Solved! Who Installs Skylights?
Need to find a professional for skylight installation? Learn the ins and outs of who installs skylights and how to hire a contractor for this major project.
Q: I’ve finally decided to add a skylight to my home. However, I’ve heard a few horror stories about leaking, so I want to make sure the installation is done right. I’m not sure whether to call a roofer, a window installer, or someone else. Who installs skylights?
A: Skylights can be gorgeous features that open up the space and let in lots of natural light—when they are installed correctly. Homeowners are right to be choosy about who performs this job since errors can result in leaking, problems with insulation, or even breakage. The cost to install a skylight is also not trivial, usually running between $1,000 and $2,700, so homeowners will want to make sure they get their money’s worth.
The good news is, there are plenty of skilled skylight contractors who have years of experience with this project. Recent advances in skylight technology have solved some of the classic issues that skylights present, such as overheating and overlighting. The right skylight companies can help homeowners determine which features to add for the best results. Read on to find out who installs skylights and what to consider before searching “skylight replacement contractors near me.”
Window installers or roofers can install skylights.
A skylight is essentially a window in the middle of a home’s roof, so homeowners may be unsure of whether to call a window installer or a roofing contractor to install a roof window. The truth is, either one may be able to perform a roof window installation. Many roofing and window companies include installing skylights in their services. There are also companies who install skylights exclusively. Whichever type of contractor a homeowner goes with, they will want to research whether the company has performed skylight installations before and whether clients were satisfied with the work. They may also want to verify that the company is certified by the skylight manufacturer to install the products.
You may need to hire an electrician if there’s any new wiring required.
In most cases, only one contractor is needed for skylight installation. But homeowners who opt for a skylight with features such as remote-controlled opening or automatic blinds may need to hire an electrician as well. Some skylight models come with a solar panel that is used as a power source for these features, but others may require external wiring. Roofers and window installers are not typically qualified to install wiring, so it’s wise to ask ahead of time whether additional electrical service will be needed. Plan on adding an extra $75 to $300 to the estimated skylight installation cost for this type of electrical work.
There are two main skylight installation methods: deck mounting and curb mounting.
There is more than one way to install a skylight depending on the situation. A deck-mounted skylight comes fully assembled and needs only to be placed into a cutout in the roof. It will typically come in a kit with custom flashing and any other features required for installation. Deck-mounted skylights sit flush with the roof and tend to be very energy efficient.
Curb-mounted skylights are custom made on-site and are typically used when installing a skylight in an existing roof. A raised curb is built around the opening in the roof, and the skylight is fitted on top. The flashing may need to be custom made as well.
A slightly less common option is a tubular skylight which, as the name suggests, is cylindrical or tube-shaped. Tubular skylight installation tends to be a simpler and most affordable option, but it does not typically have the same visual impact or light output as a traditional skylight.
Not all roofs are right for skylights.
As with any roof upgrade, it’s important to consider the roof’s construction before starting a skylight installation project. Some types of skylights need to be installed on a slope, so those won’t be compatible with flat roofs. Other times the construction of the roof is such that it won’t be able to support a skylight. For example, installing skylights in a house with a truss-framed roof can be risky because the skylight may decrease the roof’s integrity. In homes with an attic, skylights may be possible to install, but some additional construction may be necessary to make room for it.
A skylight contractor may claim that it’s possible to install a skylight on any roof. Even if it’s physically possible to install a skylight, that does not always mean that it is advisable. Homeowners may have to compromise on the size or look of the skylight in order for it to fit the roof, or the finished product could have construction issues that lead to leaking. It’s a good idea to look into what style of roofing is not conducive to additions like skylights before researching “skylight specialists near me.”
Skylights have pros and cons.
A ceiling skylight can be a beautiful addition to a home. These skylights provide lots of natural light which tends to make spaces feel cheery and open. They can even help homeowners save on energy costs from lighting and heating since sunlight naturally brightens and warms up the space.
But these benefits can also be drawbacks. Without the aid of curtains, it’s impossible to control the brightness of a room with a skylight during the day unless it also has a customized shade installed. The same principle applies with heat—while homeowners may be dialing down the furnace in the winter, they may need to crank up the AC when summer arrives.
It’s important to hire a professional with experience installing skylights.
DIY skylight installation is no simple task, and most homeowners will find it worth the labor cost to install a skylight with the help of a professional. Installing a skylight is delicate work: Between creating a hole in the roof without damaging it, working with a large pane of glass, and balancing high on a rooftop, there is not much margin for error. As such, it’s advisable to find a professional skylight installer who has performed this job many times and has an excellent track record.
There is a widely held belief that all skylights leak, but in reality this is only true of skylights that have been improperly installed. The right pro from one of the best window replacement companies will have experience with flashing and can seal the skylight from the elements. If homeowners are still concerned about leaking, they may want to look for a company who warranties their products and work, just in case. While skylight prices may be costlier for higher-end materials and expert installation, it may be well worth it for homeowners who plan on enjoying their skylight for many years to come.