Haven't you noticed how things are changing? It used to be that dark was in. Now the trend is to light and openness; people can't seem to get enough of it. Our clients are asking us to open up their houses in ways never before imagined. And, the use of skylights is high on the list. These are among the hottest items in home improvement.
Imagine the dramatic impact of light coming through the ceiling, bringing a warm ambiance to every corner of the room. There is nothing that can duplicate the effect of a skylight. Light which comes in through windows has an entirely different feel to it. Not that it's bad. It's just that there is something about sunlight entering a room from overhead that has a wonderful quality to it.
Skylights can be used to turn almost any room into a sunroom. That's how significant the impact is.
One of the most obvious uses of skylights is to lighten up a dark corner. Every house has these and they only serve to close the walls in around us. If there is a roof or attic over an area like this, then shedding a little light will push the walls back and make the room more user-friendly.
Probably the most dramatic use of all for skylights is in a finished attic. Installed instead of windows, unproductive space becomes the coziest in the house. Plus, because a skylight is located above the roof, it lifts the height of the ceiling making the attic feel more spacious.
There are basically two kinds of skylights; plastic domed and flat glass. These come in either wood or aluminum framed. Each fills a necessary niche.
The Plastic domed units are normally more energy efficient; the insulating value of plastic is superior to glass. In addition, they are usually available in a tinted color which screens out most of the harsh ultraviolet rays. This means that you probably won't need shades or other light control. On the downside, these units can expand and contract with temperature changes (the better units are constructed to accommodate this expansion without damage to the skylight) resulting a popping or creaking noise; particularly in the larger sizes (4' X 4' or larger).
The glass units come with either aluminum or wood framing and will normally outlast their plastic counterparts. These usually require some method of light control and the better units have these available as an economical option.
Both types are available as vented units and this can be extremely useful. Since heat rises toward the ceiling, having a skylight which opens creates a chimney effect. As the heat escapes through the opening, more fresh air is drawn into the room from windows or other areas of the house.