How Much Does Skylight Installation Cost?
Need more natural light or air circulation? A skylight is the perfect solution. Skylight installation cost ranges from $1,021 to $2,739, with a national average of $1,860.
- The cost to install a skylight typically falls between $1,021 and $2,739, with a national average cost of $1,860.
- The main factors that affect the cost of skylight installation include the type, size, shape, and brand of the skylight; the type of roof; the window frame and glazing materials; the installation style; the accessibility of the installation location; and the local cost of labor.
- Skylight installation offers many benefits, such as more natural light and passive heat, better ventilation, and a potential increase to home value.
- Because skylight installation needs to be precise to avoid structural damage or leaking around the window, it’s best for homeowners to leave this project to an experienced professional.
Sometimes there’s a room in a house that just needs a little more light because the existing windows aren’t cutting it. Or perhaps a finished attic feels stuffy and needs better airflow. Both of these scenarios and many, many more could be solved by installing a skylight on the roof. According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, skylight installation cost is usually between $1,021 and $2,739 with a national average cost of $1,860.
Skylights offer a view of the sky or treetops, bring in natural light, and sometimes even allow fresh air to enter a home. There are hundreds of skylight types, shapes, and sizes to choose from that all affect the cost of the project. As skylights become larger and more customized, they take more effort to install, which translates to increased costs.
Before getting started on a skylight installation project, homeowners will want to be sure they fully understand all their options and know how to hire a qualified professional.
Factors in Calculating Skylight Installation Cost
Whether a homeowner is adding a new skylight or replacing an old one, the following factors tend to determine the overall skylight installation cost. Major factors focus on the skylight itself, like the type, size, and shape, but the installation process also determines the price.
The cost of skylight installation depends on the type being installed, as some are more complicated than others. A fixed skylight that does not open costs between $150 and $1,500. This is less than a ventilated skylight that does open, which costs between $300 and $2,500 due to the extra installation effort required. Other types of skylights, like flat-roof and dome, also cost more than a fixed skylight due to the added features and installation requirements. For example, a flat-roof skylight is specifically made for flat roofs and costs $250 to $2,000. A dome skylight has a rounded surface that sheds water well and plays into a certain aesthetic. It costs $250 to $3,000.
Just as the cost of a window or door increases with the size, so does the cost of a skylight. For example, a 16- by 24-inch standard skylight costs between $200 and $700, while a 24- by 32-inch one costs between $300 and $1,200. A 48- by 48-inch skylight costs $1,100 to $3,500. The increasing cost is due to the extra material and installation effort as the skylight size increases; however, the increased natural light or air circulation is usually worth the added expense. Homeowners can consult a skylight expert to determine the correct size for their home. If a skylight is too small, the home could end up missing out on valuable natural light. Conversely, if it’s too big, it might end up overheating a room as more sunlight than desired seeps in.
Skylights are most often square or rectangular, but other shapes are also readily available. A skylight in a standard shape costs between $150 to $2,000 and is the most affordable. A circular skylight costs $400 to $1,000, a triangular or pyramid shape $500 to $3,000, and an oval $600 to $2,500. Not every skylight shape is capable of ventilation, so homeowners will want to be sure to consider functionality before moving forward with their selection of a particular skylight shape. A custom skylight can be made in almost any shape. Often commercial facilities or historic homes require custom skylights to replace an existing one in kind. Custom skylights usually cost $1,500 to $5,000.
The pitch of a roof and the roofing material also play a role in skylight installation cost. Skylights are intended to be installed on sloped roofs so water drains away; therefore, installing a skylight on a flat roof requires a little more work to get the proper drainage. Additionally, the process is more complicated when contractors are working with tiled or slate roofs. A skylight can be installed fairly easily in an asphalt shingle or metal roof but needs to be carefully tied into a tiled roof. Installation for a skylight in either one of these scenarios costs $250 to $2,000.
The frame around a skylight is usually vinyl, metal, or wood. The material can be chosen to match the other windows on a home or to fit a budget or meet durability requirements. Vinyl-framed skylights cost between $150 and $1,000. Vinyl is the most affordable frame option but not always the most durable or long lasting. The material is known to crack in cold temperatures and warp in warm temperatures. If the home is located in an area with extreme weather conditions, then a vinyl skylight frame might not be the best choice. Skylights with metal framing cost between $200 and $1,500. They last a little longer than vinyl and are usually aluminum or steel. The metal can heat up quickly, which will add to the heat a skylight absorbs in warm climates. There is very little maintenance involved with metal frames. Wood framing is the most expensive option at $300 to $2,500. This type is usually chosen for the natural wood look, but it does require more upkeep than the others—homeowners will need to plan to repaint or restain every few years. The wood itself is a good insulator and resists thermal transfer.
