How Much Does it Cost to Install a Skylight?
Skylight Installation Guide
Adding a skylight is a great way to bring beautiful, natural light into your home. Some people like them simply for the light they provide, while others appreciate the energy savings. Popular areas for skylights include living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms, but early risers might also appreciate a skylight in the bedroom.
Despite their benefits, skylights can be difficult and expensive to install in existing homes. Some homeowners think the project is worth taking on; others would rather invest their money elsewhere. The decision comes down to personal preference.
Adding a skylight involves cutting a hole through your roof and ceiling. The thought can be intimidating because the project can’t be undone. Before you make a decision, ask yourself these questions to make sure your home is a good candidate:
- Do I have a trussed roof? If so, installing a larger skylight will require the expertise of a structural engineer, which adds significantly to the cost.
- Does a skylight match the style of my home? If your home is historic or very traditional, a skylight might look odd.
- Can I keep up with the maintenance? Skylights need to be cleaned from time to time, and they should be inspected every few years for signs of damage, leaks or issues with the motor (if the skylight opens electronically).
- Do I need a chase? A chase is tunnel that funnels light from the skylight through the attic to your desired room. This also adds considerably to the total cost.
- Is there a clear path through the attic? Elements such as wiring, HVAC systems and plumbing could be in the way of your skylight’s path. If so, you’ll have to pick a new location for the skylight or reroute that equipment.
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Because skylight installation is difficult, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends hiring a professional installer. Even the most energy efficient skylights will be ineffective if they’re not properly installed. Skylights that are improperly installed can also lead to significant and costly moisture problems.
A professional will know how to avoid moisture problems by mounting the skylight in the correct location and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The pros know how to properly seal a skylight, too. Another advantage to hiring a pro? They will mount the skylight at the proper slope for the best light and energy efficiency.
DIY installation, while not advisable unless you have some building experience, is fairly inexpensive: Budget about $150 to $500 in most cases.
Hiring a pro usually costs anywhere from $500 to $3,500, depending on the type and size of skylight, the degree of difficulty and your geographic location. (That includes materials and insulation.) If you don’t need a chase (i.e. you have a cathedral ceiling) budget about $500 to $1,500 to have the hole cut and the skylight installed. If you do need a chase, budget $2,000 or more for the entire project.
Features and options that will add to the project cost include:
- A skylight that opens with a hand crank - $200 to $600 more
- A skylight that opens and closes electronically - $500 to $1,000 more
- Built-in mini-blinds - $200 to $400 extra
- Hiring a structural engineer for a trussed roof - $500 to $1,000
If you’re on a budget, consider having a solar light tube installed instead of a skylight. Solar light tubes provide considerable light but cost must less. Budget anywhere from about $200 to $700 installed.