Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
EXTERIORS of buildings
ADHESIVES, EXTERIOR CONSTRUCTION
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
ALGAE, FUNGUS, LICHENS, MOSS
ANIMAL ENTRY POINTS in buildings
ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING COMPONENT ID
BASEMENT WALKOUTS & COVERS
BRICK VENEER WALL Loose, Bulged
BRICK WALL DRAINAGE WEEP HOLES
BOOKSTORE - EXTERIORS
CAULKS & SEALANTS, EXTERIOR
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
DECK & PORCH CONSTRUCTION
DECK FINISHES COATINGS PRESERVATIVES
DRYWELLS, FRENCH DRAINS for FLAT SITES
EIFS & STUCCO EXTERIORS
EXTERIOR WALL SIDING TRIM & FINISHES
EXTRACTIVE BLEEDING STAINS
FLASHING ROOF-WALL SNAFU
GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION
GLUES ADHESIVES, EXTERIOR CONSTRUCTION
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
HOUSE PARTS, DEFINITIONS
HOUSEWRAP / SHEATHING WRAP
ROOF ICE DAM LEAKS
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
LEAD POISONING HAZARDS GUIDE
LOG HOME GUIDE
PAINT & STAIN GUIDE, EXTERIOR
PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION
PORCHES & Sunrooms
PORCH CONSTRUCTION & SCREENING
RAILINGS, DECK & PORCH
RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
ROOF CLEANING RECOMMENDATIONS
ROT RESISTANT LUMBER
SHEATHING, GYPSUM BOARD
FIBERBOARD SHEATHING, Celotex Homasote & Other
SHEATHING, FOIL FACED - VENTS
SIDING TYPES, INSTALLATION, DEFECTS
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
STONE CLEANING METHODS
STONE VENEER WALLS
STUCCO WALL METHODS & INSTALLATION
SURFACE GRADING, SITE DRAINAGE
Thermal Expansion Cracking of Brick
TREES & SHRUBS, TRIM OFF BUILDING
TRIM, EXTERIOR CHOICES, INSTALLATION
VINYL SIDING or WINDOW PLASTIC ODORS
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WATER ENTRY in buildings
WINDOWS & DOORS
Skylight installation & repair guide: this article series discusses the selection and installation of skylights, including choosing a skylight, how to install the skylight, constructing the skylight well or chute, skylight controls, and skylight shades or screens. We also discuss skylight condensation and special skylight products such as light tubes.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2014 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
[Click to enlarge any image]
In this article series we discuss the selection and installation of windows and doors, following best construction and design practices for building lighting and ventilation, with attention to the impact on building heating and cooling costs, indoor air quality, and comfort of occupants.
We review the proper installation details for windows and doors, and we compare the durability of different window and door materials and types.
Our photo (above left) shows how even a small skylight can bring light into a tight space, in this case, in a roof in Molde, Norway -DF.
A well-positioned skylight can help transform a dreary interior room into a pleasing sunlit space with a feeling of connection to the outdoors.
In addition, venting skylights can play a significant role in exhausting hot, moist air from kitchens and bathrooms, and can enhance ventilation in any room with limited cross ventilation.
However, skylights can also be a source of problems, such as roof leaks in winter and overheating in summer, if the installer does not pay attention to glazing type, installation, and flashing details.
Like windows, skylights come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, frame materials, and glazing options. In addition, they have an ever increasing variety of screens, shades, and motorized, automated, and computerized controls, providing convenience and good energy performance in almost any situation.
Many lower-cost skylights use acrylic or polycarbonate glazing in single or double layers instead of glass. In general, plastic glazings resist breakage, but they can become scratched or brittle over time and are prone to yellowing. Unless specially coated to block UV transmission, plastic glazings allow high levels of UV radiation, which causes fading with many interior furnishings and finishes.
Most higher-end units use sealed insulated glass. Codes require the glass to be either tempered or laminated safety glass. When laminated glass is broken, the plastic interlayer holds the pane together. Tempered glass is harder to break, but it breaks into small, rounded fragments rather than dangerous shards.
Double-glazed skylights with safety glass typically have the safety glass on the interior and tempered glass on the outside, combining high impact resistance on the exterior with protection from falling glass below.
Most manufacturers offer a wide variety of sizes, including narrow models designed to fit 24-inch rafter spaces. At least two manufacturers, Roto and Pella, make a 14-inch-wide model designed to fit between 16-inch on center framing. Many standard widths are designed to fit in a double 16- or 24-inch bay.
For narrow spaces, such as a short section of attic roof above a knee wall, Andersen offers several units wider than they are tall, measuring either 16 or 24 inches high by 38 to 72 inches wide. Some manufacturers are tooled up to offer custom sizes for a moderate up-charge.
Operable skylights use either metal arms that swing out or a concealed chain that unrolls and stiffens as the sash is cranked open. How many turns it takes to open the sash and how wide it opens vary considerably among units. For out-of-reach skylights, all manufacturers offer either extension poles or motorized controls. Some extension poles can be challenging to engage in the crank mechanism, making it a chore to open and close the skylight.
Motorized controls simplify the task, and manufacturers have been refining their offerings in this area. Some need hard wiring from the controller to skylight, while others need only a power connection and are controlled by a convenient hand-held remote. Other options include a battery backup, which could be useful during a power outage, and a rain sensor that automatically closes the skylights at the first drops of rain.
The tendency of south- and west-facing skylights to cause summer overheating can be greatly moderated with the new spectrally selective glazing (SHGC below .40) (Spectrally Selective Low-E Windows). Still, shades and screens can be used to further reduce heat gains and UV radiation and to provide more diffused light with less glare. Numbers vary from one manufacturer to another, but typical shading effectiveness is as follows:
In a bedroom, a client might also want shades for room darkening. Manufacturers offer a wide variety of shades, mini blinds, and solar screens, most of which can be controlled by the same motors that control the skylights. Pella’s between-the-glass shades and blinds offer better energy performance than interior shades and never need cleaning, a big advantage with out-of-reach units.
Also see SOLAR SHADES & SUNSCREENS.
Introduced in the early 1990s, light tubes consist of a small plastic rooftop dome that conducts light to the interior through a rigid or flexible tube with a reflective interior.
On a sunny day, the diffuser at ceiling level provides about as much light as a bright electrical ceiling fixture (see Figure 3-18 at left).
Skylight Light Tubes range from 10 to 22 inches in diameter, and one manufacturer, Sun-Tek, offers a multi tube model that supplies up to four tubes from a more conventional looking skylight panel.
Used primarily in remodeling where it is
too difficult or expensive to install a skylight, light tubes
offer an economical way to bring daylight into bathrooms,
walk-in closets, and other small interior spaces.
-- Adapted and paraphrased, edited, and supplemented, with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
Continue reading at SKYLIGHT VENTILATION DETAILS
Suggested citation for this web page
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No FAQs have been posted for this page. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Questions & answers or comments about how to choose, install, troubleshoot & repair roof skylights.
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Search the InspectApedia website
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
Technical Reviewers & References