Thinking of Installing a Skylight – Here’s What you Need to Know
Earlier this year we brought our readers some news about skylights – a feature that is on the increase here in the UK due, in large part, to the benefits they offer on both commercial and domestic premises. If you’re thinking about having skylights installed, either as a homeowner or a business premises owner, then there are a few things to consider in order to make an informed decision and install the type of skylight that is right for your building.
Flat or Domed? This is one of the major considerations – nobody wants to have their view of the sky blocked by fallen leaves and debris. A domed skylight makes sure that any leaves and debris will just slide off, leaving the light pouring in. This decision brings us to the next consideration:
Glass or Plastic? If you opt for a domed skylight, then plastic is the only choice but you need to be aware that plastic does discolour over time – how much will depend on the quality of the plastic. Plastic is a cheaper option for skylights than glass which will remain clear for years as long as it is cleaned on a regular basis.
Fixed or Vented? If you intend to use the skylight for extra ventilation as well as extra light, then there are several vented skylight options on the market to choose from. Vented skylights are more expensive than fixed ones and they are also more vulnerable to leaks.
Skylight Placement – where the skylight is installed will impact directly on how much light and how much solar heat is introduced into the space below. For example, if a skylight is installed on a north facing roof, it will provide consistent natural light all year round. If energy saving is a vital issue for you, the install the skylight so that it faces south.
When to Install? Obviously, here in the UK, summer is always the best time to carry out any work out doors, especially construction or roofing work of any kind. However, it does rain in the summer quite a lot so dry weather for installation cannot be guaranteed. Because most roofing contractors experience a slowdown in business over the winter months, due to the adverse weather conditions, you may find a company that charges less for this type of work in the winter.
Flat or Pitched Roof? The type of roof on which the skylight is to be installed impacts considerably on the type of skylight and the amount of light and solar heat that it will let in. A skyline with a gradual slope will admit more solar heat than one on a steeply pitched roof. Whether the roof is pitched or flat will also govern the placement of rafters, another issue that needs to be considered when determining placement.
Get it Right – first time. Poorly installed skylights or skylights fabricated from poor quality materials may potentially cause damage to your property and lead to expensive repair and replacement bills.
Safety – installing your own skylights means working at height. Unless you are fully trained to do so, even if you’re an expert at DIY, it really is sensible to hire a professional roofing company to install skylights. Not only is this the safest option (they will have all the safety equipment necessary to work at height), the work will come with a warranty to protect your investment. Access to the skylight from inside should be planned to ensure that there is no risk of falling out of it. If a skylight is installed on a flat roof, it will need to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis, which will mean going onto the roof. It would be wise to consider some type of rooftop walkway or barrier system to ensure safe access.