Your Expert Guide to Buying a Skylight

Everything You Need to Know and More!

Why You Need a Skylight?

Collage of bedrooms with VELUX skylights

Much more than just a window on the roof, skylights are a stylish and innovative way to bring bright, beautiful daylight and fresh air into your home. And when you bring in more natural light and fresh air, you can transform your entire home.

Natural light from above is a powerful design tool, accentuating the look and feel of your home throughout the day. And when combined with fresh air, these benefits help boost your indoor air quality for overall healthier living – all while helping reduce your dependency on electric lights and air conditioning.

In a nutshell: skylights can help increase your home's property value, visually expand your space, and improve your mood while regulating your circadian rhythm. And with VELUX skylights that are easy to install, maintain, and operate, it’s even easier to see why your home needs a skylight.

Your Biggest Skylight Concerns Answered

Do skylights really leak?

The quick answer: No! VELUX skylights are engineered with three layers of water protection and backed by an industry-leading 10-year installation warranty that promises the skylights you put in your home will not leak.

But where did the concern about skylights leaking originate from? In the mid- to late-20th century, skylights were mostly made of plastic and called “bubble skylights.” This plastic was susceptible to damage from UV rays and normal weather conditions, leading the bubble skylights to become brittle and deteriorate, often resulting in leaks.

Then in the early 2000s, VELUX introduced our "No Leak" Skylights made with glass – not plastic – and three patented water protection layers. Depending on the type of skylight, these three layers include a gasket or deck seal, adhesive underlayment for secondary water protection, and engineered flashing for easy installation and primary water protection.

And to preempt any leaks whatsoever, VELUX “Fresh Air” Skylights (our line of venting “No Leak” Skylights) come equipped with rain sensors to automatically close the skylight at the first sign of rain.

How strong are skylights?

Cutting a hole in your roof to install a skylight is a big deal! After all, when it comes to skylights, the glass is the pièce de résistance. You want to make sure it holds strong up there on the roof. That's why we offer a variety of glass options designed for strength and safety so you can rest assured the VELUX skylight you install will keep your home safe below.

Laminated Glass: This glass is cleaner, quieter, and safer than any skylight glass on the market today. That's why it comes standard on our deck- and curb-mounted skylights. As laminated glass, our standard glass meets all the safety and compliance codes for out-of-reach applications and includes a 10-year Hail Breakage Warranty.

Impact Glass: Our toughest glass, Impact Glass is highly resistant to penetration from flying debris. If you live in areas prone to large storms, this glass meets the requirements for wind-borne debris protection of the International Building Code Commercial (IBC), International Residential Code (IRC), and the Florida Building Code 2001.

Snowload Glass: If you live in an area prone to heavy snowfall, Snowload Glass is the option for you. This glass is reinforced to support the added weight from accumulated snow on the skylight. And, as with every VELUX skylight, it is built to prevent leakage of any kind.

Note: The type of glass in your skylight will depend on the requirements of your city’s building codes.

Do skylights make a space hotter?

Climate control in a space with skylights can be a big worry, whether your primary concern is heat gain during the summer or heat loss during winter. That is why VELUX products are Energy Star qualified in all 50 states. Additionally, our glass skylights are tested for heat loss, heat gain, and light transmittance and then certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) to ensure quality performance.

VELUX skylights can also be paired with skylight shades! Skylight shades offer additional insulation to help mitigate heat loss and gain while giving you control over the amount of light you let into your space.

All About VELUX Skylights

Collage of kitchehs with VELUX Skylights

VELUX offers a variety of skylight options to fit any home: skylights that open and close; smart skylights with rain sensors; solar-powered skylights; large span skylights; flat roof skylights. There are more options than you might have known when it comes to selecting a skylight, so let's find the one that's perfect for your space.

What skylight models open?

