What are Skylights?
Skylights are glass panels usually situated on the ceiling of a home or building. The intention of installing these window type panels is to provide maximum illumination to a room. They also work really well in restaurants and hotels to give a furnished and elegant look to the place. As opposed to the skylights that are on the sides of a conventional slanting roof, skylights that are overheard offer illumination to a larger part of the room. This is, of course, dependant on the position of the sun at the time.
What Are The Advantages Of Having Skylights?
The primary benefit of having skylights is that it is an extremely powerful light source. Additionally, skylights as an architectural feature provide a lot of appeal to the public eye. They provide a good view of the outside give off a sense of class. They work best in large rooms. The bigger the room, the less the glare. Something that is overlooked quite often is that houses and buildings that are covered on all sides by other structures may only have skylights as a source of natural sunlight.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Having Skylights?
If not planned well in advance, skylights can be a double-edged sword. The two primary reasons why people have reservations with skylights, despite their looks and the ability to provide a sense of grandeur, is that they add a lot of heat to the room during summers and also cause loss of heat during the winter. In order to make up for this undesirable heat loss or gain (depending on the season), people end up spending a decent amount of money on artificial heating or cooling. This might be considered as an incidental operational cost for hotels, restaurants and other public places, but can become impractical for homes and smaller public places.
Do The Benefits Of Skylights Outweigh Its Disadvantages or Vice-versa?
Whether skylights are desirable or not depends on how much it can cost to make up for the glare and the heat loss or gain. But, if planned for ahead of time, skylights can be a brilliant asset to a house or building that increases the aesthetic and physical value of the property immensely. The best way to minimize all the undesirable aspects of skylights is to have the ability to cover them at the whims and fancies of the owner and that it should not be a long drawn and tedious process so as to discourage them from exerting laborious effort.
What Are the Best Ways in Which Skylights Can be Covered?
• Sloping curtains or shades – The conventional shades that run vertically on windows mounted on walls will not work for skylights. Conventional curtains will just hang off the rod without accounting for the slant of the roof on which the skylight is mounted. Curtain and shade producers have tackled this problem by specifically catering to their products to help adapt to slanting roofs. It might worry some if the roof is too high from the floor and it might be difficult to draw the blinds whenever they want. However, after the installation of the blinds (which is probably the only difficult part), the rest is fairly simple. These sloping shades come with their own hand cranks which can be extended based on the required length. They can also be fuelled by stern wiring or batteries with remote control systems, easing the effort on the user to use them. Sloping curtains come in a lot of varieties and sizes. Once the dimension of the skylight is figured out, it is only a matter of time before the decision to choose the right blind comes. How heavy the curtain should be and the level of darkness it has must be chosen as well. Venetian blinds are amongst the recommended list of sloping blinds.
• Covering the ceiling – The obvious issue with the sloping curtains is that it only caters to skylights mounted on slanting roofs. Sloping curtains and blinds cannot solve the glare and heat loss or gain problem if the skylight in question is directly overhead. The simplest workaround for covering the ceiling in such scenarios is to cover it by hanging a curtain in front of the skylight. Thick curtains can be used, supported by curtain rods on either end of the walls under the ceiling. The heavier the curtain, the better. Since the most important thing a person will be sacrificing by doing this is the view, the designs that the curtains have can be given attention to. That way, when anyone faces the curtain while lying down underneath it, the design of the curtain will be a pleasant sight. For example, starry night designs and floral patterns can work well.
• Insulation panels – Installation of insulation panels are a long-term solution that one must take if they live in places with extended and extremely cold winter seasons. Although blinds and curtains help to trap the heat during these times, the most effective solution is to install insulation panels into the interior frame of the skylight. It might seem at first that this might be a tedious and long step. However, it can be done as a home domestic project. Kits are even available at hardware stores. It can be a fun experiment to work on as a family. But if there are time constraints and a sense of urgency, professional help can be sought.
Installation of the insulation panels will completely block out the sunlight as well as save money spent on energy in heating up homes during the winter.
• Using reflective films –There are thick adhesive and plastic films that can be imposed upon windows to assist in minimizing the glare and ultraviolet rays from the sunlight. However, it is extremely important to note that using reflective films can be counterintuitive. For example, if a skylight is made out of plastic or polycarbonate, the imposition of a reflective or adhesive film may compromise the quality of the skylight, causing it to depreciate in value sooner than it would normally take place. As a result, the maintenance cost of the skylights increases by a decent extent, On the other hand, if the skylight is made out of glass, the excess heat that the adhesive films attract can cause the glass to break down or crack.
A decision to use reflective films must be made only after having taken the informed opinion of the manufacturer. Manufacturers are aware of the strength and quality of their materials and should be able to help the owner decide accordingly. This step is of utmost pertinence.
Covering skylights on occasion can save indoor potted plants from harmful UV rays. It is also common knowledge that furniture can get damaged due to overexposure to sunlight. Added to these problems the glare caused can make it an uncomfortable living situation for most people. The most important aspect of covering skylights is that it helps do away with excess heat during the summer and traps heat during the winter. It is not only a natural method of temperature regulation but also helps in energy efficiency and saving money.