Skylights are a wonderful way to let more natural light into your log home. They are much more efficient at allowing light into the home than wall-mounted windows, and the natural light they admit has been shown to have positive psychological effects and lead to increased productivity. In this post, we will discuss how skylights may be the perfect addition to your log home, and how many of the perceived drawbacks of skylights have been minimized with modern materials and building practices.
Skylights provide many benefits to the log home owner. Since they allow copious amounts of light into the home, skylights reduce your electricity used for lighting, which accounts for 13% of the average electric bill. The light is also of much higher quality, since the full-spectrum light of the sun cannot be matched by normal fluorescent or incandescent lights. The natural light also increases your home’s visual appeal, showcasing your home’s beauty and bringing out its true colors.
Skylights have a reputation for leaking, but these issues are almost always caused by improper installation. When properly installed with a curb (a raised, watertight lip on the roof to deflect water away from the skylight), flashing and sealants, a skylight has little chance of leaking. Another misconception about skylights is that they can only be installed where the ceiling of a room adjoins the roof, but a light tube allows for natural light where the roof is further from the ceiling of the illuminated room. These small skylights consist of a domed aperture on the roof to collect light and a reflective tube that ducts the light to the fixture where the light is dispersed. They install much faster than traditional skylights and the tube can be up to 20 feet in length, although this system only directs the suns light into a room and does not allow you to view the sky.
Although the light that skylights allow into a room is a huge attraction, the heat that they allow into a room can be a concern in the summertime. As with other windows, skylights are now better insulated and glazed to reflect non-visible light, which helps control solar heating. Placement of the skylight can also help control heating; a roof sloped to the north will never get direct sun and thus cause little room heating, while a skylight on an easterly or westerly sloped roof can be used to provide morning or evening heat to a room. For a south-facing skylight, natural shade can help control heating; use deciduous trees to provide shade in the summer while allowing more heat and light in the winter when it is needed. Skylights can be purchased with integrated shades, which are a great way to control the lighting levels no matter the season.
If you're ready to start designing your own log home, with or without skylights, please feel free to contact Real Log Homes to get started on planning your very own new log home.