Skylights that open are known as venting skylights. At VELUX, venting skylights are known as “Fresh Air” Skylights. As their name suggests, "Fresh Air" Skylights open and close to allow in fresh air in addition to abundant natural light. These innovative skylights are available in a variety of operation styles, including solar-powered, electric, and manual.
VELUX Fresh Air Skylights, Deck Mounted Skylights and Curb Mounted Skylights

Solar "Fresh Air" Skylight

VELUX Solar "Fresh Air" Skylights harness the power of the sun to open and close the unit at the touch of a button (or with your smartphone). A solar panel on the skylight’s exterior collects available daylight to charge the concealed batteries that power the skylight without cords or wires. These skylights also come equipped with a built-in rain sensor to automatically close the unit at the first sign of inclement weather. As a part of the Go Solar family, VELUX Solar “Fresh Air” Skylights are eligible for a 30% federal solar tax credit on product and installation.

VELUX Solar Powered Skylight

VELUX Solar Powered Skylight

Electric "Fresh Air" Skylight

The VELUX Electric "Fresh Air" Skylights connects to your home's electricity to open and close the unit at the touch of a button with an included remote. But don’t worry about your power going out with the skylight open: it is equipped with a rain sensor that will close it automatically (with or without electricity) at the first sign of inclement weather. These skylights are also compatible with VELUX skylight shades to complete the look of your space.

VELUX Electric Fresh Air Skylight

VELUX Electric Fresh Air Skylight

Manual "Fresh Air" Skylight

The VELUX Manual "Fresh Air" Skylight is ideal for in-reach applications where you can easily open or close your skylight with the turn of a handle. Want your skylight a little higher? This skylight also pairs with a rod used when the application is out-of-reach that can open and close your skylight.

Choose the Go Solar option (skylight paired with solar shades and VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO Gateway) to qualify for a 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit on both product and installation.

VELUX Manual Fresh Air Skylight
VELUX Manual Fresh Air Skylight in Laundry Room

What fixed skylights are available?

VELUX Fixed Skylights visually expand your space with bright, natural light and unmatched sky views. When you don’t need ventilation, fixed skylights can still bring natural light to areas of your home that you'd never thought possible.

Fixed Skylight

Fixed Skylights are a stylish, natural way to brighten your home! With their clean exterior profile, fixed skylights sit discreetly along your roof to provide consistent natural light all day without obstructing your roofline. VELUX Fixed Skylights are easy to install and compatible with VELUX pre-installed solar skylight shades to complete the look of your space.

Go Solar: VELUX Fixed Skylights are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit on product and installation when paired with solar skylight shades.

VELUX Fixed Skylights
VELUX Fixed Skylights


Want the most natural light possible? The VELUX SkyMax Skylight spans up to 10 feet, doubling the square footage of standard flat glass skylights without losing thermal efficiency.
VELUX Skymax

Flat Roof

Who says you can't install a skylight on a flat roof? Not us! VELUX Flat Roof Skylights are intended to bring natural light into homes with flat or low-pitch roofs. Designed with flat roofs in mind, these skylights feature a curved, edge-to-edge cover that allows rainwater to easily disperse off the glass. Their maintenance-free design and toughened glass also work together to make them virtually impervious to damage from the elements.
VELUX Flat Roof Skylight

Skylight Sizes

How do I know what skylight size I need?

Your skylight installer will help you determine what size skylights will best fit your home. The industry standard for a new, in-home skylight is typically 5% of the floor space in rooms with a lot of windows already and 15% of the floor space in rooms without much natural light. These ratios help keep your space as energy efficient as possible while enabling you to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air that skylights offer.

Can I combo two different size skylights?

When one skylight – or one skylight size – isn’t enough, VELUX Combi-Flashing™ is engineered to support multiple skylights grouped and installed together and help prevent leaks. Combi-Flashing requires a certain roof pitch, which your skylight installer can determine during your initial consultation. Combi-Flashing can be installed on thinner roofing materials like shingles and shakes, as well as higher-profile materials like Spanish tile.
VELUX Combi Flashing

Glass Options

What glass comes standard in VELUX skylights?

Energy-efficient LoE3-366® glass is the standard for VELUX skylights, a far superior glass to the acrylic skylights of yesteryear. We call this our Clean, Quiet & Safe Glass due to its ability to whisk away rainwater and debris to stay clean and high-tech insulation that helps block unwanted outside noise. And with their energy efficiency and durability, glass skylights do not change color over time and, when installed properly, won’t leak or allow drafts.