The glazing for a skylight also has three standard options: acrylic, tempered glass, and double-pane glass. Acrylic is the cheapest route at $150 to $1,000 per skylight. The material does discolor over time, which can fog the view out of the skylight. A tempered glass skylight costs $200 to $1,500 and is a good balance between affordability and durability. Double-pane glass skylights cost $300 to $3,500 and are much more energy efficient than other options, as their double glass panes minimize heat transfer. In addition to the glazing used, skylights can receive various coatings to improve energy efficiency or block out sunlight. Adding a low-e (low-emissivity) coating, which blocks harmful UV rays, costs between $100 and $250. Tinting the glazing to a darker color for $100 to $400 can also improve energy efficiency.
Skylights can be curb mounted or deck mounted to a roof. A curb mount skylight, the standard type of mounting, costs $820 on average. The skylight protrudes from the roof surface, creating a raised curb around the edges that is more noticeable. Deck mounting offers a more seamless look, as the skylight is mounted flush with the roof surface; on average, a deck mount runs $1,320. The production and installation process with a deck-mounted skylight is a little more involved. Installation takes longer, and sometimes the skylight has to be fabricated on-site so that it perfectly fits the opening. For these reasons, a deck mount skylight is more expensive.
There are a few key players that dominate the skylight production market: Sun-Tek, Velux, and Fakro. Most homeowners end up purchasing their skylights from one of these three skylight brands. Sun-Tek skylights are usually the most affordable with basic offerings that cost between $125 and $1,000. Although the selection is somewhat limited, it includes all of the standard skylight sizes that most homeowners need. Velux skylights cost a little more at $350 to $2,000. They have plenty to choose from and a reputation for high quality. Velux extends a “no leak” skylight warranty to its customers—assuming the skylight is installed correctly, the company will cover the replacement for up to 10 years. Last but not least, Fakro skylights are a little higher-end and cost $500 to $3,000. These products are sturdy and reliable, and Fakro has a wide selection available.
Installing a skylight can usually be done in a day. The installation cost starts at about $300 and quickly increases from there as the job gets more complicated. Labor to install a simple, tubular skylight can be as low as $300 to $400, while labor to install a flat-roof skylight can be as high as $1,800 to $2,500. If the skylight being installed requires attachment to electrical power or a solar grid, homeowners will need to add another $250 to the labor cost to install skylight windows. There are quite a few steps that take place during a skylight installation. First, the opening has to be precisely cut. Then, the skylight is placed in the opening and roof flashing is installed. The skylight is then sealed and finished on both the inside and outside surfaces. This job requires patience and precision to avoid any water intrusion that might lead to costly water damage.
How easy or difficult a skylight location is to access is a factor in the overall price. The skylight opening will need to be accessed from both inside and outside the home. A roof with a steep slope can be hard to work on, and an out-of-reach spot, like in an attic or on a tall ceiling, will require extra effort during installation. Expect the skylight installer to include a cost for difficult accessibility within the total project cost. If scaffolding or a power lift is required, the cost to bring this equipment on-site will also be included.
Labor and material costs vary significantly from region to region. While the average cost to install a skylight is $1,800, this amount increases to $2,400 in New York and decreases to $900 in Florida. Places like Colorado and Virginia have pricing similar to the average cost at $1,870 and $1,760, respectively. Consider how factors like sales tax and supply chains normally affect your local purchases, as they will likely affect your skylight installation cost as well.
Additional Costs and Considerations
In addition to the above factors, there are a few more items to consider when thinking about how to choose a skylight as well as how to budget for the project. Consider the specific project and how these scenarios may affect the total cost.
Installing a skylight almost always requires a building permit, as it requires a significant modification to a structure. The cost for a permit can be in excess of $500, depending on the extent of the project. In addition to needing a building permit, homeowners might also need an electrical or mechanical permit if the skylight involves attaching to or modifying these existing systems. Homeowners can work with the skylight installer or roofing company they hire to determine what permits are necessary.
Skylights can be customized in a variety of ways. From specific sizes to certain finishes, if a homeowner can dream it, it can likely be done. But the customization comes at a cost. Custom skylights start at $1,500 and can exceed $5,000, with an average cost of $3,200. Some homeowners are forced into purchasing a custom skylight due to the unique features of their homes. It’s important to note that the labor cost to install the skylight will be higher as well.
Ventilated skylights that open and close often use electrical power to do so. Whether through a remote control or a mounted keypad, this electrical wiring work will add $75 to $300 to the total project cost. Homeowners will likely need to hire an electrician separately from the roof skylight installation company.
Existing Roof vs. New Build
Skylight window installation is usually more difficult in an existing roof than in a new build. When building a new home from scratch, the contractor can plan to cut the opening for the skylight in advance and ensure each roofing layer is properly installed beside it. When adding a skylight to an existing home, the installer has to be a little more careful with cutting the roof, watching out for utilities, and tying in the existing roofing system. For this reason, skylight installation usually costs more for an existing roof than a new one.
