Skylight Types

Most popular styles

There are a wide variety of different skylighting options each with their own strengths and weaknesses. When deciding the right skylight for the job there are some important considerations. How much light is needed? How might heat or radiation from the sun affect the room below? What unforeseen structural barriers might inhibit or constrict a skylight installation?

With so many choices it is important to know the factors involved so you can enjoy all the benefits of a skylight for years to come. Freelite will help make sure your decision is the right one, but we encourage our customers to take some time and learn more themselves. Here are a few of the most common types of skylights and a little bit about what you can expect from them.

  • Acrylic Dome

    A  set of 3 acrylic domes on a black composite shingle roof.

    These domes are made of strong, flexible plastic and are sometimes referred to as the brand name Plexiglass. There are many types of tinting availabe, but white, bronze, and clear are the most common. The frosted or white glazing offers the best diffusion; spreading the sun's rays evenly throughout the room for a great affect. Most acrylic skylights come with two layers for greater protection and insulation. A thicker outer layer that is tinted and a thinner clear inner layer. Acrylic skylights are a very affordable option that typically lasts 15 - 20 years and often much longer.

  • Flat Glass Skylight

    A set of 3 glass skylights on a flat roof with a 2 foot curb.

    Many consider this the most attractive skylight with a sleek design and a discrete change to your roof's exterior profile. Often times glass skylights are referred to as roof windows and are the primary style of the popular Velux brand. These skylights are sturdy and provide good insulation against thermal conduction. Glass skylights are more expensive than their acrylic counter parts and don't offer as many options for glazing. One of the greatest benefits of this unit type is that it is completely transparent allowing for a view of the sky above.

  • Tube Skylight

    A tubular skylight on a black 3 tab shingled roof.

    Tubular shaped skylights such as the Velux Sun Tunnel are a great way to brighten up smaller spaces. There are two major types: one rigid and one flexible. The rigid variety are coated with a mirrored finished on the interior which maximizes the amount of light that reaches the room below. The flexible kind are made of a reflective materials that can be easily shaped around obstructions, but do not maintain the same light intensity. Tubed skylights are perfect for small rooms such as bathrooms, closets, hallways, etc..

  • Pyramid or Vaulted Skylight

    A pyramid style skylight with 3 glass panels on each side on a Spanish tile roof.

    These are a bigger skylight units made of multiple sections to brighten larger spaces. Pyramid and vaulted skylights can be more than 20 feet wide and as long as any building they are installed on. It is common for these units to be fitted with either glass or plastic allowing for a lot of flexibility in design. Usually the panels can be interchanged individually and it is not required to disassemble the entire unit. Although over time the drainage tracts can be filled with dirt and debris that will need to be removed. It is also common for the seals to deteriorate before the panels, leading to air and water leaks. These skylights are most appropriate for lobbies, entry ways, and other larger spaces.