Skylights Buying Guide

Before you choose a skylight and an experienced Orange County skylight installer, there are a few basics about skylights that you need to know. The following buying guide will help you understand the basics of a skylight when you are talking with an Orange County skylight company.

A skylight brings new life to your home in a variety of ways from making a kitchen brighter to enhancing a bathroom that has no window to allowing you to gaze at the stars in the evening from your bedroom. Skylights reduce your energy consumption by warming your house in the winter and cooling your home in the summer months.

Types and Placement of the Skylight

There are numerous types of skylights on the market today, and each type serves a specific purpose. Your specific needs for a skylight will be met when you hire a professional skylight installer. Skylights are made of glass or plastic and have features like UV-blocking capabilities, shades as well as louvers. Some skylights can be opened to help ventilate a room and skylights can be fixed to maximize sunlight.

The placement of your skylight is an important factor. You can install a skylight in a room directly under the roofline and in a room below an empty attic space. A professional skylight company can determine the best place to install a skylight to maximize the effects of your skylight.

Choosing the correct light shaft optimizes the desired effects of your skylight. The shape of a light shaft controls the scope of natural light entering a room. For instance, a light shaft that has four flared sides allows more coverage of sunlight throughout the room. A straight light shaft concentrates the sunlight in a specific area. An angled light shaft with one or two flared sides diverts the sunlight to specific areas within a room to achieve the desired effects of the skylight. Low sloping roofs require a larger skylight, while a steeper sloped roof allows for a smaller skylight to achieve collecting similar sunlight.

Another important aspect when you are placing a skylight is the direction in which the skylight faces. A skylight installed facing south or west collects more sunlight, on the other hand, a skylight which faces north or east collects less sunlight throughout the day. The direction the skylight faces determines whether you need to control the amount of sunlight entering the room. Skylights with a blind, a shade or a ventilating device are designed to help you control the amount of sunlight entering the room.

Choosing the Correct Material

Glazed glass or plastic skylights with a single, double or triple pane are your best option to purchase. Glazed plastic skylights weigh significantly less than a glazed glass skylight. A quality glazed plastic skylight has two panes which separate a chamber of air. Plastic skylights are available in a variety of shapes which include rectangular, round, bubble-shaped, flat as well as triangular and plastic skylights are only available in standard sizes. Plastic skylights are the best choice for durability, cost and weight.

The preferred choice for homeowners is a glazed glass skylight. A glazed glass skylight is more expensive and provides a clearer view as well as a stylish look. Glazed glass skylights are available in a wide variety of sizes with special features such as blinds, shades, ventilating devices and many glazed glass skylights can be opened. Glazed glass skylights have two panes of tempered glass which separate an air chamber. Specific models of glazed glass skylights with a low-emissivity coating help reduce ultraviolet rays (UV). Models containing a low-e coating and a combination of argon gas as well as a bronze tinting have a higher insulation value and lower the absorption of solar heat. Advanced glazed glass skylights include all three features above as well as tempered glass over laminated glass which reduces the hazard of glass shards inside your home when your skylight is damaged.

Care About Ratings and Measurement Values

Each manufacturer offers a simple chart that explains the U-Value, Shading Coefficient, UV Blockage and R-Value of their glazed glass skylights. Understanding the difference between ratings and values are important when you are deciding on a model of a skylight.

U-Value determines the rate of heat flow on both sides of the skylight. A skylight with a lower U-value repels the flow of heat at a higher rate.

Shading Coefficient determines the amount of solar heat gain. A skylight with a lower shading coefficient number collects less solar heat.

R-Value measures the insulating capabilities of the skylights. A skylight with a higher R-value has greater insulating capabilities.

Visible Light Transmittance explains the amount of light entering the space or room. A tinted skylight has a lower percentage of visible light entering the space below the skylight.

UV Blockage represents the amount of ultraviolet rays blocked. A skylight with a higher percentage rating blocks more ultraviolet rays.

As you can see, there are numerous factors involved in purchasing the right skylight for your home. A professional skylight company can help you decide which model is best for your budget and house.