A skylight is a window set in a room or ceiling at the same angle. This allows for an incredible inflow of light. A skylight has the potential to completely change the aesthetics and atmosphere of a home. In the sunny climate of Florida, skylights allow for bright sunlight to filter into a room.
There are many benefits that a skylight introduces to a home such as:
- Increased natural light in the home.
- The potential to reduce energy required for electric lighting, thereby improving energy efficiency.
- An electric venting skylight operates as a passive air conditioner and improves ventilation.
- With the addition of natural light to an environment, a room may appear larger than what it really is.
Dangers of Storms and Hurricanes
Whilst the sunny climate of Florida means that great value is gained from skylights, there is also the environmental risk of hurricanes and storms. The hurricane season for 2018 has already started in Florida, and forecasters are expecting an average number of approximately 7 hurricanes. Although, this prediction is still framed with uncertainty and the number could be higher.
Hurricanes, consisting of heavy winds, can reach up to 155 mph which is strong enough to rip trees from the ground. Skylights, made of plastic or glass, are extremely vulnerable to any branches or debris that may be blown into it. Another risk of hurricanes are the heavy rains that flood down. If you have a hole in your roof, there is a high risk that your home and its belongings will get damaged by water flooding. Skylights can provide a vulnerable entry point for the hurricane.
Considerations Before Installing Skylights
If you live in a hurricane region, there are some thoughts to consider before installing a skylight. Contrary to many assumptions, skylights do not necessarily make your roof weaker – especially if they are expertly installed.
There are certain considerations needed before installing a skylight. Although skylights can be installed almost anywhere, they need to be installed in a position that does not compromise the structure of the roof. This will ensure that the structural integrity of the building remains intact.
Skylights are infamous for causing leakages. This risk is only increased in an area that has regular rainfall. Always ensure that you hire the best roofing contractor to install your skylight so that the installation is correctly sealed. This reduces the risk of water leaking in during a storm.
Protect Your Skylights Against Hurricanes
The good news is that there are hurricane-proof upgrades that can reduce the potential damage. These strong, energy-efficient skylights can help protect your home. In hurricane-prone regions, skylights need to meet certain safety codes – in the same way that windows and doors do. In Florida, skylights undergo test procedures to make sure that they meet the Florida Building Code.
Most skylights today are designed with impact glass. Impact resistant skylights significantly reduce the risk of structural damage and injury during a storm. These windows often have double-glazing which adds a second layer of tempered glass.
If there is a storm predicted and you do not have one of these strengthened skylights, you can re-enforce their protection by covering them with plywood, a metal cap, or a legitimate storm shutter.
It goes without saying that if there is a storm approaching, that you tightly close the skylight vents. It is important to ensure that the gutters are cleared and that any nearby branches are trimmed in order to decrease the vulnerability of the skylight.
Regular roofing inspections, especially during hurricane season, is a great way to ensure that your roof and skylight is secured, sealed and prepared for any storm.
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance that your skylight is damaged and needs to be repaired, it is suggested that you get your skylight repair done as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.
Skylights do increase the risk of damage during a hurricane, but they need not cause concern if the correct skylight is installed. With the new hurricane-proof technology and the correct precautions, there is no reason to not enjoy the benefits of a skylight – regardless the season.