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HomeHomes
Published: Friday, 4/24/2009

Window, Roof Window, and Skylight Selection Basics

(ARA) - Homeowners are sometimes reluctant to cut a hole in a perfectly good roof. They don't question cutting dozens of holes in the walls for windows and doors, and more holes in the roof for chimneys, ventilation fans or plumbing vent pipes. So what's so scary about a hole for a skylight?

According to Joe Patrick, senior product manager with VELUX America, the primary concern homeowners express about skylights is a fear of leaks.

"That was sometimes a valid concern with older, poorly made or improperly installed skylights," Patrick says, "but modern skylights with pre-engineered flashing kits from leading manufacturers, just like quality windows and exterior doors, are totally dependable when properly installed."

And just what's the difference in a window, a roof window, and a skylight? There are many different types and styles of windows but they are all installed in, and parallel to, walls.

Skylights are pretty much windows by another name that are installed on, and parallel to, roofs. They can be flashed as dependably as anything else that goes on a roof. Some of them are fixed (don't open) while others vent inside air through interior vent flaps or by opening slightly.

Roof windows are venting units, designed for in-reach applications, which open wider, as much as 45 degrees, for additional ventilation or emergency egress. They also have a sash that flips around so the outside glass can be cleaned from the inside.

Another important similarity between windows, roof windows, and skylights is in the glazing, or how the glass is manufactured. Patrick says that skylight glazing technology is among the best in the industry. "Quality units control heat gain or loss, filter the sun's fade-causing rays, and resist condensation," he says.

Independent research done in Denmark shows that skylights admit 30 percent more light than vertical windows in dormers, while providing the drama of a sky view that can't be achieved with vertical windows.

And skylights offer some decidedly high-tech features. Electric venting models are available with remote control, blinds, shades, awnings, insect screening and automatic rain sensors. And skylights are available with glass that can be tinted electronically by remote control while still providing the view of the sky.

"From an economic standpoint," Patrick points out, "venting skylights admit natural light from above and reduce energy costs. It's also a way to stretch dollars," Patrick says, "with a one-time purchase that pays long-term benefits by reducing energy bills."

According to Patrick, more natural light and ventilation can provide benefits in many areas of the home but some rooms lend themselves particularly well to venting skylights. "In bathrooms," Patrick says, "they provide privacy, reduce condensation build-up, and provide a sky view. In kitchens, they release hot air and odors while providing more balanced light for brighter days and more pleasant cooking and dining."

For skylight selection literature call (800) 283-2831 or visit veluxusa.com. For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit energystar.gov, and for independent agency information visit nfrc.org. or efficientwindows.org.

Courtesy of ARAcontent



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