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8 Things You Need to Know About Getting a Skylight

January 10th, 2024 | 6 min. read

8 Things You Need to Know About Getting a Skylight

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Getting a skylight is a big and expensive decision that requires a multi-thousand-dollar investment. That’s why learning as much as possible before signing a contract is crucial. 

The hard part is knowing what exactly you’re supposed to learn. Luckily, there are common questions I’ve been asked by homeowners interested in skylights over the 30-plus years Bill Ragan Roofing has been in business. 

That’s why I wrote this article breaking down the 8 things every homeowner needs to know about getting a skylight. By the end, I’m confident you’ll be able to decide whether it’s worth it. 

This article answers the following questions about getting a skylight:

  • Do skylights always leak?
  • How long do skylights last?
  • Do roofers install skylights?
  • Can a skylight qualify for the Federal Solar Tax credit?
  • What’s the difference between curb mounted vs. deck mounted skylights?
  • What are the different types of skylights?
  • How much does a skylight installation cost?
  • Are skylights worth it?

1. Do skylights always leak? 

No, skylights don’t always leak. While receiving a faulty skylight or component is possible, their reputation for leaking comes more from installation errors. 

As long as a skylight is installed per the manufacturer’s installation instructions, it won’t leak as long as the materials hold up. Luckily, you’ll know if it was properly installed if it gets through the first rain without leaking.

Just know that waiting too long to replace a skylight in the future will lead to a leak, which takes us to the next point.

2. How long do skylights last?

A skylight should last at least 15 years and get up to 20 years before the materials start to fail. As long as it’s properly installed, water gets in once the factory seal between the glass and metal cladding has reached their maximum lifespan or it’s compromised. 

Obviously, it’s hard to recognize when this happens. However, you’ll avoid a leak from a failing skylight as long as you get routine roof maintenance.

3. Do roofers install skylights?

Yes, most roofers and roofing companies install skylights. The important thing is to hire a company with strong experience installing skylights. 

Remember, following the manufacturer’s installation instructions is crucial to make your skylight leak-free from the start. So, look at Google reviews, ask people on Nextdoor, and even ask your installer for references to find a company. 

You can also go to VELUX (the leading skylight manufacturer) and find a certified roofing contractor they trust to install their products.

4. Can a skylight qualify for the Federal Solar Tax credit?

As of January 2024, the Federal Solar Tax Credit allows you to deduct 30% off the cost of installing a solar product. To qualify for the tax credit, the skylight itself has to be solar-powered or solar-powered accessories, like solar-powered blinds. 

If you get a skylight that qualifies, you’ll get a 30% tax credit on the skylight itself and installation cost. Companies like VELUX have something like a “Go Solar” logo next to their products for skylights and accessories to point you in the right direction. 

5. What’s the difference between curb-mounted vs. deck-mounted skylights?

A curb-mounted or deck-mounted skylight refers to their installation method. Both are good methods, but each is right for a specific situation.

deck mounted skylights(Deck-mounted skylights)

A deck-mounted skylight is installed directly to your roof’s decking over a fitted opening as soon as you open the box. This is the most common installation method because it offers a low profile and is considered more energy efficient.

Skylight 2(Curb-mounted skylights)

A curb-mounted skylight is elevated off the roof and built on-site (usually out of plywood) to fit specific measurements. This installation method is common if you’re fitting an existing hole inside to fit the skylight on the outside. 

However, you’ll also get a curb mount if you have a low pitched or flat roof. Just know it’s possible your curb-mounted skylight won’t come with a specific flashing kit, which means the installers have to make their own flashing to prevent leaks.

6. What are the different types of skylights?

There’s a wide variety of skylights to choose from that come in multiple sizes to let in as much light as you want. However, the one you get depends on what you want out of it. 

Below are the common types of skylights homeowners choose:

  • Fixed skylights 
  • Manual vented skylights
  • Electric vented skylights
  • Solar-powered vented skylights
  • Sun tunnels (also called solar tubes) skylights

You can also add accessories to your skylights, like blinds and automation. Just know you can also get custom sizes, shapes, and designs, but they get expensive very quickly. 

7. How much does a skylight installation cost?

Depending on the type, a new skylight installation costs anywhere from around $2,800 up to $7,000, with an average of around $4,800. These numbers usually cause sticker shock, but getting a new skylight is an actual construction project. 

skylight installation on the inside of a home

It requires cutting drywall and a hole through your roof, framing for the new drywall, framing the skylight, putting new drywall to enclose the area, flashing the skylight, and painting the drywall to put the finishing touches. If you get a curb-mounted skylight, there’s also construction involved to make the curb. 

skylight installation from the inside of a home

As you can see, it’s labor-intensive, with multiple trades (carpentry, roofing, and painting) on one project. 

8. Are skylights worth it?

After getting this far and seeing how much they cost, you’re probably wondering if skylights are worth it. In my opinion, a properly installed skylight is well worth the investment.

The main reason it’s worth it is because it increases your home’s aesthetic by adding more natural light. However, they are also energy efficient and can make your home appealing to potential buyers. 

At the end of the day, a skylight is worth the money if you get exactly what you want out of it.

Ready to get your new skylight installed?

Now you know the 8 things every homeowner needs to know about getting a skylight. At this point, you have a good idea if you want one or not. 

If you do, it’s time to find an installer you can trust to do it right. Unfortunately, this can be difficult with the amount of options out there. 

But remember, you can find one that’s certified and trusted to install it right. To do this, all you need to do is go to the leading manufacturer’s website and type in your zip code. 

Check out VELUX’s Find an Installer page to start the process of adding more natural light to your home with a new skylight.

roofing contractor questions checklist


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