Skylights: Pros and Cons

Skylights are loved by many for the beauty and light they add to a home, but are also disliked by many for the potential issues they cause and the damage they could do to a home. If you’re weighing the benefits and costs of potentially installing a skylight, consider these pros and cons to help you decide. 

The Pros

Works Where Other Windows Can’t

Skylights can be installed where a standard window isn’t possible. Think of a bathroom in the middle of a home, with other rooms on all sides and no wall adjoining the exterior walls. Or a finished attic that would only accommodate standard windows on either end. Skylights make natural light in these rooms possible.

Skylights are also a benefit to homes that don’t get sufficient light from their existing windows, sometimes due to the close proximity of neighbouring houses, trees or consistently rainy climates. The ability to add skylights lets you get natural light in otherwise dark places, and venting skylights also allow fresh air. Modern designs include venting systems operated by remote control, so even skylights out of reach can be opened to let in fresh air.

Save on Energy

Save on Energy

More natural light means you need less artificial light. Skylights will help you cut down on the number of lights you need to turn on during the day, helping you to save money on electricity. 

Additionally, skylights can add heat to your home. If installed in the right place, they can provide indirect solar light that will help to heat your home in the winter and provide cool but bright light in the summer. However, if you install a skylight in a place that will heat your home in the winter, it will do the same in the summer, so it must be shaded during the hotter months. Many skylights are available with built-in and even remotely operated blinds. Additional heating in the winter and extra venting in the summer (especially on your ceiling where hot air rises) can help save on heating and cooling expenses.  It’s important to remember that skylights, like any window, have the potential to lose as much heat as it gains. This will depend largely on the quality and type of skylight, blinds used, and the installation. 

The Cons

The Cost

Skylights can come with a hefty price tag. From purchase to installation to maintenance, they can be an expensive home feature. To purchase a skylight, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200-$3,000. This price varies greatly with types and features. You can expect the more energy-efficient, remote-operated, blinds-included skylights to be on the higher price range. Additionally, you will have the cost of upkeep. 

Potential Roof Issues

Skylight Roof Issues

Like any potential cons of installing a skylight, there are ways to mitigate this problem by buying higher quality skylights and making sure they are correctly installed. Avoid skylights with a plastic glaze. They can get easily discoloured by the sun, wear out and potentially cause cracks and leaks.

Skylights that are mounted above the surface of your roof are less likely to leak. Additionally, there are other advances in roof and skylight installation that can prevent leaks including curbs, rook crickets, diverter shelves and advances in waterproofing.

Potential Damage Inside Your Home

If you’ve never had a skylight, you might not realize the potential damage the overhead sunlight can do to your home’s interior. Long exposure to sunlight can cause fading on the furniture, walls, floors and other finishes that sit in its path. Again, newer skylights can be purchased that decrease this issue, such as laminated, tempered or tinted glass to help control the UV levels. This is important to keep in mind when deciding in what rooms you’d like to install your skylight.

There is no denying the aesthetic benefits a skylight can add to your home: making rooms brighter, spaces appear larger and letting the outside world in. But it’s important to consider both the negatives and positives so you can make an informed decision.