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Everything you should know before getting skylight windows

Roof windows have been around even before people started experimenting with materials to fill window openings. In fact, they were the earliest type of windows used to admit light into domestic spaces. The unglazed predecessors of modern window solutions, the old skylight window prototypes date back centuries before the openings in the wall became common for letting light and air inside. Hundreds of years on, there’s still no better way to make your home greener than tapping into solar power to cut energy consumption. And there’s no better way of adding light to rooms where wall space is scarce than installing skylight windows above.

Everything you should know before getting skylight windows

What is a skylight window?

There’s more to “rooflight” or a “roof window” of today than channeling light into underutilized spaces to turn these into cozy bedrooms, guest rooms, or home offices. Skylights are not just an aesthetic feature that can be highly customized for unique fittings and benefits but a smart window structure that lets homeowners control its functionality.

While skylights of the past weren’t the best-performing solutions, controlling the amount of solar heat, light, and air allowed into your home is their main asset nowadays. The optimal skylight slope and light-filtering options help regulate solar heat gain while maximizing natural ventilation, and opening out-of-reach skylights can be automated. Better yet, a smart monitoring system for indoor air quality can be a part of your roof windows installation project. It opens or closes the skylights based on the smartphone app settings and can be controlled remotely.

The basic skylight window types

Professional skylight window installers or roof contractors can fit your home with a range of skylight types and features that help rely less on artificial light. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Fixed

Fixed skylights can be flat or slanted and are mounted in a frame that doesn't open. Curb-mount skylights have a frame supporting the glass above the roof.

  • Ventilated

To wick away moisture and promote air flow in areas that need it most, opt for vented skylights that can be manually operated with a cranking handle if they are within reach. To take your home airing to the next level, they can come with an electric or solar-powered remote control system and integrated rain sensors.

  • Sun tunnels

Tubular skylights feature tunnel systems stretching from the roof to the ceiling to be used in homes with attics, loft spaces, or other obstructions between the roof and the ceiling. They are fast and easy to install, with a rigid or flexible reflective tube, and have amazing transforming potential for brightening underlit spaces, even on overcast days. 

  • Dome

Dome-shaped skylights can be structured as smaller circular units or tandem units and continuous vaults for large enclosures and almost unlimited lengths. Great for creating visible or dramatic effects on both the outside and inside in commercial and residential spaces.

  • Structured and custom

To create architectural features, 3-D effects, or various configurations enhancing the aesthetics and design, modular, pyramid, and structural options are available. The higher cost to install a skylight window customized to your preferences and dimensions is justified by its unique benefits and visual appeal. The innovative custom unit skylights yield tons of personality, wow-factor, and of course, light. 

Types of roof skylight glass

The skylight window repair or replacement costs will largely depend on the size and type of a window as well as framing material, glass, and energy efficiency add-ons. Here are the popular glass options for roof skylights you should consider before making a purchase: 

  • Tempered glass

This type of glass is known as ‘safety glass’ due to its high strength and impact resistance. It offers unmatched security benefits and endures harsh weather conditions over long periods of time. 

  • Clear glass

Clear glass has high optical clarity and is the standard affordable option. It offers little in terms of light-filtering and protecting your interiors from fading or unwanted solar heat gain. But for a limited-budget project, clear glass can be a reasonable choice.

  • Tint glass

It’s a more aesthetically pleasing option with reduced glare, and the coating to filter out the UV rays will make your space more comfortable during all seasons.

  • Laminated glass

The laminated glass features two layers of tempered glass with EVA or PVB coating in between, making it the most durable and expensive option on the market.

  • Low-emissivity glass

This glass reflects heat and UV rays, offering ultimate energy efficiency and comfort. Low-E glass is ideal for skylights that protect your furniture, plants, and skin from sun damage.

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What to consider before skylight window installation

Skylight mounting can seem tricky for non-professionals. However, knowing every stage of the process will help you estimate your skills and prepare for the job. See below to learn what a skylight window installation process involves:

  • Skylights are specialty items with no strict standard dimensions. Their width can range from 14 - 72 inches and lengths from 16 to 96 inches. To figure out what fits your needs best or explore the customization possibilities, you may have to do more research and quote-comparing than you’d face with vertical windows. 
  • Fewer contractors and window brands specialize in this kind of window, making it more exclusive and expensive.
  • The skylight should not exceed 5 -15% of the floor area for spaces with windows.
  • Flashing may be required for some roof windows.
  • For rooms below an attic, only tubular skylights will work. They usually do not exceed 22 inches in diameter, but you can install more than one in a room.
  • Professional installation and waterproofing are essential. It certainly factors into the cost to replace skylights or install them, but tightly sealed joints reduce the risk of leakage and condensation buildup.
  • Automated and app-controlled venting skylights are the perfect solution for hard-to-reach places and are a delight to operate with just a button or a screen tap.
  • Vented skylights with rain sensors close automatically, so you don’t have to worry about rain when away from home.
  • You may need hurricane-resistant skylights. If you get heavy snowfall in winter, discuss stronger glass options with the window expert.

How much does it cost to replace a skylight window?

Skylights add value and beauty to any home, but they are higher-priced windows. The average skylight replacement cost is $900 - $2.500 per window with installation. Sizing and configurations, the number of panes, and the glazing options will affect the price, and it is essential to discuss the climatic conditions with a local professional contractor to get an estimate for your replacement project.

What are the benefits of skylight windows replacement?

Roof lights make your home a brighter and more welcoming place. If you are looking for a single transformative element that works like a charm where nothing else seems to work, just by adding some skylight windows, you can bring the unsightly, dim, and underperforming spaces into the spotlight. 

A stylish upgrade may be as easy as inviting abundant and inspiring light to the areas where conventional windows perform poorly. It may be an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to a complete room overhaul, or home remodels with a heftier price tag. On top of that, generous doses of natural light and fresh air often turn out to be the ultimate daily mood boost you and your home need to live happily ever after. 

If you seek to compare up-to-date skylight replacement costs in your area, give our contractor-matching platform a try. We pride ourselves on cooperating with hundreds of proven window professionals all over the country. With us, they are a few clicks away from you. Everything it takes to book one of them for your project is to leave us your request.

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