Looking up at a gorgeous blue sky from inside your home is an inspiring feeling. However, picking the ideal rooflights to highlight that view can be difficult if you have no experience. With so many sizes, shapes, materials, and features to consider, it’s crucial to make the right decisions to maximize sunlight, aesthetic appeal, and functionality in your space.
This article will be your skylight selection guidebook. We will walk through essential factors from optimal sizing to design cohesion to energy efficiency. You will learn insider tips to harmony rooflight form and function with your architecture. Follow our illuminated path to finally select those dream skylights gazing up at your own slice of heaven.
How To Choose The Right Size And Style Of Rooflights?
Choosing the correctly sized rooflights is very important for maximizing sunlight, views, and aesthetic appeal. Consider these factors when determining size:
Assess the Room and Roof Size
Measure the interior room dimensions where you want light. Check the available roof space for potential rooflight locations. The optimal rooflight size is around 10-15% of the total floor area. Avoid excessively large or small rooflights. Oversized units can look awkward and dominate the room. Undersized ones don’t provide enough light.
Consider Lighting Needs and Sun Patterns
South-facing rooflights get the most sun exposure. North-facing ones receive indirect light. More than one rooflight may be needed for large, irregularly shaped rooms. In east/west facing roofs, low morning/afternoon sun angles can cause glare – opt for smaller units or integrate shading elements.
Complement the Building Design
Proportion the rooflights to harmonize with the overall roof size and shape. One medium rooflight might appear more attractive on a tiny roof than many small ones. Avoid rooflights that overwhelm or look oddly sized compared to roofing. Roof angles, ceiling heights, and layouts also impact optimal rooflight size.
Rooflight Styles and Shapes
Beyond determining the right size, selecting a style and shape that complements your home’s architecture is also important. Consider these common rooflight types:
Flat Glass Rooflights
These rooflights consist of a flat, double glazed glass unit that is installed flush with the roofline.
- Simple and streamlined look
- Minimal light refraction
- Low profile design preserves the aesthetics of the roof
- Can appear modern or industrial, so consider the visual fit with your home’s architecture
- Larger sizes may be heavy and require appropriate support
Best For: Contemporary homes and areas where a low-profile roof design is desired.
Dome skylights are glass domes installed onto roof curbs, providing additional height for better light diffusion.
- Soften and evenly distribute sunlight throughout the space
- Curb mounting raises the unit, improving views and ventilation
- Curb-mounted types project above the roof, which may affect the exterior aesthetics, so consider this in your design
Best For: Traditional architecture and spaces where ample natural lighting is needed, such as bathrooms and confined areas.
Tubular skylights consist of roof domes that capture sunlight, channeled through reflective tubes, and direct it into interior spaces.
- Low profile design minimizes exterior impact
- Effectively directs sunlight deep into rooms
- Provide less ventilation compared to operable units
- Light spread can be limited, so consider your specific lighting needs
Best For: Attics, hallways, and interior rooms where natural light is needed but external aesthetics are a concern.
Pyramid rooflights are triangular, north-facing rooflights installed in pitched ceilings, offering high and angled light diffusion.
- Suitable for various roof angles, with the option for glazing on one or both sides
- Evenly distributes light, providing a balanced illumination
- Large units may appear distracting on certain roof designs, so ensure they complement your architecture
Best For: North-facing attic conversions and remodels, particularly when paired with dormer windows.
Consider the style that best matches your architecture and lighting needs when choosing rooflights. Irregularly shaped rooflights are also possible for specialized applications.
Key Rooflight Materials
Rooflights come in a range of materials – from glass to plastics to composites. Key options include:
- Most traditional rooflight material
- Durable, long-lasting transparency
- Heavier than plastic options
- Can be annealed, tempered, laminated for security
- Heat-reflective coatings help manage solar gain
- Lightweight plastic material
- Resistant to weather and UV light degradation
- It can be molded into domed and curved shapes
- Less prone to cracking than glass
- Available in transparent or translucent
- Strong, impact-resistant plastic
- Excellent transparency and insulation value
- Withstands extreme temperatures
- Lighter than glass options
- Filters UV rays, when coated
- Composite material made of molded glass and plastic fibers
- Lightweight yet durable and weather-resistant
- Available transparent, translucent, or opaque
- Can mimic profiles of wood and metal rooflights
Other Rooflight Considerations
Beyond size, style, and materials, several other factors should guide your rooflight selection:
|Glazing Options||Low-E coatings reduce heat/glare while letting light through. Tints/frosted glass provides privacy. Double/triple glazing enhances insulation.|
|Ventilation||Operable windows allow rooflights to provide light, views AND ventilation. Manual and motorized openings available.|
|Shading||Minimize glare and heat gain with integrated shades, tints, exterior overhangs or screening.|
|Energy Efficiency||Select rooflights with insulated frames and thermally broken construction to prevent condensation and reduce energy costs.|
|Installation Type||Curb-mounted or self-flashed rooflights suit different roofing types. Get professional guidance on proper integration with your roofing.|
|Safety Features||Options like laminated/tempered glass, fall protection grilles, and child safety restrictions improve rooflight safety.|
Hire a Rooflight Installation Professional
Proper rooflight installation is crucial for weather tightness, performance and safety. Here are tips for hiring the right installation pro:
- Look for extensive rooflight specific training and manufacturer certifications – this expertise is a must!
- Ensure they have extensive experience with your particular roofing type and rooflight styles.
- Ask about their safety practices, credentials, and building code compliance records.
- Request references from recent rooflight clients – verify quality of work!
- Get multiple quotes to assess fair pricing – consider value as well as cost.
- Opt for a company that provides all services in-house – from specified to installation.
Selecting well-suited rooflights requires carefully weighing factors from dimensions to styles to materials and features. If you understand optimal sizing, design integration, sunlight needs, and efficiency considerations covered here, you can make informed choices for your unique space. With the right rooflights installed properly, you’ll enjoy beautiful, natural light and stunning views overhead for years to come.