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Integrity

Why to Use Skylights in Outdoor Living Spaces

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

The appeal of outdoor living space has made it one of the most in-demand features for new homes and renovation projects. Homeowners love being able to step out for some fresh air from the comfort of their own properties and having the option to host outside. Covered patios, decks, and porches are especially popular because they offer shelter from the elements; most people assume they’ll have solid roofs overhead, but skylights actually make a wonderful addition just as they do inside. Here’s how outdoor living space with skylights will add value to your home!

VELUX Skylight

Notice how this enclosed patio kitchen doesn’t have any electrical lighting overhead. The skylight over the grill effectively brightens the workspace much more than the large, breezy doors could alone.

Keep It Bright

Of course, the primary function of skylights is to allow natural light inside. Their position on the ceiling makes them much more efficient than windows when it comes to light transfer, and they also significantly brighten covered outdoor living spaces whether enclosed or totally open on the sides. These areas can be pretty dark, especially with the increasing breadth of outdoor living these days, so it’s a good idea to plan for lighting.

But why pay for outdoor-safe fixtures and electricity when skylights offer a simpler and more effective solution? Most homeowners opt for standard skylights—those with large panes that provide clear views of the sky—to flood the space with plenty of sun. If that seems like too much and you really want to preserve the covered feel of your porch instead, look into Sun Tunnel skylights. They’re smaller, look like recessed lighting, and you can outfit them with the diffuser of your choice to tailor their effect. Sun Tunnels are made to bring light from the roof down inside through the attic, and they’re highly adaptable as a result. They are perfect when you have a flat ceiling beneath a pitched roof, but don’t be afraid to ask a professional if they’ll work for you in any case.

VELUX Solar Powered "Fresh Air" Skylights

House Plan 7055 features Solar Powered “Fresh Air” Skylights with shades in the sunroom to ensure comfort throughout the seasons. Just open them to allow hot air to escape!

Keep It Cool

Don’t overlook ventilation even in outdoor spaces. Whether you have an enclosed porch or an open deck or patio, being able to passively move air will be a great asset. Heat rises and can get trapped under a roof even if you have a breeze blowing by; opening an outlet through the roof allows hot air to escape and pulls cooler air into the space. This can create air movement even on still, stuffy days!

Skylights that open for ventilation come in three basic types—manual, electric, and solar powered. Manual skylights install as simply as fixed ones and open with the use of a control rod that allows you to reach them from the ground. Electric skylights require wiring and installation is more involved, but they offer control at the touch of a button or through an app. Finally, solar-powered skylights offer the best of both worlds—they install wirelessly and operate on demand thanks to a built-in solar panel and battery. All of these options offer the same ventilation potential, so you can choose based on your installation criteria and preferred method of operation.

VELUX Skylights

The skylights over this deck not only brighten the outdoor living space, but the light they allow down indirectly affects the interior living room through the sliding patio door.

Improve Adjacent Spaces

As we mentioned before, covered porches and patios can be quite dark. That darkness will also affect any part of the interior that shares a wall with the outdoor living space, and the result is more drastic the farther out the roof extends. You don’t want to steep all those windows in shadows—let them borrow light from skylights! Installing skylights in outdoor living spaces will let light shine down closer to the windows, allowing them to benefit from light that would be blocked otherwise. Outdoor living is often a continuation of indoor living space, so consider outdoor skylights an investment toward the quality of your interior, too.

Whatever sort of skylights you need to complete your home, see what VELUX® can do for you! They have a wide variety of products and sizes available to suit every kind of space, inside and out. You can also virtually test skylights with the VELUX Visualizer app, so you can get a better idea of just how much they’ll affect the look and feel of each room. If you want to discuss the possibilities with a professional, reach out to a local installer—you can do it directly or through the app once you’ve seen skylights in augmented reality!