Viewing Your Home in a Whole New Light
Living in the dark
A friend of mine lives in a beautiful home. The kitchen is large and functional, blending into a spacious great room. The floors and countertops are tastefully covered in high-end laminate and the cabinets, a dark mahogany color are abundant and roomy. But this home’s most impressive feature is, perhaps, the vaulted pine ceilings which serve to make my friend’s home feel much larger than it really is.
The home’s only downfall? It faces east. And the main windows, shaded by an overhang, are on the west wall. While it stays nice and cool in the summer and gets a fair helping of morning sunlight, by midday it is quite dark. The beautiful wood ceilings do nothing to reflect what little light the home does get. And this can make for some especially dreary winter days.
So, what can my friend do to shed some light on her lovely home? Well, she could cut in more windows. But the north end of the house is the master bedroom, so that won’t bring any light into the great room. She could also paint the ceilings white to reflect more light. And cover up all that natural wood? Definitely not.
The third and best option?
According to a recent National Association of Home Builders study, 55% of respondents consider skylights to be either desirable or essential. So, not only do they increase enjoyment for the homeowner, they also add value for the homeowner who decides to sell his or her home at some point in the future.
If you want to brighten up your own home and haven’t considered adding skylights, you should. Technology has come a long way from the leaky fixtures of the 80s. Many of today’s skylights feature Energy Star ratings and the opportunity to qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit on the cost of installing them. Not only that, but solar-powered fresh air (venting) skylights can improve indoor air quality. Adding remote-controlled solar-powered blinds can also improve energy efficiency, keeping your home nice and cool on hot, sunny days.
Shopping for Quality
Although there are many options to choose from, skylights are not an area to try to save money by using low-quality materials. Stay away from the inexpensive models with plastic glazing as they don’t hold up as well against our sometimes harsh Montana weather. Our favorite skylights are manufactured by Velux and are what we use on the majority of our remodels. Velux offers a high-quality product with all the energy efficient features I mentioned earlier, plus a wide variety of attractive custom blinds and additional options. Learn more about them at www.veluxusa.com.