Much as a roof skylight’s primary purpose is to let more natural sunlight into a home, it also gives a home that premium luxury, comfort and quality touch. Simon Peter Kazibwe, from Royal Architects describes a skylight simply as a window on your roof.
“In this particular plan, I placed the skylight above the foyer so the natural sunlight can reach the living room, dining room and kitchen making these spaces more attractive, healthier and more enjoyable,” Kazibwe explains. And to minimise the challenges involved in introducing a skylight Kazibwe says he incorporated it as a dome on top of the circular roof.
Considerations for buying a skylight
One of the major considerations while buying a skylight is the positioning for maximum lighting but minimal heat. “Skylights look very nice and can improve the aesthetics of the spaces they are placed in but here in the tropics one has to be careful with where they place them,” Charity Mugasha, an architect, cautions. She further ellaborates that skylights are popular in places that experience winter where people want to maximise the heat and sunlight. “Here in Uganda right on the equator line, a poorly positioned skylight would be more like trapping the midday sun and heat into your home,” she adds.
She, however, says that clever positioning of the skylight can help solve this challenge.
“Instead of placing it directly on top of the roof, one can look for corners and angles that receive less sunlight and position the skylight there,” Mugasha advises.
Senyonjo Rashid of Hil-consult cautions against installing a skylight on a flat roof. “Skylights can be positioned anywhere on the ceiling. But the best position should be one that is slightly slanting. Also, consider the material to be used as the metallic ones are easily affected by weather elements of contraction and expansion which will eventually extend to the roof thus weakening it eventually.” He suggests the use of translucent fabric which is gentle on the roof.
The other aspect to consider is how the internal finish of a property could be integrated with a skylight. It is always wise, if possible, to have an opening skylight so that it can perform the function of not only allowing natural light but also adding ventilation or access.
Make right choice
Since skylights are not something that should not be installed and uninstalled, the homeowner should make up their mind about size. If you choose the wrong type of skylight for your space, it could either be too small and not function correctly or too large with air escaping or rain leakage. The opening in the roof and ceiling must be sealed off properly to avoid leakages that can further damage the roof.
Senyonjo considers installation of a skylight a pricy venture. “First of all, prices vary according to complexity and size. Secondly since every house or apartment is constructed differently, no two projects will be the same or incur the same expenses and lastly the size of your skylights, the height of your roof and the number of skylights you want installed will determine the overall cost,” he adds.
There are three main types of skylights. Ventilating skylights are those that can be opened and are best for kitchens or bathrooms, where they help remove excess moisture and keep a steady flow of air. They can be operated by a remote control, a manual or motorised hand crank, or by sensor-controlled thermostat. These are the most expensive type.
Tubular skylights are the newest type on the market. They are small, circular-shaped skylights typically installed in small rooms, hallways and closets. They are normally 10” or 14” in diameter. Tubular skylights can significantly decrease your energy costs by eliminating the need for electric lights during the daytime.
TYPES OF SKYLIGHTS
There are many types of skylights depending upon the materials, type of use, types of roof and room type. Some types of skylights are discussed below.
• Fixed skylight
•Dome acrylic skylight
•Barrel vault skylight
This is the most popular type of skylights are fixed skylights. These type of skylights doesn’t open for air ventilation. They are completely sealed to the roof.