Commercial vs. Residential
Most often, installing a skylight on a commercial building is more expensive than on a residential one. A commercial skylight installation costs between $1,000 and $4,000, while a residential skylight installation costs between $500 and $3,000. The difference is usually due to the differences in each building’s roof structure and the product chosen. Commercial buildings tend to have complex roofs that are more difficult to modify, and many businesses require safety and energy-efficient glass, which costs more.
Roof Window vs. Skylight
There is actually a difference between a roof window and a skylight. A skylight is either fixed or can open, but usually just a few inches. A roof window can be fully opened like an awning-style window. Roof windows are typically only used on new build houses because they have to be installed at a precise 15-degree angle. Skylights are more adaptable and can be retrofitted into existing roofs on almost any pitch. There are fewer roof windows available on the market, and many homeowners don’t realize they exist. For these reasons, skylights remain more popular. Both windows are installed using the same procedures so tend to have the same costs.
Installation Costs by Type of Skylight
The cost to install a skylight depends on the exact type. Skylights offer various functionality and aesthetic value, which contribute to a difference in price for the product and installation.
Fixed skylights are the most basic type of skylight and mimic a picture window placed in the roof. For $150 to $1,500, a fixed skylight is the least expensive, as it offers limited functionality and does not open or close. This makes it good for extra light but not for ventilation. In a bathroom or a room that tends to get hot in the summertime, a fixed skylight is probably not the best option; however, in a cold environment, the skylight can passively heat a room. In most cases, fixed skylights are chosen for the added natural light.
Ventilated skylights cost between $300 and $2,500. Unlike fixed skylights, these skylights are operable. They can open and close to allow fresh air to circulate in or damp air to vent out. Ventilated skylights can be opened manually with a crank or electronically with a remote control or keypad—the electronic option costs more due to the added wiring. There are also solar-powered ventilated skylights that use solar energy to operate and therefore do not have to be hardwired. If a ventilated skylight can be easily accessed, a manual crack style will work perfectly. Ventilated skylights located in hard-to-reach areas will need remote operation.
Tubular skylights are tubes that bring extra sunlight into a room. For $450 to $1,300, these skylights end up looking similar to recessed lighting and are usually installed in pairs or groups. Reflective piping inside the tubes captures sunlight and sends a bright beam of light into a home. Tubular skylights are best for rooms that just need a little additional light during the day—they are not as effective in large rooms. They also do not offer a view outside as larger skylights do.
A flat-roof skylight costs between $250 and $2,000. These skylights are manufactured specifically to be installed on flat roofs. Traditionally, skylights are installed on sloped roofs so that water drains off the surface and does not leak through the skylight frame or pool on top of the skylight. Flat-roof skylights typically have sloped glazing, either in a dome or pyramidlike shape, that helps water drain off the surface. Flat-roof skylights can be either fixed or ventilated and are often custom made to an exact size and shape.
Dome skylights can look like a portal in a roof and cost from $250 to $3,000. Most often, dome skylights are chosen for an aesthetic purpose, as the dome top looks modern or contemporary. In addition to providing a certain aesthetic, the bubble allows water to drain from the surface and down the roof structure. Dome skylights can be either fixed or ventilated. The glazing is usually made from acrylic plastic, as glass glazing in a rounded shape is difficult to manufacture, install, and maintain.
Benefits of Installing a Skylight
There are many pros and cons of skylights that homeowners will want to consider, as adding one to a roof is a significant undertaking. Below are the benefits homeowners can expect to see when installing a skylight.
More Natural Light
Added natural light is the main appeal for most homeowners when installing a skylight. More natural light can boost moods and improve conditions for daytime cooking or working. Skylights are especially useful for increased light in rooms that do not have an exterior wall where a window could be installed, like an interior bathroom or closet.
More Passive Heat
Skylights that get lots of sun exposure will passively heat a home. While this might sound like a negative feature in a warmer climate, it is certainly a benefit in cooler climates. The passive heat will keep spaces warmer in the winter months and contribute to improved energy efficiency.
Decreased Energy Costs
The passive heating through a skylight that helps keep a house warmer in the winter also helps reduce energy costs. In addition to providing some heat in the winter, a ventilated skylight can help circulate air through a space and cool it down in the summer. Both of these features decrease energy costs and the strain on HVAC systems.
A ventilated skylight that can be opened and closed provides air circulation throughout a space. This feature is essential in rooms with excess moisture or humidity. Cross ventilation through a skylight will bring in fresh air and can keep a room cool without the need for air conditioning.
