Skylights from Atlanta to Jasper
Skylights are one of my favorite parts of any roof system. Natural light can add warmth to any room and cut costly utility bills. In the past, skylights were prone to leaks, and we often tried to discourage customers from adding them to their home. Recently, companies such as Velux and Wasco have introduced great products that are well-engineered and stand up to the elements much better than past products. This article covers the different types of skylights offered on the market today from solar powered fresh air skylights to solar tubes.
Before we get started, we should go over a few roofing terms that apply to skylights. Most common skylights can be installed in one of two ways, either curb mounted or deck mounted.
- Curb Mounted: Curb mounted skylights are installed on a built up structure, usually created using 2×4 lumber, in order to lift the skylight off of the roof.
- Deck Mounted: In this application ,the skylight is installed directly to the roof decking, and a flashing kit is used to seal the skylight against leaks.
Roofers might decide to use either one of these methods depending on the specific job and what they are most comfortable with. In low slope or flat roof projects, such as those usually found over sunrooms, you must use a curb mounted skylight to ensure that the skylight is properly protected from water that might not exit the roof as quickly as it does on sloped roofing structures. Neither one of these methods of installation are inherently superior to the other, and both are approved by manufacturers depending on the product that is being installed.
Types Of Skylights
There are undoubtedly many types of skylights in the roofing industry, but this article will discuss three specific types of skylights used in residential roofing.
- Solar Tube
- Roof Window
Though we commonly refer to each product above as a skylight, they are technically three very different products with their own unique uses and applications.
Skylights are installed overhead and out of reach. The best use of skylights is to effectively bring light into dark living areas and provide views of the sky for dynamic designs. Though some skylights do open, they are not designed as egress windows. Skylights come in two different forms.
- Fresh Air
Fresh Air Skylights
Fresh air skylights are capable of opening to allow for ventilation. Newer fresh air products are solar powered and remotely operated for ease of use. More economical choices such as manually operated skylights are available, but they can be tedious to use and hard to access depending on the height of your ceiling. These skylights are especially useful in areas such as bathrooms and kitchens where ventilation is important.
Cost of Fresh Air Skylights
Fresh air skylights can range in price from $600.00 – $1400.00 depending on a variety of different factors. Obviously, manual skylights are much cheaper than remote electric-powered skylights, but federal tax credits of 30% on installation and material can make options such as solar-powered skylights cheaper than ever before.
Fixed skylights are a much more economical option and as such the most popular choice of the two options when homeowners want to add some natural light to a room. These skylights are fixed as their name implies and cannot be opened in any way. If you have a dark room such as a hallway or bedroom with little natural sunlight, you can do a lot to brighten everything up with these low cost products.
Cost of Fixed Skylights
Fixed Skylights are likely what you are most familiar with, largely because of their price. You can buy one of these skylights for as little as $300.00 for the light and flashing kit and up to $500.00. Plan on spending between $700.00-$1000.00 per skylight to install on the roof and another $500.00-$1500.00 to frame out the interior and finish with drywall, trim and paint.
Roof windows are often confused by homeowners as skylights, but they are different in some very important ways. Roof windows are installed within reach and allow for emergency egress. The best way to think about roof windows is to imagine a normal window that is installed on your roof. The most common use of roof windows is in homes that have finished rooms in the attic or bonus rooms above the garage. The windows are hinged on the top edge and are manually operated like other windows in your house.
Though it is a bit uncommon, my favorite roof window product is the Cabrio balcony roof window by Velux. This product is designed as an alternative to building a dormer in your roof.
Cost of Roof Window
As with fresh air skylights, roof windows can greatly vary in price depending on the style of window you go with. The Cabrio balcony can cost up to $3800.00 for the window and flashing kit and $3000.00 for installation, while a simple roof window can cost anywhere between $1000.00-$1300 for the window and flashing kit and $800.00- $1500.00 for installation.
A growing trend in roofing is the use of solar tubes to bring natural light into the home. Solar tubes solve one of the main problems that homeowners face when they think about adding a skylight to their home. Traditional skylights neede to be framed in from the ceiling to the roof, through the attic space, adding to the cost of installation. Solar tubes solve this problem by providing a prefabricated tube that installs from the roof to your ceiling where it ties into a diffuser. This affordable solution allows for a great dispersion of light. One of the main drawbacks of solar tubes is the lack of a sky view that comes with skylights and roof windows.
Cost Of Solar Tubes
Unlike skylights and roof windows, solar tubes are made by a wide variety of manufacturers right here in the US (we still prefer Velux Solar Tunnel) and cost is competitive. Expect to pay between $250.00 – $350.00 for the solar tube kit and $500.00 – $800.00 for pro installation.
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