Adding light to a room can make a world of difference in aesthetic appearance, at West Construction Group we like to suggest skylights or solar tubes. But what in the difference?

Both bring natural sunlight and a healthy dose of vitamin D to the atmosphere and provide energy efficiency to a room that lacks windows. Studies have been shown that increasing your daily intake of natural light can enhance physical and mental well-being while increasing energy and concentration levels. 

What are skylights?

Skylights are those (usually)rectangular shaped windows that are in the roof of your home, they can be made of acrylic, polycarbonate, of glass set in a metal frame surrounded by flashing. Out of the three materials used for skylights acrylic is the most susceptible to cracking in extreme weather conditions. Skylights are seen as a luxurious enhancement to a home and depending on the type of skylight you choose it can be opened to allow fresh air and ventilation all of which adds value to the home. 

One of the major concerns that customers have when seeking to add light to their home is “what if a tree branch brakes my skylight?” It’s not an impossible scenario but it will be less likely to injure someone if there is proper installation and laminated glass as the material used. The laminated glass consists of glass covered in a film that will hold the pieces together incase the skylight comes into contact with a tree limb or hail.

When it comes to skylights, there are two types-Deck Mounted Skylights and Curb Mounted Skylights. Curb mounted is the traditional design and consists of a box shaped structure made of lumber attached to the roof deck system surrounded by the roofs flashing for waterproofing. When you think of curb mounted skylights the roof slope must be less 14 degrees. Think of curb mounted skylights like a shoe box lid fitting over a shoe box.

The Deck Mounted Skylights are a newer design and have a lower profile than curb mounted skylights. Deck mounted are more energy efficient than curb mounted due to how it “hugs” the external roof system. A flashing kit will also ensure moisture resistance. Deck mounted skylights are most suitable for roofs that have a greater than 14 degree slope.

Both types of skylights can be designed to capture the morning cooler light and avoid the harsher afternoon sun and can add dramatic effect to the home’s design.

Benefits of a Skylight

-Allows more light than a solar tube

-Adds space to a room by allowing natural views and brightens up the atmosphere

-Adds resale value to the home

-Provides an energy efficient source of light

-Adds warmth in the colder months

-Provides natural light while maintaining privacy needs

-Provides improvement in ventilation

What are Solar Tubes?

Solar tubes are also known as light tubes, sun tunnels, or tubular skylights, much like skylights, they are made of polycarbonate or acrylic. Solar tubes are typically 10-14 inched in diameter and contain polished metal within the tube to reflect light into the home from the roof. There will be a plastic weather-proof dome over the solar tube on your roof where the light from the sun makes its entrance. The polished metal keeps the light intense as it flows from the roof to the ceiling of your home. The benefit of solar tubes is that they can be installed just about anywhere on a roof, whereas with a skylight the roof needs to be a specific pitch and a certain amount of space will need to be allotted for the installation of a skylight. They can also be affordable and a quick remedy to a dark room with limited window space, the amount of time needed to install a solar tube is around two hours. Solar tubes can also come with extensions that allow the interior of the tubes to bend up to 90 degrees.

Benefits of Solar Tubes

-Quick Installation

-Applicable on almost every roof pitch

-Seal system is bug, dust, and moisture proof

-No wiring and paint needed for installation, structural changes to the roof not needed

-Less likely than a skylight to be damaged during a hail storm due to the smaller surface area on the roof

Before considering adding a skylight or solar tube consult with a professional roofer or call West Construction Group at 972-730-2594. Every roof will need to be assessed for the best option for your home and roof.