Potentially Increased Home Value
The many benefits of installing a skylight contribute to a potential increase in a home’s value. A buyer may place importance on the increased natural light, access to fresh air, or reduced energy costs, which translates to a higher purchase price at the sale of a home.
Skylight Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
There is a lot at stake when it comes to installing a skylight. Unless a homeowner has prior experience with installing windows and roofing, this task is best left to the professionals, such as one of the best roofing companies. The process of installing a skylight requires working on a roof, which can be dangerous for those who are not used to this type of work and don’t have the proper safety equipment.
Additionally, skylights must be watertight. If they are not, there’s a higher risk of water leaking into the home and causing lasting damage. A professional skylight installer will know all the proper steps on how to install a skylight, like setting the frame, flashing the roof, installing the rubber gasket, and caulking the seal. Homeowners will also likely receive an installation warranty from the installer, so they can rest assured that the work was done right and will be fixed if any issues arise. It’s also important to note that, depending on the manufacturer, the warranty might be voided if the skylight is installed by someone other than a window professional.
How to Save Money on Skylight Installation Cost
The cost to install a skylight can be steep, though the benefits are many. The following tips may help homeowners save money on skylight installation or skylight replacement cost.
- Opt for lasting materials. Choose skylight glazing and framing materials that will last a long time. Doing so will reduce how often the skylight will need to be replaced. While choosing durable materials might be a higher upfront cost, it will be a good investment down the road.
- Repair only what is necessary. If the skylight needs to be fixed, that doesn’t mean the homeowner needs to replace the entire unit. Often repairing just the flashing or resealing the surround will fix any problems.
- Shop around for quotes. Before proceeding with the project, obtain quotes from at least three of the best window replacement companies or skylight installation companies. Compare the different prices and services to choose the best option for your budget.
- Compare different brands. There is more than one skylight manufacturer. Carefully consider the selection, quality, and durability of each brand to find the best match.
Questions to Ask About Skylight Installation
Every skylight installer has different terms and conditions. To make the most informed decisions regarding their project, homeowners can ask each company the following questions.
- Are you licensed and insured to perform this type of work?
- Do you have testimonials and reviews from similar work?
- What types of skylights do you install?
- What type of skylight do you recommend for my home?
- How do you go about waterproofing a skylight to prevent leakage?
- Do you also offer skylight repair and replacement?
- Do you offer warranties on your work?
- How should I maintain my skylight?
- How long will the skylight installation take?
- How will you protect my home from damage or debris during installation?
Before getting started on a skylight installation project, homeowners can read through the following frequently asked questions. Each one provides additional information that could end up being beneficial for a specific project.
Q. Are skylights expensive?
Skylights can be expensive, costing $1,021 to $2,739 on average. The exact cost depends on the size of the skylight, style, shape, and many other factors.
Q. How long do skylights last?
Skylights generally last between 8 and 15 years. The exact timeline depends on the quality of the original installation, the durability of the product, and the climate in which it is located. Poor installation or quality can cause leaks, and if the skylight is hit and breaks right away or down the line, it will not last as long as intended.
Q. How do I clean my skylights?
Skylights need to be cleaned from both the inside and outside. From the inside, wipe the surface with warm water and a little dish soap. From the outside, use a ladder or an extension pole to access the surface of the skylight and clean with the same solution.
Q. Does adding a skylight increase home value?
A skylight can add value to a home, but it is hard to determine exactly how much. The extra natural light and ability to ventilate a room with a skylight are perks that could make a buyer ultimately pay more for a home.
Q. Do skylights increase homeowners insurance premiums?
Skylights generally do not increase homeowners insurance premiums. A homeowners insurance policy covers events that cause damage to a home rather than specific elements of a home. For example, if a natural disaster damages a skylight, the expense will likely be covered. If a skylight is installed improperly and begins to leak, that would not be covered.
Q. How do I fix a leaking skylight?
To fix a leaking skylight, first determine the cause of the leak. If a skylight is leaking around the rubber gasket, it may have been installed poorly and the gasket will need to be replaced. If condensation is building up on the skylight, improve ventilation by opening the skylight or circulating air throughout the space. Also, inspect the flashing around the skylight to determine if it needs to be repaired or replaced.
Q. Do skylights make your house hot?
Skylights can heat up a room if they are exposed to direct sunlight. Heat from solar radiation travels through the glass and into the home. Homeowners can limit this heat from entering their home by installing shutters over the skylight or installing a UV protective coating on the skylight’s glass.
Q. Should skylights be sealed?
Yes, skylights should always be sealed to prevent any water leakage into a home. Skylights must be installed with the proper metal flashing, rubber gasket, and caulking to ensure a watertight seal.
Q. How do I cover my skylights?
Skylights can be covered with blinds, shutters, or shades to help block out sunlight. Consider using a motorized shade so the skylight can easily be covered as needed, especially if the skylight is hard to access.