Skylights v sky windows

I’d like to get a sky windows or skylight in my dark kitchen.
Soooo many options - sky windows, skylights, solar lighting that looks like skylights.
Home instal v contractor.
Any advice greatly appreciated


I have looked at this question myself but so far not acted. To me these are the issues:

  • The amount of light transmitted, the documentation of each model should tell you this.
  • Remaining waterproof under all conditions. This will depend on the type of roof you have, the design of the light and the quality of installation.
  • As always, price.
  • Durability. The time the light transmission will remain as published. Could reflective or transmitting surfaces lose effectiveness through dirt or decay?
  • Heat transmission.

My assessment is that light pipes are a good compromise. They are smaller than a roof window so they transmit less light but that also makes them easier to flash into the roof and less likely to transmit heat. Many of us spend quite a bit insulating ceilings, the bigger the hole you put in the roof the less effective it is.

I would do it myself as having built the roof I know how to keep it water tight. Unless you have somebody handy who knows what they are doing (not just thinks they do) and who is safe on a roof and in the ceiling be careful as mistakes can be costly in this area. Working inside modern low pitch roofs and having to step on joists is very physically demanding.

The solar skylight look alike is new to me. It obviously removes most of the leakage risks and heat transfer problems and the installation is easier as it doesn’t pierce the roof. I guess it depends on the durability and performance versus cost. I find the idea quite attractive but I have no experience of the practical side to go on.


We have one sky window and one skylight.

The sky window was installed by a builder who created an attic for us approximately ten years ago. It made sense to put in a window as we can open it for ventilation.

The skylight has a long tube as it is located near the very centre of the house where the roof is highest. It would have involved significant additional expense to have it openable given the distance between the ceiling and the top of the roof. It was installed by a skylight specialist company approximately 15 years ago.

One modification we had to make to the skylight was replacement of the ceiling panel. We had to swap out the original panel and replace it with one that filtered out UV light. Everything within cooee of the panel was suffering from rapid colour fading in summer.


We put in a skylight (Straight tube type) for our kitchen.

It works great lighting up the dark side (no windows on two walls) of our 7x5m Kitchen. Good enough to not need a light on during the day through to near sunset. Prior to this we always needed to have a light on to work at the benches.

It was professionally installed on a 45 degree pitch CI roof facing west. It’s survived two hail storms one with hail to 4cm. Now 5 years old.

Also have a hybrid skylight for a small internal bathroom. It’s a 2m open square shaft from the ceiling up to roof level, with a ventilated square acrylic cover. Installed as part of the original build. It lets plenty of light in and hot air out. The top cover cracked after approx 15 years, storm damage possibly. The replacement is now closer to 17 years old. The replacement cover was a slightly larger dimension. It’s on a standard 22degree pitch CI roof. Heavy rain and wind can cause spray to come in thru the vent slots.

When we redo the bathroom we’ll upgrade the lining from plasterboard to water proof bathroom sheeting. The option of a high impact resistant glass replacement and better sealing would be great.

DIY - having done some roofing work and observed how the professionals did our more recent install it is not something I’d be keen to take on. It is prescribed work which may risk knock backs on insurance claims if the roof leaks or it fails. 50/50 as to what any assessor might observe. We’ve previously needed to make a large claim for a bathroom after a vent pipe seal failed. The insurer required detailed pics of the failed seal and water path, after which they still sent out a professional to assess in person! If the work is obviously a recent upgrade the insurer may be looking to the installer’s insurer to save them some cash?

Some roofs will be easier or harder to self install. Cutting and shaping the materials, iron, tiles etc will require some skill and tools that many may need to purchase. For a one of job it’s simpler and possibly cost effective to pay the supplier or builder to do the install IMO.

Don’t forget warranty.


Thanks everyone… this my first time on the forum and my first month signed up to Choice…
Life before Choice was certainly less informed :heart_eyes: thanks again