What are Skylights?

What are Skylights?

The natural light offered by a skylight is simply unbeatable. It's a feature that can really transform your home, or at the very least offer a significant upgrade to a dim room. 

Skylights, also known as roof-lights, aren't as common in American homes as they are in European homes but we do receive inquiries for them every once in a while. In this post, we'll provide a little more information on skylights including some problems homeowners sometimes run into with this type of window. 

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What are Skylights?

While windows transmit light into your home from the sides, a skylight does so from above. In the simplest possible terms, a skylight is a window on your roof. That being said, installing one is a bit more complicated than installing a window on a vertical wall. 

Skylights have been around for centuries, and there are records of their use dating as far back as Ancient Rome. Advancements in glass manufacturing made them more widely available during the 19th century Industrial Revolution.

Pros and Cons of Skylights

A skylight might sound like a great option, and in many homes, it is. But there are both pros and cons to a roof light, and it's important to weigh them all carefully. 

Pro: Aesthetically Pleasing

Many homeowners consider a skylight for their home because they simply like the look. In addition to improving the lighting, skylights can add a luxurious ambiance to a room. They can make some rooms feel more open and spacious. 

Pro: Light in Difficult Spaces

If a part of your home has a lot of open ceiling, but limited wall space for windows, skylights offer an opportunity to let in some light. If you have a finished attic with few windows, skylights are definitely worth considering. 

Con: Installation is Difficult

While most windows are relatively straightforward to install, skylights are not. Skylights are prone to leaks if they are not professionally installed, and there are also structural factors to consider. They're definitely not a good DIY project. 

Con: The Greenhouse Effect

Skylights don't just let in light, they let in heat. If you live in a northern climate, that might be a positive thing, especially in winter. But in southern locations skylights can make some rooms intolerably hot, and drive air conditioning expenses through the roof. 

Con: High Maintenance

There are inherent challenges with having what is essentially an upward-facing window. They take more punishment from the elements than normal windows, and are more prone to leaks and ongoing wear and tear. 

Who Sells Skylights?

While some window manufacturers also offer skylights, most do not. Skylights are typically a specialty item, and are built by companies that specialize in their design and construction. Top skylight brands include: 

  • American Skylights
  • Sunoptics
  • VELUX Skylights
  • Bristolite
  • Wasco Skylights
  • Sun-Tek

If you're searching for windows that will allow more light into your home you should also consider replacing the windows in your home. Many homeowners today are opting for windows without grids and casement windows option to maximize the continuous glass surface. More glass means more light, plus, the glass used in modern windows means you won't have to sacrifice on energy efficiency. 


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