Considerations When Fitting a Skylight in Your Home

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A skylight brings natural light into a home, but its specific effect will depend on the various decisions you make regarding the installation. Several relevant factors are explained below.

The Skylight Orientation

A skylight captures different amounts of light depending on its orientation. An opening that faces eastward catches the morning sun, whereas a westward-facing skylight takes in the afternoon sun. A skylight on the section of the roof angled towards the north will capture more light than a skylight on a southern-angled roof.

If you want a skylight in a particular room, you won't have much say in its orientation, as this depends on the house's floor plan and the pitch of the roof above. But you should think about the orientation when planning the skylight. If the roof opening faces west and you live in a hot climate, you might want a blind or use double glazing to block heat transfer.

The Skylight Placement

Something you can control, however, is the placement of the skylight within a room. If you position it near the centre, the illumination will disperse more evenly around the space. The farther away from the light source an area is, the less light it will receive. Though a ceiling diffuser can work to scatter the light further in the room.

In terms of the evenness of light distribution, a skylight has an advantage over vertical windows, which are inevitably positioned at the side of a room rather than the centre. Facing upwards, a skylight typically brings in more light than a vertical window that doesn't look towards the sky.

Sometimes a house's structure can limit the placement of a skylight. For instance, you might have a ducted air conditioner in the ceiling crawl space where you want to place the skylight. You can choose to shift the skylight to one side in that case. If the impediment is not major—electrical wiring, for instance—you may choose to move that instead to make way for the skylight.

The Skylight Size

You also need to consider the size of the skylight. Different factors will play a part in guiding your choices, one of which is the room size. If the skylight is destined for a small powder room, you may not want an overly large skylight, which could emit a glare. In a generously sized room, however, you might opt for a larger skylight or install several across the ceiling.

The optimum size of skylights can be calculated in terms of a percentage of the floor area of the room below. Ask your installer for the most appropriately sized product, taking your room's proportions into account.

The roof structure is relevant as well. Roof cladding is supported by trusses or beams at regular intervals, and the skylight will need to fit within a gap. Alternatively, you might consider hiring a roofer to move the trusses.

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Ralph's Roofing Blog Hello! My name is Ralph and this is my roofing blog. I first became fascinated with roofing when I was a boy. When my dad was angry at me. I would climb up onto the roof of our house and hide. One afternoon, when I was hiding on the roof, I found myself looking at the tiles and wondering how they fitted together and stayed in place. I decided to spend a couple of months hanging around the local roofing contractors office so I could learn a thing or two. And I did. Although I never became a professional roofer myself, I still remember all of the tips and advice.