Windows & Skylights

Skylights add value to homes, and helps them sell faster A good skylight adds light, spaciousness, and value to a home, but a badly made or poorly placed skylight can drain a house of warmth, introduce unwanted glare and heat, and create a leak risk. Manufacturers and designers have worked hard to address the anxiety many builders have over punching windows into a roof.

  • NAHB research reveals that 55% of new homeowners rate skylights as desirable or essential.
  • Seventy-eight percent of new homebuyers are asking for more light and more open and spacious rooms. Skylights can help create the illusion of bigger rooms.
  • Shrinking lots are forcing larger homes closer together with less privacy. Installing a roof or tubular skylight instead of the traditional kitchen or bathroom window bring in light without giving homeowners views into each other’s homes.
  • Adding skylights can help reduce energy costs and provide natural sunlight instead of turning on lights to illuminate a room.

There are new products on the market that are less expensive, more practical, and easier to install. Beginning next year Velux will be offering an electronically tintable skylight using electrochromic glass, which allows for remote control of the amount of light and heat that enters a room. Homeowners can quickly vary the tint to limit the heat gain and reduce glare, adding both to comfort and energy savings.

Window maker Milgard is now offering a skylight that comes framed in heavy-duty, bronze anodized aluminum. The 750 and 780 series are thermally broken with a polyurethane barrier that separates the interior and exterior aluminum frames. Users can open them manually, through an electrical wall switch, or by wireless remote. Various glazing options, including tinted or reflective glass, are available.

Many skylight manufacturers are offering "out of the box” solutions, such as Velux’s VSE electric venting skylight. It comes with an upgraded, pre-installed mounting bracket that allows roof mounting with nails instead of screws, making it quicker for the installer—and less chance for problems later on.

Tubular skylights represent the fastest-growing segment of the skylight market, providing natural light in tight spaces like hallways, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. Solatube is now offering their 10- and 14-inch Solatube as an Energy Star-rated product. The dual-glazed diffuser helps reduce interior heat loss during winter and solar heat gain during the summer months. Velux, meanwhile, offers the Sun Tunnel in both Flexible and Rigid options. The Flexible model simplifies installation around attic obstructions, while the Rigid model features easy alignment with dual adjustable elbows. Builders can upsell the product talking about its ability to save energy, while making natural light available without the need for windows. Prices for most tubular skylights range from about $150 for small, basic models to more than $600 for larger, deluxe models.