How to Choose the Perfect Window Covering for Your Skylight

Sep 11

From cutting down the need for artificial lighting to providing great ventilation, skylights can work wonders for any room, if you choose the right kind. You can use them to light up your home or simply make an architectural statement. Whatever the reason, custom window blinds and shades give you better control over the heat and light you let into your house. In this regard, skylight shades are a good choice because they are well-insulated window coverings that completely block light. They come in different colours and patterns and are a perfect solution for keeping out unwanted sunlight, especially during the summer months.

Special Window Treatments for Skylights

Skylights are they are windows installed in your roof, intended to illuminate dark interiors, especially in rooms that do not receive enough natural light from windows on the walls.  These special windows provide your home with an abundance of natural light and warmth. As mentioned, they increase its architectural value and offer many benefits, such as making extra room in your attic and accentuating the appearance of your corridors, kitchen and other rooms. Seems like a magical design choice, doesn’t it?

That said, skylights may invite a little too much heat into your home in summer. That means your air conditioner is working overtime. Harmful UV rays can add to your discomfort, not to mention fade your interiors, including furniture. In winter, heat gets lost through skylights for the same reason. And let’s not forget irritating water leakage thanks to spring rains! Simply put, they damage your home’s energy efficiency.

Window treatment for skylight

Heat Loss Through Skylights

It is a well-known fact that windows lose much more heat compared to an equal area of the adjacent wall; 20 times more in fact. This measure is your home’s R-value, which is the ability to resist heat flow through an insulating substance. Compared to roofs and walls, glass tends to have poor R-value.

Skylights too have an R-value that is almost a fraction of that of a similar amount of area on the roof or wall.

Draft Loop

Before we delve into the details, let’s learn a little bit about what a draft loop is.

Air works in an interesting way. When warm air rises and reaches the sloped or horizontal glass panel on your roof, it circulates back down. This convection of air results in more warm air rising, causing a draft loop.

In the case of skylights, heat is also lost via radiation, where it is transferred from one object to another without affecting the air. This happens since skylights are usually left unprotected, unlike covered vertical windows.

There is also a “curb” or supporting frame in skylights that helps to fit them between rafters. This increases their total surface area, allowing more heat loss.

Choosing Proper Skylight Shading Materials

As you may have guessed, skylights, despite being an excellent feature, are problematic to your home’s energy efficiency. This is where insulated window coverings come into the picture.

Proper shading, which is an operable fabric system, is deployed as a shield to provide protection. There are options when it comes to the materials you choose for your skylight shades, from more economical aluminum blinds to blackout cellular shades.

Aluminum Blinds for Skylights

Pros

These are an inexpensive solution to shading your skylights.

Aluminum blinds are a type of fixed and hard skylight window covering. The vanes allow light to enter at the desired angle, or you can shut out light completely.

These blinds are rustproof and withstand moisture, even rain.

Cons

Installing sturdy aluminum blinds at an angle, or even horizontally, can stress them. This will eventually cause some effect.

Being made of metal, these blinds are good heat conductors. This can mean undesired heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter, nullifying the reason for installing them in the first place.

Blinds for Skylight Covering

Blackout Cellular Shades

Blackout materials are the best choice to protect your room from the sun. This is particularly useful when you have a skylight in a bedroom and need to darken the room to get undisturbed sleep. With cellular blackout shades, you enjoy the benefits of both worlds – blackout material and cellular structure.

On that note, cellular shades are noted for their energy efficiency. Their honeycomb compartments trap air such that it acts as a temperature barrier between the inside and outside, thus maintaining a balance indoors. The insulation is also a significant barrier against sound. Choose a variant that has more cell layers to get more acoustic and thermal insulation.

The opacity of cellular shade fabric also influences the amount of light and sound that gets in. Cellular shade fabric is usually of a woven or non-woven variety and made of durable polyester. They are available in sheer, light-filtering, room-darkening and blackout varieties.

There are also specially designed and certified “sleep” shades made for skylights. These block all light, making them the best choice for anyone who sleeps during the day.

Venetian Blinds: A Special Mention

Those who like to have complete control over their environment will prefer Venetian blinds. These offer a full range between open and closed, which means you determine how much light gets into the room.

If you love an airy and bright interior, skylights are a versatile architectural addition to any home. But shades are necessary too. This is where a great-fitting blind or shade comes in handy. When you know the factors that go into making the right choice, finding the best window treatments for your skylight becomes easy.

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