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Are Skylights A Good Idea? (Skylight Pros & Cons)

March 11, 2024 | 3 min. read

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Skylights are an increasingly popular feature in modern homes. They allow homeowners to bring natural light and ventilation into interior spaces. 

While skylights can enhance a home’s aesthetics and functionality, they also have advantages and disadvantages.

Rescue My Roof has been working with homeowners for over a decade, helping them achieve the roof of their dreams. We’ve even installed a skylight or two.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of skylights to help homeowners make informed decisions about incorporating them into their homes. Ultimately, you’ll know if a skylight is the right fit for your home. 

Pros of Skylights

Of course, skylights are beautiful and open your home to natural light. However, there are other benefits that skylights can offer.

If you’re considering installing a skylight, here are some benefits you can expect: 

1. Natural Light

Skylight with black trin and frame.

One of the primary benefits of skylights is their ability to flood interior spaces with natural light, creating a bright and airy atmosphere. Natural light has been shown to improve mood, productivity, and overall well-being, making skylights a desirable feature in any home.

2. Energy Efficiency

Skylights can help reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day, thereby lowering energy consumption and utility costs.

Additionally, strategically placed skylights can provide passive solar heating in winter, reducing reliance on heating systems and enhancing energy efficiency.

3. Ventilation

Many skylights are designed to open and close, allowing for natural ventilation and airflow within the home. Proper ventilation helps regulate indoor temperature and humidity levels, improving comfort and air quality.

4. Aesthetics

Skylight shining natural light in a kitchen.

 Skylights add visual interest to a home’s interior and exterior, creating architectural focal points and enhancing curb appeal. They can also provide stunning views of the sky and surrounding landscape, adding to the home’s overall beauty.

Cons of Skylights

Homeowners desire skylights for many reasons, but they’re not the right fit for everyone. 

Skylights do have drawbacks. Here are some skylight disadvantages you can expect so you can make an informed decision.

1. Cost

 Skylights can be expensive to purchase and install, particularly if they require structural modifications or custom sizing. 

With the average skylight installation cost hovering around $1,750—between a low cost of $1,000 and a high cost of $2,500—this project may reap rewards for the right homeowner. The cost of skylights may also include additional expenses such as flashing, sealing, and interior finishing.

2. Potential for Leaks

Water damage from a leaking skylight.

 Improperly installed or poorly maintained skylights can be prone to leaks, leading to water damage and costly repairs. 

Proper flashing, sealing, and regular maintenance are essential to prevent leaks and ensure the longevity of skylights.

3. Heat Gain and Loss

While skylights can provide passive solar heating in winter, they can also contribute to heat gain in summer, potentially increasing cooling costs. Energy-efficient skylights with low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings and insulated glazing can help mitigate heat transfer and minimize energy loss.

Additionally, In winter, heat gained during the day is lost at night through the skylight. One study shows that a skylight loses 32.4 BTU per hour per square foot at night, compared to windows’ heat loss of 20.2 BTU per hour per square foot. That means that skylights lose close to 40% more heat than windows.

4. Glare and UV Exposure

 Direct sunlight streaming through skylights can cause glare and UV exposure, which may be uncomfortable or damaging to furniture, flooring, and artwork. Installing blinds, shades, or UV-blocking films can help mitigate these issues while still allowing natural light to enter the space.

Making Informed Decisions About Skylights

Skylights offer numerous benefits, including natural light, energy efficiency, ventilation, and aesthetics. However, they also have potential drawbacks, such as cost, risk of leaks, heat gain/loss, and glare/UV exposure. 

Before installing skylights, homeowners should carefully weigh the pros and cons and consider factors such as budget, climate, orientation, and desired functionality. By making informed decisions and working with reputable contractors, homeowners can enjoy the many advantages of skylights while minimizing potential drawbacks.

Learn more about skylights with “3 Common Problems with Skylights” and “How Much Does A New Skylight Cost?
Has your desire to install a skylight grown? Rescue My Roof is a reputable skylight installer in southeastern Wisconsin. Contact us today to get a free estimate.