Skylights done right

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

(This is Part 1 of a two-part series. See Part 2: Small-scale model helps see the skylight.) Adding a skylight is among the most popular do-it-yourself projects around. Too often, though, people decide where to put in their skylight by gosh and by golly, and then just hope for the best. For shame: like any other remodeling project, a skylight installation demands a little planning to avoid an expensive disappointment. A few simple rules can help ensure that your skylight not only goes in easily and looks good when it's finished, but also brings in light where and when you want it. Rule one: don't expect a skylight to do a window's job. A well-placed window is inherently better at daylighting than a skylight, since it automatically admits more low-angle winter sun when it's welcome, and blocks the high-angle summer sun when it's not needed. A typical skylight does just the opposite: Being much closer to horizontal, it tends to block the winter sun, yet lets the hot summer sun pour in j...