What Are Skylights? ILLUMINATING Answer

Does your place feel dark or not as lit as you’d like? Unfortunately, natural sunlight isn’t always as available as we want it to be in some of our homes and buildings.

Then, if that weren’t enough, it might not be possible at times to install any windows in these areas. This often leads homeowners to ask: how can I make my home seem brighter and more engaging?

The simple answer is skylights. While we’ve all probably heard of these ceiling portals, many still wonder, ‘What are skylights?’


In this article, we’re going to tell you all about the different types of skylights, as well as how to pick the best one for your home.

Let’s take a look.

What Are Skylights?

Many people have glass windows that transmit sunlight.

Skylights do the same thing, but they’re more amplified. In fact, experts say that skylights provide homes with around eight times more light from above. It’s like having a super window installed on your roof!

The reason they’re becoming more popular now is that glass manufacturing has advanced so much in recent years. As a result, it’s made them more convenient to purchase and install than ever before.

Types of Skylights

There are plenty of types of skylights. They differ according to your roof’s dimensions, extra functions, or just as a way to add a decorative touch to your house.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common types.

Fixed Skylight

This is the kind of skylight that most people use. However, it only serves the main purpose of increasing the amount of natural light entering your home.

The best location to install a fixed skylight is in low-lit areas of your house. This is typically in places like the attics or near the stairs.

Example of a skylight

Fixed skylights don’t have any extra functions. For example, they’re fixed and can’t be opened for ventilation or cooling purposes.

Ventilated Skylight

People usually purchase skylights to light their homes more with natural sunlight. Yet, this type of skylight serves the extra function of providing airflow and ventilation into your home.

Unlike many other skylights, the glass in ventilated skylights can be opened and closed manually or electronically. More modern models even come with remote controls for maximum convenience.

Most people choose to install them in areas that require an extra boost of fresh air, like kitchens and bathrooms.

Tubular Skylight

This is one of the more modern models. It’s a great option when there isn’t enough space to install fixed or ventilated skylights.

A tubular skylight is a small tube of around 12 inches in diameter and a round dome on top of it. Sunlight is collected by the dome and is then transmitted into the tube.

The tube is completely lined with a silver finished mirror that transmits all sunlight collected without any loss. Thus, it helps provide even amounts of light throughout the room.

Custom Skylight

Not many houses will have the luxury of space to install a skylight, while some roofs aren’t in a condition for skylight installation.

Custom skylights solve this problem while maintaining the main function of the skylight.

They’re custom-made according to the available space on your roof. Yet, you have to double-check the material used since the glass must be hurricane-resistant with temperature control and sensors for rain.

Sun tunnels are an alternative to skylights. It is a folded piece of reflective metal. They work great in smaller areas but they might bring in less light.

Dome Acrylic Skylight

This is a dome-shaped skylight made up of two layers of plastic. One serves as a layer of protection, while the other is for insulation.

One of the interesting functions of Dome Acrylic Skylights is that it lights up the entire room even when sunlight isn’t falling directly on your roof.

The dome-shaped structure helps distribute sunlight equally in almost any room it’s installed in.

Pros and Cons of Skylights

Now you have an idea of the different types of skylights, let’s look at some of their pros and cons.

Advantages of skylights

-Increases light ventilation up to eight folds

-Gives an aesthetically beautiful appearance

-Decreases the use of artificial light as it saves a lot of electricity

-In the case of Ventilated Skylights, you save electricity since the need for ACs is less. AC’s are quite expensive so it can be a nice saving.

-Adds up a lot to your property’s value when you resell it

Using tinted glass ensures an even distribution of sunlight and UV protection

Disadvantages of skylights

-Limited control of the amount of heat and light coming through. If you live in an area with hot summers, ACs or cooling systems will be necessary. Some solar lights have advanced insulation and it is less of an issue for them.

-In winter, snow is hard to remove from on top of the skylight. Snow prevents sunlight and decreases the room’s temperature

Cleaning and upkeep can be challenging

-High installation and maintenance costs, compared to traditional windows

– Skylights start to leak over time. Solar tubes are an alternative to skylights that might be more durable.

Who Sells Skylights?

Unfortunately, it’s less likely that you’ll be able to get yours from a window manufacturer. So, you have to reach out to a specialty manufacturer or supplier.

Here’s a list of some of the best skylight manufacturers currently available.

American Skylights


VELUX Skylights


Wasco Skylights


Check out some common questions asked by homeowners and contractors.

What is the difference between a roof window and a skylight?

Most skylights aren’t used for ventilation, unlike all windows.

Do skylights leak or break?

Skylights don’t normally leak or break. However, most skylight manufacturers provide a warranty for both. Over time they might start to leak and need to be replaced.

Do skylights make the room hot?

Yes, skylights cause a lot of heat in the room, depending on the temperature outside.

How long does it take to install a skylight?

Skylight installation takes place both indoors and on the roof. It takes between half a day to three days to install. Though, this depends on a number of variables, like the condition of the roof, the weather, and the size of the skylight.

Is it hard to replace a skylight?

It usually takes a few hours to replace a skylight.

Do skylights have blinds?

Yes, there are many blinds and shading options for skylights.

Where is the best place to install a skylight?

The best location to install a skylight is when it’s facing north to get consistent sunlight throughout the day.


“What are skylights?’ used to be a question asked by contractors, homeowners, and decorators. Now, they’ve become a common sight in so many homes that practically everyone knows what they are.

Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about skylights, it’s time to ask yourself: do I need skylights in my home?