Posted by Allyson Miller on October 4, 2019

Different Types of Skylights


Did you know there's more than one type of skylight? Well, before you read the title of this post, that is.

Actually, if you look at all the makes and models VELUX has to offer, you'll see that there are quite a few more than just one type of skylight. But, generally, they all fall into one of four categories: fixed skylights, venting skylights, roof windows, and tubular skylights (or, as we like to call them here, Sun Tunnel® Skylights).


Fixed Skylights

Fixed skylights are all about the light. These skylights don't open and sit squarely (or rectangular-ly) on your roof to allow daylight into your home. They're generally glazed with flat or gently curved panes of tempered glass. You'll also see them with acrylic or polycarbonate plastic in flat, bubble-shaped profiles.

All of VELUX's fixed skylights for residential installations are equipped with glass. While plastic can be more economical, they scratch and dull over time, leading to poor insulation, discoloration, and leaks. Plastic-glazed skylights also aren't as energy efficient. VELUX glass skylights include a low-E (low-emissivity) coating to modify heat gain. In other words, it helps your room from getting too hot when the sun is shining.


Venting Skylights

Venting skylights open just a smidge to allow fresh air to flow in and out of your home. They're equipped with a hand crank or small motor in order to open them and, like fixed skylights, they may be glass- or plastic-glazed.

VELUX offers venting skylights in solar-powered, electric, and manual options. Manually venting skylights are best when you're installing somewhere the skylight will be within reach, but we do offer control rods for out of reach applications. Our solar and electric venting skylights are powered by remote or the new VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO, an app that connects your skylight to your phone so you can open and close it anytime.

Our venting solar and electric skylights also feature a rain sensor designed to automatically close the skylight at the first sign of rain.


Roof Windows

Roof windows are a slightly different kind of venting skylight. Rather than opening a few inches to allow fresh air in, they open up wide. Roof windows can open with a top hinge, side hinge, or with a central pivot point. Some roof windows - like the VELUX Flat Roof Exit Skylight and the Roof Window Access roof window - open wide enough to qualify as egress openings, which can be used in case of emergency.


Sun Tunnel® Skylights

Tubular skylights are the most economical way of bringing more natural light into a room. Tubular skylights consist of a domed, round "window" attached to the roof that connects to a mirror-finished rigid or flexible tube. This tube transmits sunlight down through a diffusing lens affixed to the ceiling of the room below. If you're having a little trouble picturing it, this might give you an idea of how it works:


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The one on the left is the VELUX Flexible Sun Tunnel® Skylight and the one on the right is the VELUX Rigid Sun Tunnel® Skylight. Both feature highly reflective tunnels to transmit light, but the flexible tunnel is better if you're installing in a space with a lot of obstacles. The rigid tunnel is best where there is a straight, unobstructed path from the roof to the ceiling.


Skylights have the power to transform any room, but before you go cutting holes in the roof, consider which type of skylight would be best for your space.