Traditional skylights and unique solar tubes complement the latest in open concept designs to make the most of natural light. The increased ambiance comes with a bonus – more natural light reduces the need for artificial lighting and reduces your electric bill. Even is an area boasting as much diverse architecture as Madison WI, skylights and solar tubes come engineered to fit a variety of home designs.
Skylights Bring the Outdoors Inside
In rooms with few or no traditional windows – hallways, mud rooms, laundry rooms, older kitchens and bathrooms – adding a window in a wall may not be an affordable or realistic option. Bringing natural light in from the ceiling is an option worth exploring – overhead sunlight provides more even distribution of light, too.
These creative installations are not just a window in the roof. Adding natural light sources in the ceiling as part of a kitchen or bathroom remodel is different from adding a window. Windows in a wall catch the sun’s low-angle rays during a Madison WI winter and its higher-angle rays in summer. Skylights do the opposite.
When deciding upon an appropriate installation, location is critical to success. Consider:
- Installations on a south-facing roof provide the potential to overheat the room below
- Installations on a north-facing roof provide softer, diffused light but not the “sun splash” effects available on the south side
- Cabinets and vanities in kitchens and bathrooms below can be subjected to fading if exposed constantly to sun from overhead – tinted glass can be used to block ultraviolet light
Maximize Benefits from Skylights and Solar Tubes
Opening up a room with a natural overhead light source not only provides “free” illumination, it opens a space visually. With the ceiling no longer just a solid block, the ceiling can become a design and decorating element.
To get the most from a new installation, professionals suggest you, “Go Big.” Installing the largest openings that are practical get the most benefit from the project. The effort required to install various units doesn’t vary much from large to small so planning ahead to get the most from the job is essential. A large portion of the cost is for installation, so going too small isn’t saving much – a move you may regret later.
“If you’re making the effort to do the job,
install a unit that’s generous enough to really have a positive impact.”
Solar Tubes – Not a Passing Fad
Solar tubes came on the remodeling and construction scene a few years ago as unique, creative approaches for adding natural light in spaces where traditional installations don’t work. They are still among the most requested remodeling structures.
Solar tube benefits include:
- Access to natural light for hallways, mud rooms, kitchens, bathrooms – any room where adding a window isn’t an option
- A basic tube can provide light equal to three standard 100-watt bulbs
- Some tubes can provide warmth via solar energy
- Some tubes reduce heat loss that traditional windows or skylights might assist
- Natural light even when there’s no direct route from the roof to the room – solar tubes can be angled and may even run from the roof through a second story to a first floor room via closet spaces and creative design
- Low maintenance installations
- Reduced chances of leaks or roof damage
NOTE: The bad rap skylights have as sources of leaks and water damage is largely undeserved. The risk of water damage in modern styles and installation is minimal. And glazing reduces condensation inside modern styles – some have internal channels to wick moisture away.
A knowledgeable source of whole home renovation and remodeling options, Sims Exteriors & Remodeling serves greater Dane County, including Middleton, Waunakee, Fitchburg, Oregon Verona, McFarland, Stoughton, Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie and Deforest.
Contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling at 608-825-4500, or email us for assistance in choosing skylights or solar tubes and for all your home renovation ideas from start to finish in Madison WI.