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What’s a Skylight? Types, Costs, Uses, & More

What’s a Skylight? Types, Costs, Uses, & More

A skylight is simply a window integrated into your roof. It may feed light from a tunnel into your home, or you may be able to look directly into the sky above. They add dramatic touches of class, depth, and light to homes and businesses.

Types of Skylights

There are multiple options when it comes to functionality, shape, and materials. Glazing material options are generally limited to plastic or glass.

Plastic or acrylic: it’s the cheapest material to use as glazing, but it can develop discoloration over time. Depending on the quality of the plastic, the view may be slightly distorted and wavy. There are coatings available to prevent this from happening.
Glass: durable and aesthetically attractive for a longer period of time. They’re more expensive than plastic. Contrary to popular thought, glass skylights can endure for decades without breaking.


A fixed skylight is simply one that does not open. They’re generally deemed easier to install, dependably watertight (even by relatively inexperienced installers), and economical in upfront costs due to their simplicity.


Vented skylights can be nice for rooms that experience moisture, like a bathroom or a kitchen. They open and allow fresh air to come into the home. The opening and closing function can be remote or app-controlled – and even automated based on time of day. This electronic function can also be solar-powered.

Sun tunnels

A sun tunnel (or “tubular” skylight) works by capturing skylight into an acrylic dome on top of your roof. It feeds the light through a reflective tunnel, and finally through a window into the interior or your home. If, for instance, a bathroom is located in the middle of a house with six feet of attic space above it, a sun tunnel would provide calming daylight.

Sun tunnels enable you to channel in natural light to rooms where it would otherwise be impossible to do so.

What Happens When Skylights are Installed Improperly?

Until it rains, you may not be aware of an improperly-installed skylight. When they aren’t as watertight as they should be, there may be:

  • Mold within the skylight fixture
  • Damage to roof decking
  • Mold, mildew, and warping along the truss
  • Paint damage

When incorrect flashing is used, which seals the edges of the skylights, water is invited in. The light may have been installed at a slightly different angle than the roof slope. Weep holes, which are implemented to allow condensation on the inside of the glass to escape to the outside air, can become clogged. Finally, if you need a skylight repair, simply replacing the glass is often not a complete solution.

How Much Do Skylights Cost?

These cost factors will have a significant weight on the cost of your skylight project.

Less expensive
Plastic glazing
Fixed functionality
No automatic blinds or shades
Unlicensed roofing installer
Smaller brand names
More expensive
Glass glazing
Ventilated functionality
Automatic blinds and shades
Licensed roofing installer
Larger brand names

Be aware that some interior drywall and painting work will likely be necessary after the installation of your skylight. After all is said and done, you may be looking at paying a couple thousand dollars for a simple skylight with professional installation.

Ready to Brighten Your Home with Natural Lighting?

RoofCrafters are licensed, insured, and trusted by families and businesses all across central Texas. You can rest assured that any skylight project will be watertight while making a beautiful difference to your home.

Get in touch with a project planner today!

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