What are Skylight Shades?

Malcolm Tatum

Skylight shades are specially designed window coverings that are used to block sunlight from entering a space via a skylight. In some cases, the shades offer complete blockage, while others simple filter and subdue the amount of light that is allowed into the room. There are a number of different designs for these unique versions of window shades, each of them focused on producing a slightly different result.

Skylight shades are designed to block sunlight from entering a skylight.
Skylight shades are designed to block sunlight from entering a skylight.

While the main function of a skylight is to allow natural light into a space, there are times when home or business owners may wish to limit the amount of exposure to sunlight that takes place at various times during the day. When this is the case, a simple shade constructed with fabric that is thick enough to minimize the brightness of the light coming through the skylight may be ideal. The fabric can be mounted onto a wood or metal frame that is controlled with a hand crank or by electronic hydraulics, making it easy to move the shade into position when needed and out of the way when full exposure to daylight is desired.

For privacy purposes, there are skylight shades that can provide complete blockage of the view into the space. These can be helpful in homes surrounded by taller buildings, making it possible to effectively close the skylight at night when everyone is home and would like some privacy. Skylight shades of this type may effectively function as blackout shades and be a solid piece that is moved into position, or look somewhat like standard mini-blinds that remain in place and can be opened and closed at will.

When energy conservation is the focus, it is possible to purchase skylight shades that are constructed with durable fabric for the interior side and backed with a thin layer of aluminum filament on the exterior side. The aluminum filament effectively reflects sunlight without warming the skylight shades to any great degree. As a result, the interior of the space can remain at a comfortable temperature without having to run a cooling system in order to compensate for the heat generated by the skylight.

It is not unusual for some skylight shades to be constructed in a design that is reminiscent of old fashioned shutters. This design calls for decorative panels positioned on each side of the skylight. When desired, the panels are closed and locked into position to block the sun or to create privacy. As with other models, they can be controlled with hand cranks or with electric powered hydraulics.

Pricing for various designs of skylight shades will depend on several factors, including the size of the skylight, the functions required of the blinds or shades, and the materials used to construct the shades. Typically, skylight shades operated with a crank are less expensive than those operated with a motorized hydraulic system, although that is not automatically the case.

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