looking for leaks. When you experience heavy rainfall or even snow, it will be in your best interest to go and inspect your skylights, to make sure they aren’t leaking at all.
Check the glazing. If you notice any chips, cracks or even misting (condensation) between your glass panels, you will need to replace the unit as soon as possible. You will be letting a lot of heat escape, if not, and could be at risk of the glass shattering completely at some point.
Mechanism checks. Whether you have electronically controlled of manual skylights, regularly look at the opening mechanisms of your skylights, to make sure they are working smoothly and the way they should.
Whether you have chosen wooden windows or uPVC ones, you will need to clean and maintain your frames. Wood can be prone to rotting, if it comes into contact with moisture, but uPVC can turn mouldy, so everything needs looking after.
Think of a skylight as any other style of window, which need an element of dressing to really finish it off properly. Naturally, curtains won’t work, as they would drape from the ceiling, but blinds and shutters are fantastic options.
Shutters give you not only a beautiful aesthetic, they help you control the amount of light that pours into a space as well.
Shutters are most commonly made from wood, but uPVC styles are available as well and you can customise the colour.
As well as being readily available in standard sizes, for uniform skylights, you can opt for custom shutters to perfectly adapt to bespoke roof windows.
Blinds offer a myriad of different finishes, style and aesthetics.
They can be manually or electrically operated, allowing for very easy and smooth operation.
You can choose, essentially, any colour or pattern. You can also opt for blackout blinds, which have an opaque backing in order to shut out all daylight, when you want to.
Roller, Venetian and roman styles will all work perfectly with skylights.
High quality blinds will not need to be replaced too regularly, as manufacturers treat the fabrics to prevent sun bleaching.