Skylight / July 11, 2018 / Nicolas Charlebois
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.
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.
Since most skylights are meant to be installed on a roof with asphalt shingles you may need to pay extra for flashing if you have tile or metal roofing. When you think of skylight design you may think that only refers to the visible shape of the panel chosen; in fact there are many aspects to skylights that relate to the design and affect the usefulness of the skylight. Some skylights need to provide light for a large area while others have a different purpose. Learn all you can about skylights and skylight design as a consumer before you consult a professional. This will help you to understand better the decisions you will have to make. Skylights are beneficial to have in your home for many reasons.