Commercial skylights offer a wide range of benefits for businesses and commercial spaces. They provide abundant natural light, creating a brighter and more inviting environment for employees, customers, and visitors. Skylights in particular can enhance the aesthetics of a commercial building, adding a touch of architectural elegance and creating a sense of openness. 

When it comes to incorporating skylights into commercial buildings, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. In this article, we’ll touch on important considerations for commercial skylights, focusing on glazing choices and light transmission, thermal performance, air and moisture management, and structural considerations.

Glazing, Thermal Performance, & Light Transmission

The choice of glazing for commercial skylights depends on various factors, including the desired level of light transmission, thermal performance, glare control, and energy efficiency. When selecting glazing for commercial skylights, there are several choices available, each offering distinct characteristics and benefits. One option is clear glass, which allows maximum light transmission, providing a bright and open atmosphere. 

Many design professionals have concerns when it comes to using clear glass as it can lead to increased heat gain, necessitating additional measures to control glare and thermal performance. However, there are several modern clear glass options from VELUX that combat heat gain. Another option is prismatic diffusion, demonstrated best by AES Sunoptics’ Signature Series. These skylights are expertly crafted to address heat-related concerns by dispersing sunlight uniformly throughout the room, eradicating any hotspots, and negating the necessity for skylight tinting, insulation covers, heat blockers, or the search for optimal window film. These innovative skylights are unrivaled in capturing low-light levels, thanks to their patented dome-shaped design. 

Tinted glass is another popular choice, offering varying degrees of light transmission while reducing glare and UV radiation. This type of glazing helps regulate the amount of light entering the space and can enhance occupant comfort. Low-emissivity (low-e) glass is designed to minimize heat transfer, making it an energy-efficient choice. It reflects heat back into the space during colder months while allowing natural light to pass through, resulting in improved thermal performance and energy savings.

Other glazing options include prismatic glazing, which features prisms that redirect and diffuse light, reducing glare and enhancing light distribution. This type of glazing is particularly useful in areas where precise lighting control is required. Additionally, there are glazing materials available with special coatings to enhance specific properties, such as UV protection or insulation, and multiple layers of glazing may be used to improve performance.

Air & Moisture Management

Skylights are manufactured and installed using a combination of specialized materials and construction techniques to ensure proper air and moisture management. During the manufacturing process, high-quality weather seals and gaskets are integrated into the skylight frame to create a tight seal. This prevents air infiltration and reduces the risk of moisture penetration.

To achieve proper air and moisture management during installation, we always advise working with daylighting professionals like Daylight Specialists. Daylighting experts are familiar with specific guidelines from skylight manufacturers and can provide professional insights throughout the design of the project. During installation, daylighting experts will carefully inspect and prepare the installation area, ensuring proper flashing is applied to create a watertight seal around the skylight. Flashing materials, such as metal or rubber, are strategically placed to divert water away from the skylight and protect against potential leaks. Proper curbing is also essential to prevent water pooling and promote drainage. These are all aspects of installation that should be handled by a reliable daylighting expert.

Additionally, skylights often incorporate features such as weep holes or condensation gutters to manage moisture buildup effectively. Weep holes allow any trapped water or condensation to escape, reducing the risk of water damage and maintaining optimal airflow. Regular maintenance, including inspections and cleaning, is recommended to ensure ongoing proper air and moisture management.

Roofing & Structural Considerations

The structural integrity of the building must be taken into account when installing commercial skylights. The weight of the skylight, combined with environmental factors such as wind and snow loads, must be carefully evaluated. It is essential to ensure that the building structure can support the added weight and withstand potential stresses. 

The majority of commercial buildings have flat roofs, making proper drainage one of the primary concerns when installing skylights. 

Low-slope roofs have a slight incline, usually between 1:12 and 3:12. These roofs require careful consideration during skylight installation to ensure proper water runoff and prevent leaks. Waterproofing measures, such as the installation of flashing and sealing around skylights, are crucial to maintaining the integrity of low-slope roofs. Additionally, skylights on low-slope roofs may require additional supports or curbs to accommodate the slope and distribute weight evenly.

Pitched roofs have a steeper slope, though they are less commonly found in commercial buildings. When installing skylights on pitched roofs, it is essential to consider the structural integrity of the roof. Skylights should be properly integrated into the roof system, taking into account the load-bearing capacity and the need for additional supports or reinforcements. Proper flashing and weatherproofing are critical to ensure a watertight installation and prevent any structural issues.

Metal roofs are known for their durability and longevity. When installing skylights on metal roofs, careful attention must be given to the structural support and the potential for expansion and contraction of the metal panels. It is crucial to work with experienced professionals who understand the specific challenges of installing skylights on metal roofs. The installation process may involve creating curbs or structural reinforcements to ensure the skylights are securely attached and do not compromise the integrity of the metal roof.

Work with Experienced Commercial Skylight Professionals

When considering commercial skylights, it is important to carefully evaluate glazing choices and light transmission, thermal performance, air and moisture management, and structural considerations. Consulting with experienced daylighting professionals can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the process, helping you make informed decisions and achieve successful outcomes for your commercial skylight project. Working with a professional installer can also provide clients with an assurance of the manufacturer’s warranty. 

At Daylight Specialists, our team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals understand the intricacies of installing commercial skylights. We have years of expertise in the daylighting industry and a deep understanding of the important considerations that come into play. Our team is dedicated to helping customers find the right solutions for their specific needs, ensuring that all important factors are addressed to achieve optimal results. With Daylight Specialists, you can trust that your commercial skylight installation will be handled with expertise and care. Contact us to learn more.