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Skylights for Every Roof Pitch & Ceiling

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

There’s not a homeowner around who doesn’t want to reap the benefits of natural light. Free and uplifting, it’s the cure to a dark and dreary interior, but some think their homes aren’t designed to utilize it. Well, there are lots of ways that skylights adapt—check out these skylights that work for whatever you have!

VELUX Solar Powered "Fresh Air" Skylight

Got a pitched roof, but a flat ceiling? Not a problem! Any typical skylight can be installed in a lightwell, which connects the ceiling up to the level of the roof with some extra drywall. Here, a Solar Powered “Fresh Air” Skylight offers wire-free operation, too!

The Standard Slope

Pitched roofs with vaulted ceilings underneath to match are ideal for installing skylights. Homes with this feature typically have two-story volume that could really use the natural light, and sloped roofs offer the chance to maximize the sun depending on the orientation of the floor plan. The majority of skylights are also made for sloped conditions because they’ve offered the best drainage—and the least risk of leaking—over the decades they’ve been popular for homes, and that means you have plenty of options! Whether fixed or operational through manual, electric, or solar-powered means, you won’t be lost for lack of products to fit your needs.

If you have a pitched roof but flat ceilings, don’t despair! You can still install the skylight on the roof like normal, and then create a lightwell to channel the sunlight down inside. Whether the distance is short or long, the breadth of skylights invites so much more brightness into the interior than light fixtures can. If this interests you, talk to a contractor to see what’s possible with your home!

VELUX CurveTech Fixed Flat Roof Skylight

For roof pitches of 0-15 degrees (0/12 - 3/12), a CurveTech Fixed Flat Roof Skylight makes a great choice because the curvature allows rain to roll right off and it captures more light than its flatter counterparts.

Flat Roofs

With so many contemporary home designs outfitted with flat and low-pitch roofs these days, skylights for flat roofs have really upped their game. This architecture is made to be bright and bring natural beauty indoors, so don’t just rely on windows—find the skylights that work for your situation. They’ll help you save on lighting costs and improve home energy efficiency, too.

Be sure to shop for skylights specifically made for flat roofs, as they are designed differently to withstand their special challenges. Some products will work for pitches from 0 to 60 degrees while others are limited to the 0 to 15 degree range. They can be flat panes like regular skylights, but with beveled edges to assist with drainage. They can also be curved, which not only helps shunt water faster, but also captures more light to shine inside. In whatever case, flat roof skylights are installed with a curb mount and plenty of flashing to raise the glass above the deck level of the roof and ensure the whole opening is weatherproof. Today’s products are much more reliable than their predecessors, so don’t be afraid to try them, whatever your roof’s pitch.

VELUX Sun Tunnel

Sun Tunnels come in various types to work in different situations. Rigid tunnels can go straight from point A to point B or, with the addition of “elbow” pieces, they can wind around attic obstructions such as air vents and HVAC units.

Tight Spaces

Perhaps you don’t need or can’t fit a full-size skylight in some areas? That’s what Sun Tunnels are for! They’re relatively small at 10” to 14” in diameter, and they can mimic recessed lighting in hallways and closets as well as in larger spaces, if you so desire.

Sun Tunnels take sunlight from the roof and channel it through a reflective aluminum tunnel to carry it where you want it. They’re very adaptable because they can collect light with pitched or low-profile domes, extremely low-profile flat glass apertures, and even curb mount domes for flat roofs. Rigid and flexible tube options allow you to cut a straight line through or work around obstacles in the attic space. And as for the interior, you have your choice of diffusers to tailor the light to your liking.

VELUX Center Pivot Roof Window

Although not technically a skylight by definition, this Center-Pivot Roof Window is ideal for when you have a slanted wall. Common in bonus rooms and attic renovations, installing suitable roof windows really transforms these areas into livable spaces.

Slanted Walls

Sometimes the wall is a ceiling, too! When you have a slanted wall—such as in A-frame houses and renovated attic and bonus spaces—you need to think beyond light alone. Adding roof windows to these spaces is less expensive than traditional dormer windows, and roof windows provide more light than dormers. They are sort of like skylights, but they are made to be within reach and offer the option for egress that many codes require. Regular windows aren’t made to be installed at an angle, so look into this special category if you need to outfit a space with tricky slanted walls.

Whatever roof pitch you have, VELUX® has products that’ll work for your home! They offer a wide selection of skylights, Sun Tunnels, and roof windows, and they’re designed to tackle challenges presented in all sorts of architectural styles, and in both new construction and retrofit jobs. To discuss the possibilities, find a local installer who can guide you in the right direction!