Skylight / July 12, 2018 / Odo Vaillancour
A skylight is like a window which has been placed in your roof. It has a frame specially designed to withstand rain and prevent leakage from rain and snow. To maximize a skylights use of natural light to illuminate a room or its passive solar heating potential you will want to take into consideration how a skylight is positioned. Facing north your skylight will provide fairly constant illumination but will not provide a lot of heat. Facing east it will provide the maximum amount of light and solar heat gain in the morning. Facing west your skylight provides afternoon sunlight as well as heat gain. A skylight facing south provides the greatest potential for winter passive solar heat gain than any other location but will often allow unwanted heat gain in the summer.
If installed badly however they can do a great deal of damage. Many people dont realize how easily that damage can be avoided by purchasing a replacement skylight instead of giving it up altogether. A skylight might be detrimental to a house in many different ways. They require flashing when installed and without proper flashing of aluminum or some other sturdy material the light will leak. Rain and other forms of moist weather will find its way into the house itself. Roof design is very important when choosing and installing a skylight. It is another reason why skylights fail after awhile. The angle or tilt of a roof and the angle at which the skylight is set will determine how strong and supported the light is.
For example the optimum slope for a south-facing skylight in Columbus Ohio at 40º North latitude is 45º to 55º. Every skylight has a "shaft" which governs how much light is admitted into the room below. If all four sides are flared then the light is spread over a wide area. If your skylight has a shaft with perpendicular sides the light is focused straight below. If your skylights shaft is flared on only one or two sides then the light is sprayed in the flared direction. Ventilation If you wish you can have a skylight which also provides ventilation as well as light to your room. This allows you to release the hot air which collects at your ceiling.