Before you take on any big renovation project, it's important to consider what sort of investment it will be for your home. And if you eventually plan on selling, you want to make sure you haven't jeopardized the value of your home.
As a renovation project, installing skylights falls into a gray area when it comes to a return on investment (ROI). Like swimming pools, skylights are seen by some homebuyers as additional upkeep that may not be worth it, while many other potential homebuyers see them as an asset and valuable addition. Between varying installation costs, usually based on type, number of skylights, and location, different housing markets, and homebuyers having differing priorities, it's hard to put an exact number on a skylight's ROI.
The good news though is when installed correctly (within warranty, insurance, and HOA guidelines), skylights won't depreciate your home. The better news is that they can add value in the eyes of certain homebuyers — and they definitely add more value to your life! Here's how:
Skylights Add Architectural Interest Inside and Out
Skylights offer the chance to upgrade both the interior and exterior of your home at the same time, an unusual perk for a home renovation project. To get beauty and value from a skylight, however, it needs to be an architectural asset. In other words, you'll need to balance it with your home's architectural theme and features. In traditional homes, for example, your best bet is installing skylights to the rear of the home or in an area where they'll be out of sight from the street. Skylights have a modern aesthetic that could contrast with traditional styles, and prominent placement may take away from a traditional charm.
On the inside, make sure the skylight coordinates with the rest of the room. Rather than putting your skylight where it's most convenient to install, align it with a door or window or another way that makes sense from a geometric standpoint. VELUX Skylights are compatible with shade- and Venetian-style blinds, so you can even match your light-control options with your home's style and decor.
Skylights Can Help Save on Heating & Cooling Costs
While a poorly planned skylight can wreak havoc on your energy bills, a strategically placed one can actually help you save money on heating and cooling costs. South-facing skylights, for example, increase the temperature of a space because they pick up more of the sun's rays than skylights facing other directions.
This can be used to your advantage in the winter: let the sun shine and heat your home so you can shave money off your heating costs. Built-in shades and the ability to open can, in turn, help prevent too much heat in warmer weather. A bonus to venting skylights: heat rises, which means you can open your skylights on summer nights to vent the heat of the day out of your home.
In fact, venting skylights can help with whole-home airing when opened at the same time as vertical windows. This helps cool air refresh your home without fans or air conditioning.
Skylights Add Value More Ways than Monetarily
Again, like a pool, skylights can add value to your home in a way that can't be measured monetarily: by improving the overall look and appeal of otherwise dark and gloomy spaces with natural light.
A good balance of natural light throughout the home is always an asset to a homebuyer, but while you're still there, you can reap the natural light benefits too. Research shows that natural light increases health benefits and boosts moods and productivity. Regular exposure to natural light in your home can also help prevent symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), like depression, fatigue, and irritability. It does this by helping keep your natural circadian rhythm balanced, which helps your body maintain adequate levels of serotonin (the feel-good hormone) and melatonin (the hormone that helps you sleep).
The fresh air from venting skylights helps your overall health and lifestyle too! While HVAC units recirculate old recycled air through your home, venting skylights open to bring in fresh air, which can also help rid your home of airborne particles, humidity, and other pollutants that can pose health risks.
So, bottom line: Do skylights increase your home's value? Ultimately, it all boils down to what you (and potential homebuyers) consider to be the value of having consistent natural light and fresh air in your home.
And you may have noticed a theme in this post: You get the most value out of skylights when they're carefully planned and strategically placed. A free 30-minute consultation with a VELUX expert can help you map out your skylight strategy. Or, if you're not ready to talk to anyone just yet, check out our Skylight Planning Checklist to learn more about how to prepare for the skylight installation journey.