Skylights are openings on the roof of a building that allow sunlight to flow in the interiors. They are covered with glass panels and act as a substitute to the traditional windows in places where building conventional window is not feasible. At times, they are installed along with the traditional windows to optimise the availability of natural light and enjoy a panoramic view of the surroundings. Skylight windows can act as an emergency escape route too. Skylights can be built in a variety of places including your kitchen, dining room, living room and home office. But it is most common to install skylights in the basement or in the attic. Some of the different types of skylights popular in Singapore are,
Conventional roof windows – They are built on the gable or hipped roofing system of country houses, city homes or row houses. You may install them in your living room, dining area or spa bathroom. It is a great option for those living in attic apartments on Singapore.
Flat roof windows – It is not uncommon to install roof windows on a flat roof. You may easily install them in your basement, balcony or terrace and brighten up the interior the natural way in the day time.
Sun tunnels – This is a substitute for traditional windows as well as the skylights. They are installed in such spaces where building either of these is impossible. If you have a dark kitchen, home office or bathroom, you may easily illuminate the interior with the help of sun tunnels.
Skylights cost between SGD 500 and SGD 2000. Velux windows, famed for their quality and durability, are costlier than some other skylight installations. Electrically operated skylights cost more than the fixed curb mount options. Sun tunnels are available in less than SGD 1000. Before you plan to buy skylights, discuss your requirements with an interior architect and choose the right kind of design for your home.
The most essential item for your skylights will be the windows. You may select from such timeless window designs as the awnings or pivot windows. Both of them are easy to maintain, take minimal amount of space and ideal for small spaces like terraces, kitchens, bathroom and attics. Picture windows, on the other hand, will help you gain a view of the surrounding without helping you in the ventilation of the room.
You will need the help of a professional window and skylight installer to install roof windows in your home. Unless you have the sufficient knowledge of doing so, don’t opt for DIY installations and risk the quality of the installation. You will also need stylish blinds to cover the skylights and paint for the frames. Besides, you will require a few other items like roofing nails, measuring tape, shingles, saw, nail gun and wooden framework to help in the process of installation.
Use a brush with soft bristles to wipe off the dust from your roof windows. Periodically, clean the glasses with a solution of soap and lukewarm water. Use soft cloth or sponge to clean the surface of the skylights. Otherwise, they may develop scratch marks from residual dust. Install low maintenance glasses to reduce the hassles of cleaning the skylights. If the frame is made of wood, you will need to varnish them every fifth year or so. The same applies for metallic frames. Only in this case, choose a protective paint suitable for metallic surfaces. Aged vinyl frames may develop cracks. Change them immediately as soon as cracks appear. Otherwise, they will decrease the insulation qualities of your home.
You will need shutters or blinds specifically designed for your skylight windows. They will block the natural light when necessary and provide necessary amount of privacy to the interior of a house. Due to their aesthetic quality, Venetian blinds are most preferred for skylights. Don’t forget to choose the colour of the blinds according to the colour scheme of the room. There are blinds which does not completely block off natural light. They are useful for home offices, kitchen and dining rooms.
You may buy electrically operable blinds. They are expensive, but easy to operate. You may easily close the blind with the touch of a key and open it again when necessary. Blinds powered by solar electricity are an excellent alternative to this. You will manage to save electricity without sacrificing the comfort of using remote controlled blinds. Shutters are heavy and costly. They cannot be operated electrically. For this reason they are seldom installed in a roof window. You may, however, use elegant curtains to cover the skylights.
Electrically operated skylights are gaining in popularity by the day. These skylights remain open when the sun is shining in the sky, but closes as soon as it turns cloudy. They are built with a sensor which helps them understand the change in the weather condition. You may opt for blinds operated by solar power and save on the energy bills in the process. Consider buying electrically operated blinds with a programmable software, keypad and remote. The same system is available with solar power as well. It is better to install insect screens for your skylights. Being attracted by the burning roof lights, insects tend to swarm in towards this opening. So it helps to give it some additional protection.