The ins and outs of incorporating skylights into your kitchen

There are several benefits to incorporating skylights into your kitchen. Skylights improve upon the overall appearance of a room, lower your monthly electricity bill, increase ventilation, help support a greener lifestyle, and can boost the overall value of your home. However, before you decide to take the plunge, there are a few things you’ll want to consider including the price of installation, the possibility of moisture leaks, fading from the sun’s glare, and the potential for moisture problems. These are all avoidable with the right precautions, but they’re still aspects you’ll want to consider.







The benefits of skylights

As mentioned above, there are quite a few benefits to incorporating skylights to your kitchen. This is one of the main reasons why more and more homes today include skylights. Their popularity has definitely picked up over the past few years. So, what are the benefits of incorporating skylights into your kitchen?

 

1. Beautify your kitchen

The main reason that homeowners add skylights to their kitchen is for their aesthetic quality. Natural lighting has the potential to add that special touch to the overall design of a kitchen. This is especially true for kitchens with granite, marble, and quartz countertops, hardwood flooring, and custom crafted cabinets. In addition, skylights provide the opportunity to stargaze and revel in the beauty of the sky from the comfort of your own home.

When incorporating skylights into your kitchen, you must also consider shape. If your kitchen has a more boxy look to it, then rectangular windows would probably be the ideal choice. On the other hand, if your kitchen has a more curvy or abstract style, then oval or circular windows might be the better pick. By choosing the right style for your personal space, you’ll enjoy your kitchen that much more.

2. Lower your monthly electricity bills

Integrating skylights into your kitchen can decrease your monthly electricity bills. Simply put, by letting in more natural light, you’ll save money on your electricity bill. Also, the sun’s warm rays can help keep your home warmer during the colder months if you live in an area with cooler winters.

Although this sounds great, one caveat that you’ll need to consider is that the placement of your skylights will determine whether or not you’re actually saving on your monthly electricity bills or perhaps introducing a new financial burden. For instance, skylights built into sloping roofs facing southwards tend to become overheated during the summer. As a result, your home’s cooling system will have to work that much harder to keep your living space comfortable. The best thing you can do is track the movement of the sun and compare that to the position of your home’s roof. From there, you can decide where the best spot would be to insert skylights.

3. Increase the visual size of your kitchen.

One of the great things about skylights is their superb ability to make a small, compact room look much larger than it really is. This is a fantastic technique for anyone who is planning on selling their home. Mirrors can also act as complements; natural lighting from skylights combined with the elegance of mirrors can really maximize the visual size of your kitchen. 

4. Better ventilation

Fresh air has been shown to help boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, decrease stress and anxiety, and improve overall respiratory health. When shopping for skylights, you may want to consider choosing ones that can be easily cracked or opened. By increasing your home’s ventilation, you’ll also be able to cool down the inside temperature of your living area without turning to the air conditioning system.

5. Increased vitamin D intake

For those that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), skylights can definitely be of help.  Incorporating skylights into your kitchen can maximize Vitamin D, a necessary vitamin produced by the sunlight, intake. Supplements can help meet daily vitamin D requirements, but these supplements won’t do much for someone who suffers from S.A.D., who need to be exposed to the sun to get their daily dose of Vitamin D.

6. Greater privacy

Choosing skylights over additional windows will allow you to reap the benefits of natural lighting while helping you enjoy greater privacy. This is especially true for those who live in neighborhoods with little free space between houses. Large windows are nice, but unless there is a great amount of space between your house and your neighbor’s, your privacy might be compromised.

7. Boost the value of your home

One of the benefits of inserting skylights into your home is the monetary value that they bring to the table. In fact, skylights can boost the value of your home by quite a lot, particularly if they’re solar paneled skylights. In today’s real estate market, potential buyers tend to favor homes with more eco-friendly amenities. 

