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Are skylights luxury household items? Should roofs have windows in them? Some people think about them as “money out the window”, while the truth is, these windows are almost a necessity for homes that receive limited natural light.

Roofs and windows

Detroit roofing businesses and roofing contractors, in general, are well aware of the advantages and drawbacks of having or installing a skylight and in this article, we will discuss these.

First, you should think of it as if it is the same as other windows in your house. The main difference is that it’s not vertically positioned.

Skylights can be flat or domed, fixed or vented. The vented ones are basically like casement windows for roofs. Some of them are operated by an electric motor, while others are manual.

It’s crucial that skylights are more durable than ordinary windows, since roofs may have things fall on them, skylights have to withstand impact.

roof with a skylight and solar panel in Detroit

How are Skylights Installed

There are many advantages to having a skylight. Installing a skylight is something you, a window company or a contractor can do. If you opt to do it, you have to be confident with basic carpentry, shingling, window installation, drywall work, and painting. You can easily make a DIY project out of it. But if you aren’t that handy or crafty with these things, it’s advisable to get professional help.

If you go with a window company, chances are, that most window-only companies will do just that: the window only. They will need the frame to be cut out in advance to install your skylight.

Contractors will do everything from framing out to installing the window and usually for a better price than window companies.

Fixed Skylights or Vented Skylights?

A fixed skylight is a window on your roof you cannot open while a vented skylight can be opened. The first one is theoretically considered leak-proof. At least, when it’s been installed correctly. Vented skylights provide opportunities for leakage, although window manufacturers have produced virtually leak-proof vented skylights in recent years. These can be accidentally left open, allowing rain to enter the house. The solution, automatically closing models that will close at the first drop of rain, are available.

Vented skylights also allow excess moisture in kitchens and bathrooms to escape also venting out heat build-up.

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When to install a skylight and other questions

While it is always preferable to install skylights during dry and warm months, contractors and other companies offering this service should finish installing within a day or two. However, if you want to do it yourself, it is better to wait until the warmest and driest months in the year.

As far as positioning goes, skylights can be positioned anywhere on the roof, but roof slope must be taken into consideration. Positioning for maximum light can also be important. You will want to have a clear, open space around your intended skylight area, keeping in mind tall structures, chimneys or trees.

Most skylights are pretty sturdy and strong enough to withstand impact to some degree. They are either made of tempered glass or laminated glass. When struck, tempered glass shatters into thousands of smooth pebbles, while laminated glass is plastic attached to the glass. When the latter breaks, it still stays together. But yes, both will still break when hit hard enough.

skylight on roof


It is evident that skylights come with their own advantages and drawbacks. Vented models help with air circulation, and all models will make your home brighter. They break if hit hard enough and cheaper vented models tend to leak. If you are thinking about installing a skylight, make sure to use only the best materials and to hire a reputable team of professionals to assist you. If you have any other questions or need help, don’t hesitate to call us!