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» Adding a Skylight

How Did I Do It? > Home & Garden > Adding a Skylight
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Sunshine: Install a Skylight

Nothing, but nothing makes your space more perfect than the natural light and the fresh air entering your home.
The elegance that a natural light, particularly one shining from the roof can give to your room is something that no amount of man made lighting, no matter how stylish can possibly compete with.

Skylights have the added bonus of offering you about 35 percent more actual light than that which is provided by a vertical window in your home, they enhance your natural circulation and will bring a wonderful bonus in the way of letting you see the snow, stars and rain.

They will literally transform your room into a room that seems bigger, airier and more roomy than one without the skylight.

You will first need to determine the best spot to add the skylight or roofing window and to do that you will need to decide whats the best place inside the home to open the roof.

The opening in your inside ceiling will need to be a bit larger than the one on the roof so that you can easily take out the insect screens, and also because it provides better lighting.

You will be cutting the hole in your roof from the crawl space, so the first order of business is going to be to remove the insulation from the crawl space, and make sure that all of the electrical wires and so on are out of the way.

You are going to use the ceiling joist as your guideline and find the bottom two corners of your ceiling opening and then using a plumb, go up to the roof deck to find the bottom of the rough opening. Mark that opening using the measurements that your window model calls for, and drive nails upward, through the roof at each corner of the opening you’ve measured.

You do want the nails to go all the way through to the outside so that you can see from the roof the four corners of the window.

Moving to the roof, you now want to take the shingles off to open the roof to the air. Save all of the older shingles to use when you are flashing the window.

Use a chalk line to mark out your opening and double check to make sure it is both level and square.
Using the chalk lines as a guide, cut out the opening in the roof.

If you need to cut your roof rafters, then each one MUST be braced from underneath and the bracing left there in place until you have completed installing the headers that you will need to install. Mark your cutting lines on the rafters and make sure that the center rafter will be cut at an angle so the headers will be flush. Remove the center rafter then if need be.

Before you cut any roof truss you should consult with local building codes and find your engineering requirements. IF there are rules, then make sure that you choose a window that will just go between the trusses.

The next step will be to frame in the opening.

Always bear in mind that the rough opening should be determined by the measurements of your skylight, and refer to that dimension or the chart on your skylight when you create the opening.

Install what are called headers at the top and also at the sill that will rest in between your rafters. If you needed to cut one of the rafters, its going to be a good idea to do double headers. That will complete the roof framing.

Install and flash your skylight now. Refer again to your model as many installation kits are made with with flashing tailored to their own model.

Frame the wall that surrounds the light shaft with studs and then insulate around the light shaft.

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