Should You Install a Tube Skylight?

A skylight is simply a fancy term for a window installed directly in a roof. As a homeowner or business owner, a skylight can improve the aesthetic appeal of a property by providing a pleasant source of natural light, as well as a glimpse of the stars in the evening hours.

Even though a skylight may be a staple of your dream house, there are several pros and cons to consider before installation. Skylight advantages include:

  • Lower utility bill. By using natural light in your home or business throughout the day, you can keep daytime utility costs to a minimum.
  • Lower heating costs. Through a skylight, the sun will provide a natural source of light and heat. In colder months, natural heat from a skylight can help to lower heating bills during the daytime.
  • Natural light. As humans, we require sunlight to survive. Skylights will allow sunshine to directly enter a home to provide necessary sun exposure to create vitamin D; natural light can also help to treat individuals with seasonal affective disorder.

When installed properly, there are very few skylight disadvantages to consider. However, if you plan to do this project yourself instead of hiring a professional contractor, skylight leaking is a definite possibility.

If a skylight isn’t sealed properly, it can cause water leakage in heavy rain; an incorrectly installed skylight may also lead to heat loss in a home or business by up to 45% in cold weather. In this instance, a skylight will do more harm than good by increasing instead of lowering heating bills.

After weighing the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision on whether or not skylight installation is right for your property. In a home or business, a tube skylight is a popular rooftop installation that will deliver natural light directly into a building.

Tube skylight installation is fairly simple and can be completed in the following steps:

  1. Cut the opening. Follow skylight manufacturer’s directions carefully to cut and frame the opening for the tube skylight in your roof. Roofing materials must be cut through with a circular saw; a skylight opening can be framed by installing perpendicular header joists in the ceiling.
  2. Attach the skylight. After cutting the skylight opening, use a utility knife to cut roof shingles roughly 3 inches away from the opening on all sides. Place the skylight in the frame and attach to roofing materials with screws or nails.
  3. Apply underlayment. Roofing paper strips can be cut 8 inches wide and fit directly underneath shingles. A pry bar may be necessary to lift roofing nails for thorough application.
  4. Install flashing. In order to seal a skylight against leaks, flashing must be installed around the bottom of the frame and attached with horizontal flashing nails into the skylight. Individual step flashing must be affixed underneath shingles, from the bottom to the top of the skylight. Step flashing pieces should overlap one another by roughly 4 inches and will be fastened directly to the skylight frame.
  5. Finish with solid flashing. To complete skylight waterproofing, solid flashing will be installed directly around the skylight frame with bottom and side pieces. Head flashing at the top of the skylight frame will be attached last of all.