What glass options are available for skylights?

Depending on your location, you may need specific glass to handle the harsh weather or abide by stringent building codes. That’s why VELUX offers Impact, White Laminated, Snowload, Tempered, and our patented Clean, Quiet & Safe Glass to fit the needs of any homeowner. Whether you’re out on the snow-capped Rockies, the windswept plains of the Midwest, or are alternating between sunny beach days and hurricane warnings along the Gulf Coast, we’ve got the glass to keep your skylight standing strong.
VELUX Skylight Glass Options

Skylight Finishes and Exterior Colors

What is the standard finish or  exterior color of a skylight?

VELUX skylights feature a neutral gray color as a standard finish that blends well with most roofing materials. We also offer copper cladding upon request for select deck-mounted skylights and select roof windows. Your VELUX installer can answer more questions about the best look for your roof line.

Can I pick a different exterior color or finish?

With the exception of copper cladding for select deck-mounted skylights, VELUX SkyMax is the only skylight available with customized exterior colors and finishes. For all other skylights, the standard color or finish is neutral gray. But don't worry: neutral gray blends well with most roofing materials!
VELUX Skylight Color Options

Skylight Shades

Want to control the amount of light coming in through your skylight? Easy: add a shade!

VELUX skylight shades allow you to not only control the amount of daylight coming in but also to boost the energy efficiency of your VELUX skylights. VELUX skylight shades can improve energy efficiency by up to 45% depending on the type of shades. Skylight shades can be pre-installed with your skylight or add the shades in minutes with the patented VELUX Pick&Click!® bracket system.

VELUX offers two types of skylight shades: Room Darkening and Light Filtering in solar operation so you can mix and match the amount of daylight you want in each room. And with over 100 colors and patterns, pre-installed or special ordered, you can personalize any space!

Room Darkening Shades

Our most popular skylight shade option, Room Darkening shades are designed with a double-pleated fabric to block out a substantial amount of daylight. And when the shades are down, they can improve your skylight’s energy performance by up to 45%. Ideal for bedrooms or living rooms, VELUX Room Darkening shades are available in five in-stock colors and seven special-order colors to fit your personal style.
VELUX Skylight Shade Room Darkening

Light Filtering Shades

Where you don’t need complete darkness, VELUX Light Filtering shades are perfect for any space that needs gentle, soft diffused light. Constructed with a single-pleated fabric, these shades can improve the energy performance of your skylight but up to 39%. With white and classic sand as our top color choices, Light Filtering shades are an excellent option for your office, home gym, or kitchen. These shades are available in five pre-installed colors and eleven special-order colors.

VELUX Light Filtering Skylight Shades
Smarten up your skylights! VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO is the first smart skylight system to connect your skylights with your smartphone. With VELUX ACTIVE, you can manage your indoor climate control and operate your skylights and shades right from the palm of your hand. Set your skylights and shades to automatically open and close based on your climate preferences or take control and manually operate them with the push of a button.
VELUX Active with Netatmo

All About Skylight Installation

Deck-Mounted vs Curb-Mounted Skylights

VELUX skylights are available in deck-mounted and curb-mounted installation options. Deck-mounted skylights are nailed directly to your roof deck (the trusses and joists between the structural components of your roof). This gives them a lower profile on your roof and makes them ideal for new construction homes or new skylight cut-ins.

Curb-mounted skylights are more common on low-sloped roofs. They're installed on a curb or frame, usually made of two-by-fours, that your installer attaches to the roof. The skylight itself is then attached to the top of the curb. Think of curb-mounted skylights like a shoebox: the curb is the box and the skylight is the lid.
velux deck mounted skylights
velux curb mounted skylights

Ceiling Type

Vaulted Ceiling


Vaulted ceilings feature a single sloping slide or arched slope. That means there may be space between the ceiling and roof that requires a light shaft to complete your skylight installation.
Cathedral Ceiling


Skylights are most often associated with cathedral ceilings because that's where they're easiest to install. Without any attic space between the roof and the home's interior, there is no need to construct a light shaft. In other words, once the skylight is installed on the roof, all the work is done.
Flat Ceilings


Flat ceilings require the most additional work during a skylight installation, but it's well worth it. Once the skylight is set up on the roof, the installation process moves inside. At this point, the installer constructs a drywall light shaft surrounding the skylight. The shaft directs daylight to the room below while hiding the attic space in between.

