Welcome to our overview of Skylights 101
This web page was written to provide a basic understanding of skylights, their applications, common terminology and basic features.
You may know that skylights were first used in Europe (invented by the founder of VELUX) almost seventy years ago. In Europe then and now it is rare to see a non-venting skylight. The very name VELUX is derived from VE — ventilation and LUX – light. The concept of allowing fresh air and sunlight into a building proved to be very popular, thus the skylight industry was born.
Curb-mounted verses Deck-mounted Skylights
Skylights are generally installed on a house in one of two ways.
Deck-mounted units are preferred for new installations especially on pitched or sloped roofs. They install through the roof deck, have a slightly lower profile and trim out beautifully inside the light shaft or on a cathedral ceiling.
VELUX Deck-mounted Skylight
VELUX Curb-mounted Skylight
Curb-mounted units, as the name implies, are actually installed on a curb (usually 2 X 4′s or 2 X 6′s) attached to the roof. They are the only skylight generally used on flat or low-sloped roofs but can also be used on long, steep roofs where heavy rain could cascade over a deck-mounted unit potentially causing leaks. Curb-mounted units can be installed vertically or horizontally and are often used to fit over existing openings from odd-sized skylights on flat or pitched roofs.
Both deck and curb-mounted skylights come in fixed (non-venting) or manual, solar and electrically venting models. VELUX EDL or ECL Flashing Kits are required for all sloped-roof installations and each kit comes with the underlayment needed to complete the installation. Blinds and shades are available for most models.
Fixed Skylights Verses Venting Skylights
Skylights come in two types; Fixed and Venting.
VELUX Venting Skylight
VELUX Fixed Skylight
VELUX skylights, properly installed, do not leak and VELUX backs that up with its 10 year “No Leak” promise. We often tell our customers “Skylights don’t leak, installations do”, which is why VELUX developed the Five-Star Certification…to make certain that customers can find a knowledgeable company that installs skylights properly. Houseworks Daylighting Solutions is one of the oldest and most experienced Five-Star Certified companies in the country.
VELUX now manufactures three models of venting skylights; one that operates manually and two others that operate electrically– one from household current and the other from solar energy. All three carry the VELUX 10 year warranty and each has benefits the others do not. For instance, the manually operated units are great in low-ceiling applications like bonus rooms over a garage or where the skylight is within easy reach. They cost much less than their electrical counterparts and are very simple to open and close.
The electrical and solar venting units are operated by a hand-held wireless remote that can control multiple skylights and/or blinds simultaneously. They can be set to close with a built-in timer and will automatically shut if the weather changes. The new solar powered units do not require an electrical connection and are eligible for a 30% Federal Solar Energy Tax Credit. This makes them very affordable. Our customers who have replaced manually venting skylights with electrical or solar powered units tell us they use these units much more than they ever used the manually venting skylights.
Deck-mounted Roof Windows
Originally a European product, VELUX roof windows offer the advantage of emergency escape…they open much wider than traditional skylights and are often used where fire codes require an auxiliary exit. VELUX offers several unique models of roof windows in several different sizes.
VELUX Roof Window
Cabrio Roof Window with balcony
Choosing the right glass
VELUX manufactures skylights with a number of glazing options however all VELUX glass skylights are built using energy efficient LoE3 Argon gas injected between the glass panes. The process used today keeps VELUX skylights thermally protected and energy efficient for at least twenty years (see the warranty page).
Laminated Glass – Clean, Quiet and Safe
The new NEAT® Glass is offered only on VELUX Laminated Glass skylights. It features a silicon dioxide coating that makes the glass exceptionally smooth causing water to sheet off the surface. The NEAT® glass also features a coating of titanium dioxide which reacts chemically with organic matter in the presence of sunlight causing its rapid decomposition. These two coatings greatly reduce water spots and help to keep the skylight clean.
Ordinary Glass VERSES NEAT® Glass
Most VELUX products are ENERGY STAR® qualified
When NEAT® is applied to LoE3 glass, it combines the ultimate in low maintenance with the best energy-conserving LoE glass on the market. And because these laminated skylights contain a third panel of glass, they reduce outside noise by 25% over standard double pane skylights and up to 50% less than a plastic (acrylic) skylight. The laminated glass, which is like the windshield on your car, is also much safer than tempered glass units.
VELUX Tempered Glass
VELUX Laminated/Tempered Glass
Houseworks always recommends and stocks the triple-glazed laminated glass skylights. These units have two heat-treated safety glass panels laminated together beneath an outside tempered glass panel. Building code requires laminated skylights for most overhead applications and on all venting units over a certain size. The lamination also significantly increases the protection from damaging Ultra-Violet (UV) light. High Impact, Miami-Dade, White laminated and Heavy Snow-load glazings are all special-order options available on specific models. We try to never use acrylic or plastic bubble skylights on residential applications; they just don’t provide the thermal insulation or the UV protection needed for a home.
Blinds & Shades
Velux offers a variety of shades however not all models of skylights can use every blind or shade. For instance, all venting skylight models must use the solar powered shades because the shade sits above the insect screen making manual adjustment impossible. Most fixed (non-venting) models have the option of using either manual or solar powered shades or a manual venetian blind. And all VELUX skylights now have standard colored blinds or shades that can be pre-installed at the factory.