Skylights: Yes or No?

In tiny houses, skylights are common and even necessary, especially in rooms with a shortage of wall space for windows.  We are considering adding a skylight in our loft for several reasons.

SKYLIGHT PROS:

  • Safety.  A large skylight or “egress roof window” provides a means of escape in case of emergency.  Our tiny house has only 1 door and no windows big enough to climb out of, so a viable skylight exit seems like a good idea.
  • Light.  A skylight would help illuminate the loft and the darkest part of the downstairs if we choose to sink a hammock-chair into the loft floor as shown.  Creating a sunny (or moonlit) reading nook and providing natural light for half the house?  Score for tiny house multifunctionalism!
  • Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 11.49.27 PMVentilation.  Because we only have 1 window in the loft, an operable skylight will assist in creating cooling cross breezes.

SKYLIGHT CONS:

  • Noisy.  Rain falling on a skylight is much louder than an insulated roof.
  • Too bright and hot?  A skylight may provide too much sunlight and heat in our loft, even if it is located near the foot of the bed.  At least these issues can be mitigated by installing a shade.
  • Cold in winter.  Skylights are notorious for being energy losers in cold climates – it’s basically a giant hole in your roof.  05a8dc72-c543-4a48-bf5d-737574c93d38_1000The skylight may be covered in snow at times, blocking the sunlight we crave during the winter months.
  • Potential to leak/time consuming to install.  It’s risky to cut a hole in the roof.  Skylights must be meticulously sealed to prevent water infiltration.
  • Cost!  If we do choose to add a skylight, it will be a large 24″ x 46″ egress-certified one from Fakro (if we’re doing a skylight at all, we might as well go all-out and take advantage of the egress benefit and peace of mind it provides).  But the $800 price tag makes it a tough decision!

Read more about skylights in another excellent post linked here, and please post your thoughts in the comments!

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