Frequently Asked Questions
You probably have questions about skylights and renovations. Below are frequently asked questions. If you have a question that is not answered on this list, please call us at (416) 540-4232, or contact us here.
What does deck-mounted and curb-mounted skylights mean and what are their differences?
Deck-mounted skylights (usually with glass lenses) are attached directly to the bare roof deck sheathing. In the case of Velux, their frames are made of wood and designed to mate with drywall on the interior. Curb-mount skylights are placed like a cap on top of a constructed box-like structure called a curb therefore making it higher off the roofline. Curb mounted skylights are excellent for replacements because they are more compatible with existing hole sizes. They also have more glass area when compared to the equivalent deck-mounted size.
How do I know what roof structure I have?
There are two basic styles of roof structure. One is considered hand built (16" centers) the other is truss construction. Most modern homes (post 1965) are built with trusses. Hand build roofs offer many possibilities for restructuring to allow different types of skylight tunnels to be built. Truss roofs are built of prefabricated roof sections that are installed every 24". They are an engineered system that does not allow very much modification.
What does self-flashing mean?
Self flashing means the skylight has a large flat flange around the perimeter of the skylight (built in flashing) which is used to tie in directly with the roof shingles, because caulking is often used in this style of skylight installation it tends to have a very limited life span due to the breakdown of the caulking.
What can I expect to get with an opening-type of skylight?
All opening glass skylights come with a removable screen as standard.
We recommend the Velux brand if you wish the new skylight to have opening capability. Velux makes two modes of openers: electric opening with a remote or manual opening with a rod up to a maximum of 13 foot reach. Due to their complexity, the cost of openers is higher than fixed skylights . Electric openers also have automatic rain sensors and are the most expensive of the two opener types.
How are Velux Suntunnels insulated?
At the ceiling level, behind the circular light diffuser panel, there is a second clear panel sealed in place with a rubber gasket, creating a sealed space to prevent heat loss in the home from going up the suntunnel tube. The tubes themselves in the attic are not insulated.
Tell me about the differences in Velux glass types.
Velux skylights are available, with a few exceptions, in both tempered (Comfort) and upgraded laminated (Comfort Plus) glass. Comfort glass is two-pane layered whereas ComfortPlus is three-paned and held together with a thin film, similar to a vehicle windshield., in case of a severe hit. Comfortplus is recommended if the skylight is below a large object that may fall on it or when better sound insulation is desired. By default , we quote and install on Comfort glass option unless the upgrade is requested.
What choices do I have for blinds and shades?
For Velux skylights, venetians, cellular and lightblock shades and awnings are available depending on whether the glass skylight is deck-mounted or curb-mounted , and whether the skylight has opening capability. Our showroom has examples. For domed skylights, window blind manufacturer products can be used. Please phone us for more details.
What is your typical transaction process from first contact to completion?
Your initial contact to us can be by phone, email, fax, or drop-in. We would get basic information about your needs then arrange a convenient date for a no-cost estimate appointment with a salesrep, usually done within a week. Based on the appointment, a written estimate would be prepared for your review, either during the onsite visit or sent to you afterward. Also shown is the expected job duration (length). Replacements typically take shorter time than full install jobs. The estimate becomes the contract if you decide to go ahead. We would then require a deposit of 10% of the total job (including HST). Deposits can be by credit card or personal cheque. Your job is then put on the queue for scheduling. The lead time between deposit dates and actual job date will vary throughout the year, typically 1 to 4 weeks. The wait time is longer in busier months. We consult with you regarding the target job date beforehand. Upon completion of the job the balance is due and payable by cheque only. Warranty on labour and installation is 10 years. Your blue copy of the contract, given to you during the job, is your receipt and for the warranty. We welcome written testimonials.
What factors determine my job price for a full install?
The main criteria for cost will be the size of the skylight, if it has opening capability, and most importantly the length of light tunnel to construct.
How long does a full installation take?
This depends mostly on the height and size of the tunnel to be built. Typically 2 to 3 days is required.
Will a new skylight affect my heating and cooling?
No. Modern skylights have high efficiency glazings (low-E glass) which do not allow the heat to come in the summer time or the heat to escape in the winter time. An opening skylight can allow the hot air from the house to escape making the air conditioning much more effective. In fact "Now my air conditioning works up stairs" is something we often hear from our customers.
Why do you recommend "flaring" walls?
Flaring refers to ensuring the skylight opening at the ceiling is larger than at the roof. Flaring not only looks better, it helps spread the natural light across a greater area of the room. If you don't flare the light tunel from the roof, you'll get something that looks like a mine shaft!
Do your renovations, installations and repairs meet building code?
Meeting building code is not good enough for our us. Building codes set a minimum level of installation. We believe our customers deserve better than "minimum," and for that reason we ensure our work exceeds building code standards.
Does Skylights Unlimited undertake renovation work?
Yes! It's an exciting area for us. Of course, the focus of our renovation work is to bring all the benefits of skylights to the rennovated area, be it a loft, cathedral ceiling, kitchen or bathroom.
Does adding a skylight add to the value of a home?
We believe it does. We're told by real estate agents that quality skylights improve houses for all the reasons we mention in the website -- openness, natural lighting, improved air circulation, improved energy efficiency, and often a better view. As well, quality skylights properly installed allow for maximum usage of a house. No more wasted space in the loft!
How does a skylight on my top floor improve my air conditioning?
If you put a skylight that opens at the highest point in your house it will allow the hot air to escape from your home. Allowing the hot air to escape allows the cool air-conditioned air to more easily enter the upper floors. The result is a more even temperature throughout the house -- and an air conditioning unit that runs less.
How can I leave my skylight open when I'm not home? What if it rains?
Many modern skylights incorporate motors to open and close them. Add a rain sensor, and your skylight will close if it detects rain. You get all the benefits of an opening skylight without the worry about rain entering your house.
Why is natural light important?
Natural light is fundamental to the quality of our lives and living environments. More than any other element, its many moods and variations can help you make a house a real home. Not only does it create an atmosphere, it can actually alter the way we feel about our living spaces.