Powered by RealTown Blogs

ARDELL's Seattle Area Real Estate Blog

Sep. 6, 2013 - Skylights - Cost and Return on Investment

Do skylights add value to a home? Here in the Seattle Area the Return on Investment of a skylight has to do with the additional light in the home which is of considerable value for many, but not all, homes.

First let's look at the cost. My rule of thumb for adding skylights where there has been no skylight in the past is $1,600 for a skylight and $800 for a tubular skylight. This price can be lower depending on how many you will be installing and higher based on the roof structure and how easy or hard it is to maintain the support integrity of the roof while creating the new hole for the skylight. Every home is different in that regard, and installers want to provide lesser support than a Structural Engineer would recommend, in most cases.

Return on Investment of a Skylight or Tubular Skylight.

I have a client who is putting in 4 skylights and 4 tubes. The house is currently very dark in the living areas where these will be installed, consequently the return on investment will be high. Another client asked about skylights for a different home which had loads of natural light and my answer to him was there was zero return on investment in that case.

The skylight in and of itself has NO return on investment. It is the additional light and the home's need for that additional light that creates the return on investment. If the home is already bright, you are just making a hole in your roof for no good reason.

Skylight vs Tubular Skylight.

Back to my client who is putting in 4 of each and the basis for the decision. Tubes are cheaper, so why not all tubes if the return is based on the light it brings in and not the skylight?

The living and dining room areas have a pitched ceiling with no 2nd floor on top of them. This is not true for the remainder of this 2 story home. As example you can't put a skylight in the kitchen or family room and you can't put a tube either, as there are bedrooms above these.

This is a good example of why 4 skylights. Sorry the picture is a bit blurry, but I had to blow it up from a smaller version as the ceilings being done are not completed yet and I found this "reasonable facsimile" online. The pitche of the roof is opposite in the home my client is doing, so two skylights well be in the living room and the other two in the dining room. This is basically one open space from the front of the house to the back, with a pitched ceiling and no walls between the two rooms. 

Obvious from the photo as to why these need to be skylights and not tubes for aesthetic reasons.  When you have pitched ceilings and this much space to cover, you maximize both the light and the aesthetics by going with a standard skylight.

I am calling a standard skylight basically 2 feet wide by 4 feet tall and one that does not open and close. There are already plenty of windows to open and close for air flow on the front and back of this space. More light is all we are going for here, not more air flow.

If you are only replacing an existing skylight, the cost is less. Also if you are adding a room with skylights vs adding skylights to an existing structure, the cost is less. But here I am talking about adding skylights to an existing room and probably in an older home as well.

Tubes are used not only for lower cost, but for smaller area to be lit or more acurately less ceiling space to place the skylight in. Tubes come in many styles and sizes, but here I am talking about a 14" tube. The skylight itself may not cost less and the cost savings is often in the installation vs the skylight.

In the subject house you can't really close the door in the bathroom without it getting totally dark in there or even walk down the hallway on the 2nd floor without turning on a light. This is the best use of tubular skylights as the ceiling space is limited and the additional cost of a full skylight installation, if you could fit one, is unwarranted. It is all about the light that will come in afterward and not the aesthetics. The look will be similar to a ceiling light, and you still need a ceiling light for night time. If the hallway is long enough, then there will be two tubes vs one plus the existing ceiling light.

I'm not 100% sure where all of the 4 tubes are going, but will come back with a new post of the actual house being done when the job is completed. Will try to have photos of the process along with before and after photos.



Comments (6) :: Post A Comment! :: Permanent Link
View more entries tagged with: None

Sep. 7, 2013 - RE: Skylights - Cost and Return on Investment

Posted by Anonymous

Thanks Ardell.

Question: Since labor is costlier than material, if one's roof allows, why not get the biggest skylight in? 2x6 instead of 2x4.

Permanent Link

Nov. 13, 2013 - RE: Skylights - Cost and Return on Investment

Posted by Skylights

nice work . I like it

Permanent Link

Jan. 12, 2014 - RE: Skylights - Cost and Return on Investment

Posted by ARDELL DellaLoggia

 I believe in that specific case the installer could not guarantee the stability of the roof if 2 x 6 vs 2 x 4 were used unless the method of install was upgraded. So the cost for the larger skylight would not only be the additional cost for the larger skylight.

I agree that the better installation should have been used regardless of size, so that the additional cost would only be the material cost. But that is not how the client chose to approach it.

Permanent Link

Aug. 19, 2015 - RE: Skylights - Cost and Return on Investment

Posted by Jeena Mills

The density of the mirror provided in Tabular Skylights is very effective and helps you to get natural light wherever you installed it. Tubular skylights are handy everywhere these days such as schools, industries, houses and more. Best alternate for light source without spending money regularly. Very meaningful article, thanks for sharing with us.





Permanent Link

Aug. 28, 2015 - RE: Skylights - Cost and Return on Investment

Posted by Jeena Mills

Thanks for this Article. This was really a helpful post for me.. I am really looking forward for this stuff.

Permanent Link

Oct. 29, 2016 - RE: Skylights - Cost and Return on Investment

Posted by Kat TheFanEnthusiast

Have you considered putting heat resistant window films on the skylights to block out heat to help your AC work less? Right now you're saving power on light, but you might be setting that saving off by using more power to cool the space. They shouldn't block out much light.

Permanent Link

Write a Comment

Your Name:  RealTown Members: Click here to login
Your E-Mail: 
Your Website: 
Your Comment: 
To verify that you are a human and not a script, please enter the verification word from the image into the box on the right.

ARDELL DellaLoggia of Sound Realty on Seattle Real Estate process and market including Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Green Lake and most areas around the top of Lake Washington North of Downtown Seattle. Phone: 206-910-1000 - Mailto:ARDELLd@gmail.com

Real Estate blogs
Top Blogs


Seattle Real Estate
Redmond Real Estate
Bellevue Real Estate
Kirkland Real Estate
View my profile
Blog Manager

Recent Comments

RE: Seattle Real Estate - King County
"Hey there, I found this case shiller map from the..."
RE: What are Clerestory Windows?
"What is the best anime show in your opinion? watch..."
RE: What are Clerestory Windows?
"Son image de pin-up blonde des années 1980..."
RE: Homes For Sale in Redmond WA
"Amongst the major museums in the east bay is the O..."
"ブラントス`パ`コピ`瞳 マストな仟恬アイテムA?..."


Rain City Guide
Emerald City
Seattle Google Map
Visitor's Guide to Seattle
Seattle SPIN
Seattle and Eastside Real Estate
The OTHER Blog
Home Inspector Stuff
Seattle Condo Info
Seattle Blog
Architectural Depot
Bus Routes
Kirkland Neighborhood Map
City of Redmond Maps
Ask Ardell
Inman News
Real Estate Blog
South Beach Florida Blog
Ian Watt's cool Vancouver Videos
Seattle Bubble Blog
Seattle Technology News
Seattle Teach Street
Seattle Big Blog
Seattle Bon Vivant
Seattle Craigslist
Redmond Library Blog

Inman News