Is Adding Skylights Worth It? Evaluating the Pros and Cons

Skylights, those windows in your roof that bring natural light into your home, are often considered a desirable addition for many homeowners. But are they really worth it? In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of adding skylights to your home, helping you make an informed decision.

Understanding Skylights

Skylights, also known as rooftop windows, are windows installed in the roof of a building to allow natural light to enter from above. They come in various shapes and sizes, including flat roof skylights, dome skylights, and pyramid skylights, each offering unique benefits and considerations.

Pros of Adding Skylights

1. Natural Light and Solar Heating

One of the primary benefits of skylights is their ability to bring in natural light, brightening up interior spaces and reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day. Natural light has been shown to improve mood, increase productivity, and even lower energy bills by reducing reliance on electric lights.

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Additionally, skylights can harness solar heat, especially during colder months, thereby reducing heating costs. This dual benefit of natural light and solar heating can significantly enhance the livability of your home.

2. Better Ventilation and Air Quality

Many skylights are designed to open, allowing fresh air to circulate through your home. This feature is particularly useful in areas like bathrooms and kitchens, where ventilation is crucial for maintaining air quality and preventing moisture buildup. Improved ventilation can also help cool down your living spaces naturally, reducing the need for air conditioning during warmer months.

3. Aesthetic Appeal and Increased Property Value

Skylights can add a touch of elegance and openness to your home’s interior. They create a sense of spaciousness, similar to adding mirrors or windows on the walls. Moreover, skylights can enhance the overall curb appeal of your property, potentially increasing its resale value. Homes with ample natural light are often more attractive to potential buyers.

Cons of Adding Skylights

1. Installation Costs and Complexity

Installing skylights can be expensive, especially if structural modifications are needed to accommodate them. Costs may vary depending on the type of skylight and the complexity of installation. Improper installation can lead to issues such as leaks, which may require costly repairs.

2. Heat Gain and Loss

Skylights that are not properly designed or installed can contribute to heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter. This can offset the energy-saving benefits of natural light and solar heating, resulting in higher heating and cooling costs. Choosing skylights with energy-efficient features, such as double or triple-pane glazing and insulated frames, can help mitigate this issue.

3. Potential for Glare and Overheating

In some cases, skylights may introduce excessive glare or heat into your home, especially if they are not properly positioned or equipped with shading options. Direct sunlight entering through skylights can create uncomfortable living conditions and may necessitate the use of blinds or shades to regulate light and temperature.

4. Maintenance and Potential Issues

Skylights require regular maintenance to ensure they remain watertight and in good condition. Debris, such as leaves or snow, can accumulate on the skylight surface and interfere with proper drainage. Additionally, seals and flashing around skylights may deteriorate over time, leading to leaks and water damage if not promptly addressed.

Skylight Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance of skylights is essential to ensure they remain functional, aesthetically pleasing, and leak-free over time. Here are some essential tips to keep your skylights in optimal condition:

1. Regular Cleaning: Periodically clean both the interior and exterior surfaces of your skylights to remove dirt, dust, and debris. Use a mild soap or specialized glass cleaner and a soft cloth to avoid scratching the glass. Clean the surrounding frame and seals as well to prevent buildup that could compromise the skylight’s integrity.

2. Inspect Seals and Flashing: Check the seals and flashing around your skylight regularly, especially after severe weather conditions. Look for signs of cracks, gaps, or deterioration that could lead to leaks. Replace any damaged seals promptly to maintain the skylight’s waterproofing.

3. Clear Debris: Keep the area around the skylight free from debris such as leaves, branches, and snow buildup. Debris can block drainage channels and cause water to pool around the skylight, potentially leading to leaks. Use caution when clearing debris to avoid damaging the skylight or roof.

4. Check for Condensation: Monitor for any signs of condensation inside the skylight or on its surface. Excessive condensation can indicate issues with ventilation or insulation. Ensure that the skylight is properly ventilated to reduce the buildup of moisture that could lead to mold or mildew.

5. Trim Overhanging Branches: If your skylight is under trees, regularly trim branches that hang over it. Falling branches or leaves can damage the skylight or obstruct sunlight, reducing its effectiveness.

6. Inspect Hardware and Mechanisms: If your skylight is vented or operable, inspect the hardware, hinges, and mechanisms for smooth operation. Lubricate moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer to prevent stiffness or malfunction.

7. Professional Inspections: Schedule periodic inspections by a qualified skylight technician or roofing professional. They can perform thorough checks, identify potential issues early, and recommend necessary repairs or maintenance tasks.


In conclusion, whether adding skylights to your home is worth it depends on your specific needs, budget, and preferences. While skylights offer significant benefits such as natural light, solar heating, and improved ventilation, they also come with potential drawbacks like installation costs, maintenance requirements, and issues with heat gain or glare.

Before making a decision, consider consulting with a reputable skylight installer to assess your home’s suitability for skylights and explore different options that align with your goals. Proper planning and informed choices can help maximize the benefits of skylights while minimizing potential drawbacks, ensuring a brighter and more comfortable living environment for years to come.


Natural Light and Solar Heating

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