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Skylights are a valuable asset to any home–roof lights allow for maximised natural light within a room, increase ventilation, and can make any space appear larger than it actually is.

You’re basically adding a window that sits on top of your roof, but unlike windows on the sides of your property, skylights have to be built to withstand a lot more added pressure from falling debris and heavy rain.

This necessary durability comes with a cost. If you’re considering adding these components to your roof, you’re going to need to know about a few skylight design options and which factors go into skylight installation.

Let’s start with the benefits of a skylight and how a contractor might go about installing one on your property

What are Skylights and What Goes into Skylight Installation?

A roof skylight, also known as a roof light, is essentially a glass pane or window built within your roof’s structure to provide a space for natural daylight. If you’re looking to brighten up your house, a skylight is a cost-effective and attractive option. In addition to adding natural light to brighten up your interior space, skylights can also act as ventilation ports for your property.

Benefits of having a skylight include:

  • Allows for natural light
  • Can reduce dependence on artificial light sources, lowering home energy costs
  • Can provide fresh airflow
  • Can lower heating and cooling bills
  • Can make your property more energy efficient
  • Can increase property value

To install a skylight, a roofing contractor will need to cut a hole into the roof and ceiling, fit the skylight in place, waterproof the system, and seal it in place.

This construction job should be done by a trained roofing professional. Firstly, they are properly insured for these jobs in the case that anything goes wrong. Secondly, they are trained in proper safety and equipment handling. They’ll provide you with the confidence that your new skylight will be properly fitted and sealed to prevent roof damage in the future.

How Much Does Skylight Installation Cost?

The answer to questions like this is always, “It depends.” So, let’s take a look at most of the factors that go into determining the cost of a skylight installation.

Scope of Project

Your roof contractors will consider the overall scope of the project when giving you an estimate. This includes how much labour is involved, the time it takes to complete the job, and any unforeseen complications along the way.

The entire project may not be as simple as installing your new skylight. The scope might expand to include repairing or replacing other roof components like your gutters, vents, chimneys, or roofing material (shingles, tiles, metals). If it’s determined that work needs to be done on other roofing components before your skylight installation, the overall cost estimate will increase.


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Accessibility and Safety of Roof

How accessible your roof is will influence the overall cost estimate for your skylight installation. If it’s difficult for the contractors to get their equipment into the worksite or simply navigate your roof’s design, the added labour will increase the final bill. Complex roof designs can make it precarious for roofing contractors to easily get around, whereas simpler roofs are the opposite case. If the roof is in a relatively poor condition and thus more hazardous, this can increase your final bill.

Type of Skylight

The type of skylight you choose will greatly affect the final estimate for installation. Not only does the type of skylight determine your range of design options, but the installation process as well.


A tubular skylight uses a small rooftop dome to capture the sun’s rays. The light is then transferred indoors through a tube-shaped duct. A diffuser mounted in the ceiling disperses the natural light into the room below.

Tubular skylights are particularly useful for small rooms with no existing natural light, such as hallways, walk-in wardrobes and other small spaces. Tubular skylights are typically inexpensive as they require fewer materials and less labour than other types of skylights.

Fixed Skylights

Fixed skylights are the most basic types of skylights. They are a closed system and don’t provide any ventilation. The lack of ventilation does increase the accompanying roof temperature, so if you’re in a warmer climate you’ll want to take this into consideration.

Given they are the most basic model of skylights, installation of a fixed skylight will be considerably cheaper compared to more dynamic options.

Ventilating Skylights

Ventilating skylights come in three models: Manual, electric, and solar-powered. Manually opening skylights will be the most cost-effective and straightforward ventilating skylight solution. Electric Skylights are more complicated as they rely on the installation of an electrical system to open and close the skylight window.

Solar skylights feature a solar panel that captures the available daylight and uses it to recharge a fully concealed battery powered operator and control system. Relying on the sun’s rays, solar skylights are the most energy-efficient but most expensive skylights to install.

Size and Design of Skylight

Two significant factors that can increase the cost of skylight installation are the size and complexity of its design. Skylights are available in a wide range of sizes and designs. Unsurprisingly, simple designs are cheaper than more complicated designs to install.

Large skylights may require complex structural modifications to your roof before going ahead with installation–this will require more labour, and therefore, will cost more. A final design element to consider is added features. Insect screens, impact glazing, the installation of solar panels, manual control rods, electric opening systems, and blinds will all impact your final costs.

Skylight Installation Materials

The main skylight itself will either be made from acrylic plastic or glass. You will need to consider which is best for your property. Plastic will not provide UV protection and tempered glass is usually only one layer, which means it can break with substantial force. Reinforcing the glass option with double panes will provide added durability, but at a cost.

Skylights frames come in different options as well. You can get a skylight made from vinyl, wood, metal, or a combination of materials. These materials also influence your installation bill.

Another key component of skylights is roof flashing. Roof flashing is a thin material installed on your roof. Specifically, exposed areas like vents, edges, valleys, and seams. It’s a valuable part of your roof’s drainage system. It works to create a watertight seal between the roofing materials and these other components.

Typically, the most common flashing materials you’ll find are galvanized steel and aluminium. Though relatively cheap compared to other roofing components, flashing is a cost you have to consider.

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