Skylights are light-transmitting structures installed into your roofline with the primary design being to provide natural light into the area below. Skylights are also able to provide a ventilation capability, which will vary according to the skylight design and the amount of ventilation required. Ventilation can be passive, natural or mechanical depending upon the requirement. Skylights bring the natural outdoors indoors creating a cosy, relaxed and welcoming ambience for the building.
Skylights are not a one-size-fits-all solution. They come in various shapes and sizes and should be selected relative to the area of the building requiring natural light and the “look” required by the customer at the ceiling. Factors such as the aspect of the building to the sun, the distance that the light has to be transmitted from roof to ceiling and the size of the area which the light has to service will require consideration when selecting the type, size and number of skylights required.
Skylights are designed to provide the best natural lighting solution for residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Not only can skylights elevate the design of the building, but they also provide aesthetic benefits, energy and environmental benefits (less electricity needed for lighting), as well as mental health benefits. Well-lit environments are known to improve the mood of building occupants by helping the body produce more serotonin and less melatonin and therefore helping to reduce the severity of conditions like depression and anxiety.
This all adds up to a healthier, more comfortable and liveable building, which in turn leads to improved property value.
The main types of skylights available are as follows:
- Round skylight (also known as circular or tubular skylight) simply refers to the product’s shape. They are suitable for most roofing profiles and are provided with the required roof flashing. They can be fitted to a square or circular ceiling frame and diffuser if necessary and can be provided with LED lights and ventilation options if required. Very effective for lighting multiple areas of a building or small areas such as sculleries, entries, hallways, walk-in robes, ensuites and small bathrooms.
- Domed skylights are larger and generally made with metal flashing and upstand in square or rectangular shapes with durable acrylic domes. Their main benefit is that they are larger and may be used to illuminate an entire room depending upon its size. Can be provided with artificial lighting and ventilation options as well.
- Fixed roof windows don’t open but still provide a beautiful natural light source and can help make your space look larger. Fixed skylights generally work the best in out-of-reach areas and do not provide ventilation. Materials generally include glass, acrylic or plastic, with a frame of steel, aluminium or timber. They are generally square or rectangular.
- Opening roof windows provide natural ventilation and generally look the same as fixed roof window skylights. They are a good choice for buildings, where humidity or condensation is a concern. Opening roof window skylights are a good choice for rooms that have high levels of moisture such as the laundry, bathroom and kitchen or rooms that are impacted by direct sunlight and require ventilation to create airflow and reduce the heat impact.
- Custom skylights may be required due to restrictions regarding installation or merely to enhance the design and aesthetics of a building where an unusual shape or unique design is desired. In most cases, the building owner or designer may simply be seeking something special. For these and many other reasons, a custom skylight may be chosen. Custom skylights can be unique in shape and can be fixed or opened.
What Are Skylights Made Of?
Skylights have been traditionally made with a metal upstand and metal flashing for square or rectangular skylights and a one-piece metal or plastic soaker tray for round/tubular skylights.
Skylight domes are typically made from opal or clear acrylic, however, in some cases, they are made from opal or clear polycarbonate material or glass. The lightwell for round/tubular skylights is typically made from highly reflective aluminium lined flexible duct or a rigid aluminium material lined with silver to provide a “mirror” type internal finish to maximise light transfer down the shaft. Larger square or rectangular skylights may also have a lightwell made from highly reflective aluminium lined flexible material or a COLORBOND metal lightwell depending upon the requirement. All-round/tubular and square/rectangular skylights have a ceiling frame and diffuser which enables light to be diffused around the area below. The diffuser systems can vary from single to double glazed and can be made from acrylic or in some cases glass. The ceiling frames which hold the diffuser can be aluminium or plastic.
Roof windows usually feature a timber or aluminium frame with a metal flashing and double-paned glass with an inert gas (generally argon), which absorbs heat from light but does not affect the chemicals around it. The lightwell is typically framed out with timber and lined with Gyprock ready for painting. The lightwell is generally open at the ceiling so that you can look up and out through the skylight on the roof and the lightwell can be insulated if required.
The materials used for skylight construction and the type and number of skylights required for installation can depend on several factors including roof type, roof profile, aspect of the roof part to the sun, distance from roof to ceiling and personal preference or design.
The type and number of skylights that you require will be based upon the amount of light you desire in the area of concern and how you want the skylight to look aesthetically in your home.
Of course, your budget will also impact the type and number of skylights that can be installed.
What Is The Function Of Skylights?
In its simplest form, the most basic function of a skylight is to provide natural light into a dark area of a building, however, a skylight can provide many more benefits to the occupants of a building. As well as bringing the outside to the inside of your home and creating a more expansive atmosphere, skylights can help keep your room cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter. If you opt for a vented skylight, it can even help improve the airflow by allowing hot air to escape.
Skylights are a sustainable solution and are environmentally friendly. Naturally, they will decrease your electricity bills because you won’t need to use your lights as often and by reducing the consumption of electricity or gas, you are also reducing your household’s CO2 emissions and taking a step towards creating a healthier green home.
Skylights also provide well-being benefits with the natural light that they provide by assisting in the reduction of some mental illnesses and depression with the natural light that skylights bring inside the building. Research has shown that sunlight exposure increases serotonin in the brain, Vitamin D and productivity levels. Skylights can be installed into an existing building or be included in your building designs to increase the aesthetics and value of your property.
Calidad Industries offers fixed, ventilated and tubular skylights in many sizes which are designed for various types of buildings. With over 25 years of delivering cost-effective skylight solutions, we pride ourselves on helping homes and businesses in Australia find the right natural lighting solution. For more information, contact us here or give us a call on (08) 9302 6622.