Skylights: Design ideas, inspiration & pictures | Homify Skylights: design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Skylights: design ideas, inspiration & pictures

One of the simplest yet delightful features of any enclosed space is a skylight. Ranging from large roof cut-outs positioned above open-well staircases or simple roof punctures above a bathing space, skylights have been around ever since our ancestors mastered the art of construction.

Skylights or roof lights are basically windows in a roof and are primarily installed with the intention of allowing natural light into a space. However a well designed roof light can also work as an excellent means of ventilation or simple an opening through which one can gaze a starry night while being comfortably sheltered. Modern day roof lights are available in various shapes and sizes and can also be easily customized to suit your requirements. One can also opt for fixed or operable roof windows depending on the nature of space and the size of the roof cut-out.

Skylights initially were just a strategically positioned cut-out in the roof of a structure. The most famous example that one can think of is the oculus of the Pantheon in Rome. Although such a setting allowed for excellent quality of natural light in traditionally gloomy spaces, there were concerns of rainwater, dust, and fluctuating temperatures which caused a lot of discomfort. However, with the industrial revolution, glass became an increasingly common material and emerged as the best option to cover the roof cut-outs. Today, ready to fit roof windows are produced on a mass scale and are available in a host of options to fit any cut-out size.

Are skylights popular in Malaysia?

Malaysia being a tropical country presents a great opportunity for roof light systems owing to the abundance of natural light it receives throughout the year. With the right experts you can easily determine the type of installation, desired angles, geometries, etc. that can give you the best possible outcome. However, since the intensity of sun can get considerable high in certain seasons, we recommend that you opt for a combination of roof windows with blinds or shutters in order to receive good daylight but at the same time relatively less heat load.

What should I consider when installing a skylight in a room?

A skylight installation is fairly simple; however, one needs to be extremely careful with its security and waterproofing mechanisms. To begin with, you must identify which spaces in your house could benefit with additional natural light. This could be your reading space, bedroom, or even the entrance corridor. Roof lights work as an excellent element of surprise, especially in spaces which are traditionally enclosed with little or no natural light. Hence, a space such as a bathroom which is usually artificially lit can be elevated to a whole new level of elegance with just a simple roof window above the shower space.

From the construction point of view, a skylight which is installed while the roof is being casted is ideal. However, with modern day techniques you can easily install a skylight whenever you desire. The process usually begins with cutting a hole in the roof, followed by installing a ready-made frame for the opening, sealing all junctions with high quality waterproofing membranes and sealants and finally the placing the window onto the framework. In order to enhance the overall setting, you can also opt for decorative lighting fixtures around the roof window. One of the easiest ways to go ahead with it, is installing thin LED strips around the framework to give the space a nice elegant touch.

How should I maintain the skylight?

As with any other installation in the house, skylights too require periodic cleaning and maintenance. Make sure that the glass is cleaned from time to time in order to ensure good day light quality. For other aspects such as checking the waterproofing membranes, frames, etc. it is recommended that you rely on an experienced roofing contractor. Not only will this ensure a leak proof and adequately insulated ceiling, it will also lead to long lasting and hassle-free installation.

Shutters and blinds

Similar to a normal window, roof lights can be provided with blinds or shutters for days when the intensity of sun gets very high. Both these options are widely available with a host of colour options and sizes that can fit any cut-out shape. Blinds or shutters could be automated and can provide you the flexibility to determine how much of natural light you desire in the space. Apart from controlling the intensity of light, these devices could also be very effective in controlling the glare that might become a nuisance especially during your afternoon nap. Blinds and shutters can be manufactured with a number of materials such as PVC, aluminium, and wood, etc. While choosing the blinds we recommend that you consider the type and nature of the surrounding finishes in order that blinds or shutters complement the overall setting of that particular space. Similar to the main installation, you must ensure that blinds and shutters and periodically cleaned in order to keep them dust free as well as in desirable working condition. Good quality shutters or blinds can easily last well above a year.

Future trends and sustainability

Research suggests that working or studying in daylight has positive effects on our state of mind and can directly lead to increased productivity. Further, from the sustainability point of view, roof lights can help you to reduce your lighting and to some extents cooling costs. A strategically positioned cut-out can draw in adequate amounts of natural light thus directly reducing your dependency on artificial sources of light. By opting for double glazed or triple glazed units, you can further reduce the heat gains without compromising on the overall quality of light entering the space.