What are the Best Tips for Skylight Installation?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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Installing a window in your home is one thing, but skylight installation is much more difficult. There are several tips that will help home improvement aficionados decide whether skylight installation is a task that they want to delve into or, in the alternative, whether they want to hire a professional. Time, effort, balance, and attention to details are important before jumping into this project.

First, consider the size of the skylight; the bigger it is the more work the project will involve. If the skylight is wider than 13 ¾ inches (34.9 cm), then the project may also entail cutting through a roof rafter. Cutting through a roof rafter means there is much more detailed and technical work ahead. For example, if the roof rafter is cut, then that part of the roof must be reframed so that the structure will not be compromised. Reframing the roof involves doubling the rafters on each side of the opening for the skylight and framing in double headers below and above the opening, as well.

Details are extremely important for skylight installation. The opening in the roof, the attic floor, and the ceiling must be precisely aligned. If they are misaligned, the skylight will not fit into the spot and the mistake will require much more time and money to correct.


When initially creating the opening, start on the roof. Cut through the shingles and the underlying plywood. The simplest way to begin is to use a circular saw and make a plunge cut through the roof. In other words, take the circular saw and rest the toe of the saw against the roof. Then, start the saw and slowly lower the blade into the shingles and plywood of the roof – all while the blade is spinning.

The next part of skylight installation is tricky, involving balance and strength. Even after the cuts are made with the circular saw, the plywood will likely be nailed to a center rafter. It is important to remove the plywood from the rafter, while maintaining perfect balance. In addition, most skylights weigh between 35 and 125 pounds (15.88 to 56.7 kg). Again, the heaviness and bulkiness of the skylight requires balance and strength to get the skylight onto the roof for installation.

Leaking is always an issue with skylight installation. To prevent leaks, it is advised to put felt paper, flashing, and even shingles into place around the skylight. In addition, insulation should also be considered. Insulation will prevent needless energy loss from the home, and it can also prevent condensation from developing.

Lastly, the light shaft between the room and the roof must be properly framed, drywalled, and even finished. In addition, one of the shaft walls will have a slope making the finishing process a bit more complicated. For greater detailed tips or instructions, it is best to consult an expert in the field of skylight installation.


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Post 1

Skylights are easier to install. A skylight installation is actually simpler to perform that putting in a window. A professional can do this in a couple of hours and this is a product that homeowners will enjoy for many years to come.

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