How to Choose the Ideal Materials for Skylights in Seattle Roofing

skylights in seattle roofing

Studies have shown positive benefits of natural daylight on human physiology and psychology. Employees are shown to be more productive when exposed to daylight. The penetration of daylight into buildings are facilitated by the installation of skylights on the Seattle roofing.

The natural lighting from the sun also creates an energy-efficient building that ultimately results to lower power bills. Because of these direct benefits from skylights in Seattle roofing, more contractors are placing emphasis on this very-useful feature of a building. With the popularity of skylights come the need for information on the performance of different glazing options for skylights.

The materials used for skylights vary and largely depend on the needs of the owner. Some require a clear view outside through skylights while others prefer the entry of more natural illumination inside. Whatever your needs are, an understanding of the different materials or glazing options for skylights is helpful. Some of the more common types of glazing materials for skylights used today are the following:


A common material used for skylights. Glass is scratch-resistant, durable and lasts long. Different kinds of glass provide various benefits such as energy efficiency. For instance, tempered glass is used for insulating glass units to provide a sealed and moisture-free glaze. A coated laminated glass is ideal for those who prefer diffuse light.


Fiberglass is translucent and available as flat, domed, monolithic or other profiles such as two panels with air in-between for insulation. While the material per se is not durable, it can be attached or bonded to I-beams to create translucent structural panels that have high insulation properties and come in a variety of colors. Translucent fiberglass panels are lightweight but impact-resistant and shatterproof. They are strong against ultraviolet radiation and weather-resistant.


Some of the interesting qualities of polycarbonate are its durability, impact-resistance and easy-to-cut design. They are produced as multi-wall sheets or monolithic sheets. The latter, filled with aerogel known as “frozen smoke,” can be cut to suit the skylight design and are lightweight. It greatly minimizes noise and diffuses light to reduce if not eliminate glares and hot spots.

Acrylic Plastic

This material is the most formable among skylight materials and is widely-used for standard skylights. Acrylic plastics come in many forms and standards – some are transparent to ultraviolet rays and, therefore, weather well while others are manufactured to be durable and impact resistant. Acrylic sheets are available as transparent or translucent types.

Kinds of Glass for Chicago Roofing Skylights


Skylights serve a variety of functions. In terms of savings, studies have shown that commercial buildings with optimally-designed skylights can reduce their energy costs by up to one-third. Most commercial warehouses nowadays incorporate skylights in their design to save on energy and power bills.

Other studies show that daylight significantly improves the psychological and physiological wellbeing of an individual. It also revealed that classrooms that optimize daylights produce students with higher test scores. The established benefits of daylight on people, made possible through skylights installed on buildings and houses, are beyond question.

If you are planning to install skylights on your Chicago roofing, or incorporate them in the design of your building to be constructed, you have to take into account several factors including the type of skylights to use (some are fixed while others are retractable) and materials for the selected skylights.

The most common materials used on skylights are glass and plastic. Most glass skylights today are composed of either tempered safety glass or laminated glass, or a combination of both.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is chemically-toughened glass that was subjected to extreme heating and rapid cooling to produce a tougher glass material compared to ordinary glass. Among its unique characteristics are:

  1. It is stronger than conventional glass by up to five times.
  2. When tempered glass shatters, it breaks into small oval-shaped pieces unlike ordinary glass that shatters into shards.
  3. Its ability to withstand heat is up to 1.5 to 2 times that of standard glass.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that sticks together when shattered. Because of this safety feature, laminated glass is most often installed as windshield for automobiles. Two sheets of glass are bonded together by an inner plastic layer called polyvinyl butyral or PVB. The inner layer softens and helps absorb the impact on the glass, which are prevented from separating.

This type of safety glass is not only widely-used as automobile windshields. They are also used in jewelry stores, hospitals, prisons and other places where security and safety are the primary considerations. An added advantage in using laminated glass is its resistance to Ultraviolet light.

Low-E Glass

Low-E glass blocks heat entry into the building as well as heat loss through a skylight. It allows entry of daylight without darkening the interiors that comes from the use of laminated glass. Both tempered glass and laminated glass may incorporate low-e features in their design. A darker but more thermal-efficient version is found in Low-E 2 glass.