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Installing a skylight is a relatively low cost home improvement project that pays major dividends. In addition to providing a room with increased brightness, warmth, and ventilation, skylights can reduce your energy bills and improve your overhead view. To learn more about skylight installation and costs, continue reading this buying guide.
Things to Consider When Shopping for Skylights
When shopping for a skylight, your first major decision concerns the type of skylight. The three major skylight types are fixed, ventilating, and tubular. When choosing between them, consider the following points:
- Fixed skylights do not open. They are good choice if your goal is to provide a room, such as an attic or stairwell, with extra light.
- Ventilating skylights can be opened to provide a room with fresh air in addition to natural light. Because they improve air flow and reduce moisture, they are often installed in kitchens and bathrooms. A ventilating skylight can be opened and closed manually, remotely, or via an automatic sensor.
- Tubular skylights, also known as light pipes or sun pipes, are excellent for providing light to a room where a regular-sized skylight is too large. A tubular skylight is composed of a roof-mounted dome that collects sunlight and sends it, by means of a reflective tube, to a circular opening, usually 10 or 14 inches in diameter, in the ceiling. Once you've decided on a style of skylight, keep these other points in mind to ensure a satisfactory purchase:
- A rule of thumb when deciding on the size of a new skylight is it should not be more than 5% of the total floor area in a room that has many windows and no more than 15% of total floor area for a room that doesn't have many windows.
- Skylight glazing options are plastic and glass. Plastic is cheaper but not as durable and allows more UV light to enter. Glass, although more expensive, is a superior product.
- Carefully consider the placement of your skylight to prevent excessive heat from entering or escaping your home. North-facing skylights provide consistent light but not that much heat. Those facing east maximize morning light and heat. Skylights that face west capture sun and heat best in the afternoon and south-facing skylights are best for capturing winter rays, but may be too hot in the summer.
- Professionals often recommend a skylight slope that is the same as the latitude where you live plus 5-15 degrees.
Skylight Average Costs
Please note that the actual cost of skylights may vary depending on the product selected, your location, the complexity of the installation, and other factors.
- Fixed skylights start at around $100 to $250 and can cost as much as $500 to $1,000. Installation, which costs $300 to $500, brings the total cost to $400 to $1,500.
- Ventilating skylights cost anywhere from $250 to $2,000 or more. With skylight installation cost, you might pay as much as $5,000 or more for a deluxe ventilation skylight (i.e. a large model with low-E glass and a remote opener).
- A tubular skylight might cost $150 to $650; with installation pan on paying $500 to $1,000 or more.
- Specially designed shades or blinds can cost $100 to $500 per skylight.