There are a few important components to consider before installing a bathroom or kitchen skylight — including the possibility of moisture leaks, what style skylight will work best for your home, and the best place to have it installed. This blog will cover the ins and outs of incorporating a small or large skylight into your kitchen or bath and how to choose the right style for your home.
Benefits of a Bath or Kitchen Skylight
Before we dive into the five things to consider before determining if a skylight is right for you, let’s take a look at three popular benefits of a bathroom or kitchen skylight.
- Natural light. No one wants to cook in the dark. Adding a skylight can brighten up your kitchen or bathroom on a beautiful day without the use of fluorescents.
- Energy efficiency. Since skylights add more light, these “openings” can decrease the amount you use your interior lights, helping you lower your monthly energy bills and your environmental impact.
- Ventilation. If you opt for a skylight with ventilation, you can take advantage of some natural air conditioning — allowing you to save money and reap the rewards of clean natural air.
Skylights are practical and allow you to breathe new life into your home. Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits, let’s take a look at some of the most important need-to-knows of adding a skylight to your home.
5 Things to Consider Before Installing a Bath or Kitchen Skylight
Skylights can help you enhance your current space and enhance your home’s resale value. But before you choose to move ahead with the investment, there are a few important considerations.
#1 Is Your Roof Right for a Skylight?
From fixed skylights to bubble skylight installation, the placement of your bathroom or kitchen skylight depends largely on where your rafters are located — or where they’re not located. Certain roof materials — like asphalt shingles and metal — are easier to cut through without causing damage or stress to adjacent areas. This doesn’t mean that tile or stone roofs can’t have a skylight, but these materials are more likely to crack or break.
#2 Do You Need a Chase?
A chase is a framed tunnel that transports light from the skylight in a kitchen or bath through your attic space and down to the ceiling below. A chase is typically finished with drywall and paint and can be complex to build. You definitely won’t need a chase if you have a cathedral ceiling, though you may need a contractor to install one if you have a flat ceiling.
#3 Location, Location, Location
The direction of your skylight is important. Generally, north-facing skylights are ideal — as they supply continuous year-round illumination and warmth. As best you can, you should avoid positioning your skylight where your view would be blocked by large trees, buildings, or other objects.
#4 Different Types of Skylights
Depending on what you’re looking for, certain styles of bath or kitchen skylights will suit different needs. It’s also important to keep in mind that each style of skylight provides varying degrees of ventilation and energy performance. Popular styles of skylights include:
- Non-vented skylights. As the name suggests, these skylights don’t provide any added ventilation.
- Passive ventilation skylights. This type of skylight helps regulate the temperature inside by allowing fresh air to pass inside and stale air to come out.
- Dome fan skylights. Commonly found in bathrooms or laundry rooms, this type of skylight runs on electricity and includes a dome fan installed over the top of a non-vented skylight.
- Skylight fans. Like dome fans, these skylights function by a wall switch that operates the fan and pulls air up and out of the room to expel it outside.
- Opening skylights. This type of skylight can be manually or automatically opened and closed. The purpose of this skylight is to offer a more natural airflow throughout your home.
While some types of skylights make more sense than others in certain rooms, it depends on what you want and what your contractor recommends based on your home’s style and roof materials.
#5 Is Your Attic Clear?
If you don’t have an attic, you can skip this section.
Once you know where your skylight will be installed, you’ll want to check the attic for any HVAC, wiring, or plumbing that could get in the way. If your attic contains any HVAC wiring or plumbing, you’ll want to consult your contractor on the best way to move forward before installing your skylight.
Be Sure to Have Your Skylight Fitted
Installing a skylight yourself isn’t the best choice for longevity, as you’ll want to ensure it’s fitted and fully insulated for your property. A trusted contractor will help you select the right skylight for your home, know the ins and outs of framing details for a skylight, and use the correct flashing kit recommended by the manufacturer. This will minimize the chance of leaks and water dripping onto your floor, counters, or appliances.
If you’re looking to install a bathroom or kitchen skylight in a flat ceiling, this process will require more drywall work than a vaulted ceiling. However — as is the case with many components of a bath or kitchen remodel — a contractor can complete this project with relative ease.
Bathroom and Kitchen Skylight Condensation and How to Avoid It
Skylight condensation typically occurs when warm, moist air rises to the ceiling and comes into contact with the colder glass surface of the skylight. The root of skylight condensation is the conversion of vapor into liquid when air pockets become saturated with moisture and are released as water droplets.
Signs of Skylight Condensation
Several tell-tale signs of condensation include:
- Peeling or bubbling wall paint
- Skylight condensation mold or mildew on walls, window seals, and baseboards
- Worsening wall and attic insulation
- Deteriorating floor tiles and furniture
- Wood between outside walls is beginning to rot (affecting structural integrity)
How to Prevent Skylight Condensation
While skylight condensation isn’t uncommon, there are some simple steps you can take to enhance the ventilation of your home and reduce the possibility of condensation:
- Use internal exhaust fans more frequently to expel hot, moist air outside.
- Ensure tumble dryers and gas appliances adequately vent moist, warm air outside.
- Keep window blinds and shades open to encourage warm air to circulate around your windows.
- Open your windows in living or working areas daily for improved air circulation.
- Keep loft vents open, allowing hot air to rise and release it outside rather than settle onto rooflight panes.
The Benefit of Velux Skylights
Skylight fitting, installation, and condensation prevention can sound like a lot of work. Many skylight manufacturers on the market may make the process of finding the right bathroom or kitchen skylight seem overly difficult.
Fortunately, VELUX skylights are a go-to for homeowners looking for unmatched quality and options. Here’s a snapshot of the products you can select, along with a few pertinent details:
- Solar-Powered “Fresh Air” Skylights (eligible for Go Solar). These feature a solar panel that recharges the battery-controlled system via sunlight.
- Electric “Fresh Air” Skylights. You can open and close these with a touch of a button.
- Manual “Fresh Air” Skylights (eligible for Go Solar). These open and close using a turning handle.
- Fixed Skylights (eligible for Go Solar). This style doesn’t open or close.
- SkyMax Skylights. A larger skylight, this style offers double the square footage of a standard skylight, letting more natural light into your home.
- E-Class Skylights (eligible for Go Solar). These have a larger glass area for 46% more daylight than standard skylights. They’re also easy to install out of the box.
- Sun Tunnel® Skylights (eligible for Go Solar). These fit between rafters and other attic obstructions. They also offer a reflective tunnel to channel sunshine from your roof to your ceiling.
- Flat Roof Skylights (eligible for Go Solar). These are designed for homes with flat or low-pitch roofs. You can choose from roof access and Sun Tunnel® styles.
- Roof Windows. These in-reach windows open manually to maximize airflow and natural daylight. The Roof Access style offers easy access for repairs, maintenance, and egress, and the CABRIO™ style transforms from a roof window to a balcony in seconds.
- Architectural Skylights. Lightweight and capable of spanning up to 40’ wide, this type has insulated panels to help control heat gain and loss in all types of weather. Modular options that don’t require rafting or beams for support are available.
Finding the Right Contractor for Skylight Installation
Always be sure to partner with a licensed contractor. A trusted skylight contractor with the necessary qualifications will be up to date on your neighborhood’s building codes and required permits. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions and get to know your contractor — every good contractor is excited to get to know you and what you hope to get out of the project.
At J&L, we help partner our customers with trusted contractors and top brands like Velux. Contact us to learn more and get your project started.