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Bathrooms tend to be the most private spaces in our homes, and many rely on artificial light for lighting up the bathroom. While artificial lighting is okay, it’s also true that daylight and fresh air are important for bathrooms.
But the question is: how can you add natural light to our bathroom without sacrificing privacy?
Whether your bathroom has no natural light coming in because it has zero windows or you simply want to maximize the amount of natural light, skylights are a great way to bring transformative natural light into your space.
So, What are Skylights?
Simply defined as a window on your roof, skylights flood the bathroom space with natural, bright light from above and complement your bathroom’s décor.
In bathrooms, the most common types of skylights installed are:
- Tubular skylights that capture sunlight on the roof and reflect it down a tube into a fixture in the ceiling.
- Vented/ventilated skylights that can open up to let air flow through them (like a window). Since vented skylights are built into the roof, they typically let in hot air out of the attic.
- Fixed skylights that are just like vented skylights only that they are totally sealed to the roof, therefore, they do not open up to allow any airflow.
Why Do People Put Skylights In Bathrooms?
Since bathroom windows are rarely opened or free of blinds because privacy is essential for your bathroom, skylights are then important, providing natural light from above to illuminate your space without sacrificing your privacy.
More so, skylights help to prevent damp conditions in your bathroom that facilitate mold growth, lower electric bills and cancel out the need for a bathroom fan. They are especially good for windowless bathrooms.
In basic terms, a skylight is installed for daylighting and ventilation purposes.
So, on your next remodel, have a professional installer install a skylight in your bathroom and you’ll have a brightened-up space with natural light.
5 Functional Bathroom Lighting Ideas With Skylights
There are different ways to lighten up and brighten your bathroom interiors, and using skylights is one of the ways.
But first, after deciding to add skylights to your bathroom, you definitely want to consider:
- Their placement on the roof because the roof’s construction will determine how it can be positioned to ensure no crevices are left to give room for leaks or bugs.
- The direction your skylight will be facing.
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the southern face of our homes will receive the most direct sunlight throughout the day.
If your bathroom is near such a side, you’ll receive plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day, which means more heat coming into your bathroom.
If you live in a warmer area, it would be wise to have energy-efficient skylights, and adding solar reflective glazing can help manage the heat, and significantly reduce the glare, whilst providing a great view of the outside.
- How much natural light you want.
For instance, skylights facing north will give you a bright and consistent amount of natural light throughout the day without absorbing or releasing much heat, while eastern-facing skylights will give you that nice morning light.
Skylights that face south will provide extra heat in the winter but may retain much heat in the summer while west-facing installations will give you sunlight in the afternoon.
You also want to look at any trees or other obstructions around your home as this can help you decide what direction to face your new bathroom skylight.
- The placement of your bathroom within the home. This will dictate the type of skylight to be used.
For instance, a vented skylight would be perfect for an attic bathroom while tubular skylights can be installed in almost any part of the house, so your bathroom does not need to be right below the ceiling.
We recommend having a professional installer that can envision all these factors before installing your bathroom skylight to ensure the results.
Yes, skylights work best in attic bathrooms, bathrooms for one-story houses, or in top-floor bathrooms, but here are a few more functional ideas for installing skylights in your bathroom:
1. Add Light & Air From Above In The Shower
Add a roof window over a shower that needs both light and venting.
A roof window is an operable skylight that provides a chance to air out a steamy room while allowing for tons of daylight.
Roof windows like this are not terribly hard to install as long as the bathroom is located right underneath the roof rather than under another room.
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2. Spread the Light with a Flared Skylight Shaft
Where your bathroom is limited to clerestory windows ( large windows or a series of small windows that sit above eye level, along the top of a structure’s wall, usually at or near the roofline to allow more light to illuminate your space), you can find much-needed natural light by adding a large skylight.
The skylight in this bathroom is not only sizable but it has also been installed in a flared shaft, ensuring the light penetrates throughout the bathroom.
A four-way flared shaft, therefore, allows one skylight to balance the direct light of the windows and reduce glare.
While retrofitting your bathroom with a big skylight and flared shaft involves a lot of expense and work, the stunning benefits are pretty obvious—and obviously pretty.
3. Introduce Unexpected Illumination with Tunnel Skylights
Use tubular skylights to light a bathroom with specific spots of daylight.
These unique fixtures are literally tunnels routed from a lens in the roof, down through a reflective tube, to a lens in the ceiling.
Because of the way the ceiling lens is made and installed, it disperses light and brightens the room far more than the small size would indicate.
With tunnel skylights, you can brighten any bathroom far beyond what you might anticipate. See the difference between a room lit by artificial fixtures (left) and the same room equipped with a tunnel skylight (right). The difference is astounding.
4. Soak A Bathtub With Natural Light From Above
Make an attic or top floor bathroom a stunning sun-washed space by adding basic skylights. The impact of even simple flat skylights is incredibly powerful.
At night, these units read black, and artificial light creates a different atmosphere in the room. During the day, the room needs no help to be perfectly illuminated.
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5. Light Up the Plants
Looking for ways to bring nature inside the bathroom? Use skylights to provide ample natural light for plants in your bathroom.
In this bathroom, the VELUX USA sun tunnel skylight is used to provide natural for the hanging plants.
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Do Skylights Make The Bathroom Hot?
Skylights can be wonderful additions to the bathroom because they let in natural light without taking up wall space as a window does. More so, you also get an added bonus of privacy in the bathroom.
However, many homeowners find that with natural light comes unwanted natural heat. While this can actually be beneficial in the wintertime, who needs extra heat in the summer?
