Hi my name is Hailey! I’ve been working at Vantage Point Roofing for six years now (I love it!)(edit: now seven!!), and recently my parents asked me for some advice on getting one of the most common metal roof accessories - a skylight - installed in my old family home. The kitchen was dark and, to combat that, they always had to have the lights on, which irked them somewhat as they live in an otherwise reasonably energy efficient home. One of their main concerns however, was the potential increase in temperature once the reflective barrier of their metal roof had been broken and permitted solar light and heat directly into the space.
Deciding on what's best for you
With this in mind, they’d had someone suggest installing some low wattage LCD lights disguised to look similar to a real skylight that would run on the energy produced by a small solar panel on the roof. They’d also had someone suggest that a solar tube would be effective, and another that said an operable window is the best bet. Needless to say, they were confused. Knowing them as well as I do, (all my life I suppose!) I felt I had a pretty good idea which option would suit them best, but personal choices aside there are some unavoidable facts that need to be considered when it comes to making choices that effect the functionality and livability of your home!
Having worked at a metal roofing company for so long, I have a pretty good understanding of the pros and cons of installing skylights and there’s approximately 100+ years of roofing experience across the team at VPR. However, it’s always best to do a bit of research to make sure you’re getting the whole picture. Here is a round up of a few articles I found and passed on to Mum & Dad: (click the green titles to follow the links)
This article provides a quick run down of the basic pros and cons listed below:
- They increase natural light
- Feeling of extended space
- Solar heating & ventilation
- Emotional benefits
- Energy leaks
- Sun glare & fading
- Moisture leaks
Produced as part of an initiative by the Australian government, this article covers all you need to know about passively designed skylights. From basic design principles and the different types available, to dealing with solar gain and maintenance.
Side note: The entire ‘Your Home’ guide is a great investment for anyone building or renovating that wants to ensure their home is great to live in, affordable to build and efficient to run!
Although it presents a bit of a one sided argument (none of the disadvantages are directly addressed), this article provides a comprehensive list of the reasons why a skylight is a great investment for your home, including:
- Versatility of design
- Mood improvement
- Illusion of space
- Increase property value
- Quick makeover solution
- Reduce heating and lighting costs
This buying guide discusses types of skylights, planning a skylight’s location, glazing options, energy efficiency, and more.
The Bottom Line
Deciding whether a skylight is right for you, which type, whether it should be fixed or vented etc. all really comes down to a matter of preference. Many of the disadvantages of skylights can be reduced through careful design and placement, and certain types of glazing can minimize the effects of solar heat gain and glare.
In the end, my parents decided that if they were going to get a skylight, they wanted to see actual sky and chose to install a typical ‘roof window’ style skylight in the kitchen. It’s drastically increased the light, and the mood of the space has been lifted too. Their concerns about it becoming too hot in the kitchen in the middle of the day were resolved with the inclusion of a motorized hinge, which means hot air can escape as if through a vent. It’s something that they had thought about doing for a long time, and now that they have they wonder why they didn’t do it sooner!
Make sure you weigh up your options and discuss the best solution for your needs, your space and your general location – everyone is different and this option was great for my parents, but there might be a better solution for you!
We hope you found this blog about the advantages and disadvantage of installing a skylight useful. Please don't hesitate to give us a call and have a chat with one of our friendly roofing experts if you have any further questions!
1800 476 634
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Updated 10th Jan 2020 to provide most current information