Things to consider before investing in skylights

Before you decide to go ahead and install skylights, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. These include:

1. Unnecessary leaks

When it comes to skylights, as with most products, it’s best to use a quality brand. In addition to this, ensure that your skylights are installed by a company or a contractor with references on hand and experience. Cheap skylights and skylights that aren’t installed correctly can result in energy leaks. These energy leaks can cause heating or cooling systems to work harder. As a result, your monthly energy bills may get jacked up.

2. Expensive costs

Investing in skylights and hiring a company or a contractor to install them for you can get quite expensive. Basic skylights can range from $500 to $1,500 and if you’re in the market for the more expensive solar paneled skylights, expect to pay upwards of $2,000. Nonetheless, the investment is one that pays for itself in no time.

It is important to note that if you do decide to integrate solar paneled skylights into your kitchen, you may be eligible for a tax credit under the Emergency Stabilization Act of 2008 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Qualified homeowners are eligible until 2021. Now you can be eco-friendly and enjoy the luxury of skylights for a lower cost.

3. Moisture issues

As already stated, choosing name-brand skylights and hiring an accomplished contractor to install them correctly is essential for stopping energy leaks. However, quality products and labor are also important in eliminating moisture leaks. When moisture seeps in, bacteria, fungus, and mold can start to accumulate which can lead to structural damage of other parts of your home. Regular maintenance and proper ventilation can also help prevent these issues from happening.

4. Fading

If you have granite, marble, or quartz countertops in your kitchen, then you should already know that sealing them regularly is important. However, even if you seal your countertops properly, constant glare can still fade the surfaces over time. The glare from the sun can also fade the fabric on your couch and the color of your carpet too. So, what can be done about it?

First, consider the placement of your skylights. If the placement aligns with the path of the sun, then keeping surfaces, carpet, and the fabric away from the sun’s glare may not be a feasible option. In this case, you may have to seal your countertops more often and use more coats for better protection. As far as your carpet and the fabric on your couch, there are several carpet and fabric protective sprays that can be used on a more regular basis to protect your possessions from fading.

A second option is to tint your kitchen skylights with a UV ray protective film. This is the same kind of tint you’d use on a vehicle’s windshield. This isn’t a very expensive upgrade, but it is important to note that when coating skylights with this UV protectant film, the natural light won’t beautify a kitchen nearly as much as it would without the protective tint.

Another option is to incorporate filtered window panes. These window panes are designed to stop harmful UV rays, responsible for fading, while still allowing natural light to bathe your kitchen.

A few final thoughts

Now that you know some of the benefits and caveats of skylights, it’s up to you to decide whether or not skylights are right for your kitchen. However, before you make your final decision, check out the Q and A section listed below. These are some common questions homeowners have when it comes to skylights:

What direction should my skylights face?

Most home improvement professionals agree that east facing skylights guarantee both warmth and light in the morning. On the other hand, if you face your skylights to the west, you’ll get warmth and light in the afternoon. Now, if your skylights are facing north, you’ll get consistent light throughout the day, but you’ll also experience cool illumination. Homeowners who face their skylights to the south will maximize the amount of heat they’ll receive throughout the winter months, but during the summer the heat may be excessive, depending on the location.

How often do I need to replace my skylights?

Skylights only need to be replaced when they physically break. However, it’s advised that you replace your skylights whenever work is done on the roof of your house. Why? Roofing work can agitate both the frame and the seal of a skylight and the two most likely won’t be as tight. To add to this, skylights are much easier to install when redoing a roof. By doing so, you’ll save time, money, and a lot of hassle.

Do skylights need planning permission from the city?

For most communities, a permit is not needed unless you’re doing electrical or plumbing work. It is important that you check with your local government first, though. Not every community is run by the same laws and taking the time to check will save you a lot of time and trouble.

What is the life expectancy of a kitchen skylight?

Generally, a skylight can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years with the proper maintenance. This includes re-flashing, resealing, and properly cleaning it on a regular basis. As mentioned above, it’s advisable to replace skylights when replacing your roof.

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