- As a fix for this, go for skylights with integrated shades that are powered to open or close automatically with the flip of a button from down or motorized blinds available to allow a room darkening effect as well as heat protection during times of brightest sunlight.
- Also, a skylight with a solar-powered blind is great since it is designed to harness the power of the sun to control the amount of daylight entering through your skylight.
The VELUX fixed skylights are a great example. These skylights come with all the convenience of remote- or smartphone-controlled shades to diffuse or block the light when needed.
Plus, they add a layer of insulation, boosting your skylight’s energy performance — by 45% with room-darkening shades and by 39% with light-filtering shades. When not in use, they seamlessly tuck away in a sleek cartridge that blends into the skylight frame.
How Do I Stop Condensation On My Bathroom Skylight?
When warm, moist air rises to the roof from showering, majorly, and comes into contact with the colder glass surface that is impacted by outside temperatures and weather conditions, skylight condensation occurs.
Therefore, as pockets of air become saturated with moisture, they are released in the form of water droplets.
This is most prevalent in the colder, winter months due to the greater extremes in temperature between the internal pane of a skylight and an external pane of a skylight.
To check if condensation has occurred on your skylights, you can see the mist-like conditions that form and cloud the interior glass pane. This is mostly the case with low-value, poorly manufactured skylights.
Other ways to spot skylight condensation include peeling paint on bathroom walls, mold or mildew forming on walls, rotting of the wood between outside walls, as well as deteriorating floor tiles and bathroom furniture.
To prevent condensation from your bathroom skylight:
- Use bathroom vents to allow hot air to rise and be released outside rather than settle onto skylight panes. This ceiling mount bathroom exhaust fan with LED light is a great choice.
- Use vented skylights that open to expel hot air out.
- Keep windows, or window blinds and shades open to encourage warm air to circulate around your windows.
In cases where condensation had already happened, you want to follow these solutions to bring an end to damp, musty interiors caused by your skylight:
- Have your skylights professionally fitted and fully insulated to prevent small gaps from forming in the outer panels of your skylight.
- Using silicone caulk to cover any gaps, cracks, or holes in skylight joints or corners.
The Gorilla sealant is excellent for any heavy-duty or touch-up project. It is waterproof, mold-and mildew-resistant, and dries in as fast as 30 minutes therefore perfect for both indoor and outdoor use for sealing gaps.
- Ensuring your flashing is properly done by a qualified roofing expert.
As a critical part of skylight installation, the flashing secures the skylight joints which receive most of the water to prevent seepage into the house, thereby directing water away from vulnerable areas into the gutters.
- Remove all dirt, moisture, leaves, and any other debris that has accumulated around the flashing, a dam that allows for condensation and water to seep inside.
- Ensure your skylight’s weather-stripping is in good condition, otherwise, it is prudent to replace it.
TAKE NOTE: If you live in a heavily wooded area, rural area, or wet area, it is important to frequently maintain your bathroom skylight using the solutions above as part of preventative skylight condensation maintenance.
How Do You Vent A Bathroom With A Skylight?
It’s no secret that bathrooms can become damp and be filled with unpleasant odors, more so, when you have no windows to expel the moisture.
When they’re dark, musty, and turning green in the corners thanks to the growing mold, happiness is hard to find. The worst-case scenario is an ensuite bathroom in the middle of the house with no external windows for light and air. Yuk.
In such a case, try these ways to vent a bathroom with a skylight:
- Consider installing a venting skylight that can be opened and closed whenever you wish, and natural airflow will ventilate the bathroom.
We love the VELUX “Fresh Air” Skylights vent that allows the airing of your bathroom throughout the day, preventing moisture and unsavory scents from lingering.
- Attach an exhaust kit to your tubular skylight that is enough to vent a bathroom and shower stall, therefore, preventing moisture buildup.
- You can also have both the skylight and the bathroom vent, especially if you have the wall or roof space for it.
How To Keep Bugs & Flies Out of a Skylight
It can be amazing to see how much light a skylight can let into your bathroom, even after sundown.
Unfortunately, many homeowners complain that within a couple of months, flies start crowding around the opening, inside or outside of a fixed skylight.
Sometimes, bugs get into tubular skylights and just keep accumulating. Yes, the light is amazing but the bugs look terrible and are unavoidable when you look at it.
In the latter case, bugs and flies get into a skylight through the tiniest of gaps as they follow the light, and since they aren’t able to get into the bathroom because the ceiling fixture is tight, they die and lay on the disk at the bath ceiling, which is unsightly.
To keep such bugs and flies out of your bathroom skylight so they are not able to get in there in the first place:
- Ensure all cracks, gaps and crevices are completely sealed off during installation so flies remain outside. For tubular skylights, this also includes all screw heads, holes, or tubing seams. You can cover them with aluminum tape to prevent other insects from getting into the tubing.
Flying insects such as gnats and fruit flies love to congregate and lay eggs on the skylight’s surface because it’s undisturbed. To kill these clusters instantly:
- Get cypermethrin insecticide and spray it on the soffit, gutters, and external areas around the skylights. Repeat this monthly. You can also spray hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol/isopropyl alcohol.
How To Clean A Bathroom Skylight
Mild, soapy water or a water and vinegar solution is all you need to get a skylight clean, no matter its material. We use it and it works well.
Never use ammonia, alcohol, or petroleum-based household cleaning products, such as Windex, on skylights, as they may damage the material.
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Skylights can make the interior of any bathroom feel bigger and brighter.
They are such practical additions to your bathroom, but they can also be dramatic and captivating showstoppers that fill the space with a sense of excitement and architectural beauty. Therefore, you can add a skylight to a bathroom.