Skylight Design Options

Flaring the Light Shaft

To maximize how sunlight spreads throughout the room, the light shaft should be constructed to be as open as possible. Sometimes, the top and bottom of the shaft will be flared outward, while on other installations, all four sides can be flared. With trussed roofs, a larger light shaft can be constructed with the trusses exposed.
Flaring Shaft

Exposing the Ceiling Trusses

Exposing the trusses in your home allows sunlight coming in through the skylights to flow further into your room, creating a brighter, airier vibe. And once exposed, you can get creative by making your new, sun-lit trusses a true design feature.

Adding Wood or Shiplap

Natural light is a great way to accentuate the natural details in your decor. Shiplap and tongue-and-groove wood can also be used to finish a skylight light shaft to create a rustic and unique shabby-chic style look.

Skylight Cost

VELUX Skylight Price Range Comparison Chart

Installing Skylights In Your Home

There are two main ways to install a skylight in your home: with an installer or roofer, or as a DIY option. Because skylights are a complex home DIY project and must be installed correctly to be eligible for warranty coverage, we recommend installing or replacing your own only if you have experience working with them before.

Installer vs DIY

Choosing to work with a professional for your skylight journey involves a skylight installer or general roofer to come to your home and work with you on design, planning, and pricing. Ideally, the installer will have your desired skylight in stock and can quickly install it. Otherwise, they will have to order it from the manufacturer.

To DIY your skylight installation, you’ll need to buy your skylight through an authorized dealer such as Lowes, Home Depot, or other home improvement store. Typically, authorized dealers are staffed by knowledgeable employees that can help you answer any questions you have on the installation process. For VELUX skylights, you’ll also need to make sure to install them with VELUX flashing to ensure warranty coverage.

Find a Professional Installer

The VELUX Installer Network is a collection of independent installers specially trained by VELUX to offer exceptional and reliable skylight installations that meet the stringent, high-quality standards set by VELUX. VELUX installers are roofers, general contractors, and trained Skylight Specialists, all qualified to ensure a smooth and professional skylight installation.

VELUX installers are here to help you during every stage of installation. They can help you determine the skylight size, order your skylights and accessories, and install them so you don't have to worry about a thing!
VELUX Certified Installers

Find a Dealer

Are ready to add skylights to your roofline yourself? An authorized dealer can provide you with all the VELUX products you need to complete your project.
VELUX Dealers

Signature Skylight Installation

For the ultimate skylight installation experience, VELUX offers as a one-stop shop for everything you need on your skylight-buying journey. Without ever leaving home, you can shop for a skylight, get a quote, schedule your installation with a VELUX Signature Skylight Specialist, and make payments (with financing options available). And if you get stuck at any point in the process, our Trusted Advisors are right there via phone, chat, or email to answer your questions and help you plan.
Get Skylights Installed

Skylight Maintenance

How easy is it to maintain a skylight?

Fortunately, most skylights require very minimal maintenance – light washing to remove debris on the exterior and spot cleaning the glass and frame on the interior can help keep your skylight in top shape for years to come.

More Questions? Talk with a VELUX Trusted Advisor

We tried to cover everything in this Skylight Buying Guide, but if you still have questions call, text, or chat with a VELUX Trusted Advisor! They’re available to answer any questions you have about skylights, your home’s skylight design options, scheduling an installation, budgeting, and more!
Talk with VELUX Trusted Advisors
VELUX Customer Stories

Customer Stories

Installers and homeowners alike love VELUX skylights! Check out the videos below for stories from real homeowners about their skylight transformations.