Are Skylight Windows Worth Installing What You Should Know

Kevin Brown

Skylight windows, installed on the roof, offer views of the sky and bring in natural light. When properly maintained, they have many benefits, adding value and creating a spacious and radiant feel. However, if not installed professionally, they can cause issues.

Are Skylight Windows Worth Installing What You Should Know

If you’re unsure about skylights, consider the types, costs, and problems associated with them. Here’s what you need to know.

Skylight windows come in various shapes: rectangular, round, or square. They can have different projections, such as sloped, pitched, or pyramid.

Once you choose the shape and pitch, you have three main types of skylights to choose from:

1. Fixed Skylights: These do not ventilate, making them less prone to leaks and longer-lasting than other types.

2. Vented Skylights: These can be manually opened using a crank or electronically using a button, which is convenient for inaccessible areas. Electric skylights are a good option for hard-to-reach places.

Tubular skylights are less common than fixed and vented skylights. They feature a long tube with a circle window on top, usually reserved for tight spaces like hallways or bathrooms.

Skylight replacement costs an average of $900 – $2,300. The final price depends on window size, seal condition, accessibility, and whether the window opening needs adjustment.

Skylights are not cheaper than standard windows. They require more material and are more complicated to install. Therefore, both window price and installation cost are higher.

As a comparison, the average skylight costs $900 – $2,300 for materials and installation, while a double-hung window costs $200 – $1,200.

Do Skylight Windows Open?

Skylight windows can either be fixed or vented. Vented skylights can open using a hand crank or through an electric button.

Skylight Windows Pros and Cons

While skylights offer great views and natural light, they are prone to leaking.

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Here are the pros and cons of skylight windows:


– Views – Skylight windows provide outdoor views and glimpses of the sky.

– Natural light – A single skylight can effectively brighten a room during the day.

Aesthetic appeal – Skylights add design detail to the home, possibly boosting value.


Expensive installation – Skylights on a roof require flashing and a sealant, making them harder to reach and more costly.

Cannot DIY – Skylight installation should be left to professionals to avoid missing crucial waterproofing steps.

Potential for leaks – Improperly installed skylights can cause damage to the home’s roof and interior.

Are Skylights Energy Efficient?

If you’re considering a skylight, you’ve probably read that they’re energy-efficient, but here’s the truth: not all skylights are energy efficient.

Skylights transfer solar heat into homes, which is beneficial in winter but can be problematic in summer. However, by selecting a skylight based on your climate, you can mitigate this issue. For hot areas, choose a skylight with a low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), and for colder climates, opt for a higher SHGC.

To ensure energy efficiency, prioritize skylights with low U-Factor and SHGC, and look for the Energy Star label. Additionally, professional installation is recommended.

The average skylight lasts 15 years, shorter than other windows. However, certain brands, like Velux, claim their skylights can last up to 30 years, depending on maintenance. The lifespan of a skylight depends on its material and care.

Do you need to replace your skylight when you replace your roof? Probably.

During a roofing job, existing skylights often get damaged, resulting in future leaks. Leaks from a skylight can cause damage to both the new roof and the interior of your home. It is best to replace the skylight when replacing the roof.

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

Roof windows and skylights have key differences. Roof windows are part of the roof design. These windows open outwardly and are larger than skylights. They must have the same orientation and pitch as the roof.

Skylights offer more versatility. They can be tubular, sloped, or rounded and can be vented or fixed. Can you put a skylight in a windowless bathroom?

Skylights are a great option for windowless bathrooms. One skylight can provide enough natural light during the day, but condensation is something to consider.

Don’t install a skylight in a bathroom without vents or exhaust fans. Hot air and moisture need a way to escape when you shower. Without a vent or exhaust fan, condensation will collect on the skylight, causing mold, mildew, and rot.

If a skylight is the only window in your bedroom, it must meet egress standards to be considered a legal bedroom. For egress code compliance, the skylight should be no more than 44 inches from the ground. The window must also open with a minimum clearing of 5.7 square feet, and it should be at least 20 inches wide and 24 inches high when opened.

Please note that a fixed skylight or a skylight located more than 44 inches above the ground does not qualify as a bedroom egress window.

*Building codes vary by region, so check locally for specific guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do you cover skylights?

If you want to cover your skylight from the inside, options include skylight blinds, shades, curtains, or thermal materials for energy efficiency.

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Can you use a regular window as a skylight?

No, using a regular window as a skylight is not recommended. Skylights use laminated glass to prevent shattering and protect against leaks, which can cause roof rot and interior damage.

Are skylights outdated?

Skylights are not outdated. They are a popular home feature that adds architectural detail. When installed correctly, they can add value to a home.

A sunlight roof window is another name for a skylight.

While you can install a skylight on a flat roof, you’ll need to take extra precautions to encourage rain run-off. One of the best options is a skylight with curved glass.

Skylights provide outdoor views, natural light, and can help make a room feel more open. With proper installation, these windows are energy efficient and an asset to a home. Improperly installed skylights will leak, causing damage to the home’s interior and exterior.

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