Adding Skylights to a Garage

Lighten Up Your Garage with Free Natural Light

garage skylight
An example of a garage skylight. (davewatts/Flickr)

When looking into any sort of home renovation project, the best are those that add convenience, function, and market value. A great project that incorporates all three of these attributes is adding a skylight to a garage. The remodel for skylights is relatively easy to undertake, will add a natural source of light to the area, and increase the property value as a whole. 

Pros of Adding a Skylight to a Garage

There isn't a whole lot to a skylight, especially skylights used for garages.

If desired, the skylight can consist of nothing more than colored plastic acrylic that is screwed into place instead of regular sheeting. There are also high-end skylights made of reinforced glass to stand up to breaking branches and falling trees, as well as designs that also open and close to provide increased ventilation. No matter what type of skylight is added to the garage, the benefits are largely the same:

  • Natural lighting – A natural source of light in a garage is a great way to avoid using flickering and stammering light bulbs. Garage lights are also often noisy and can be distracting, especially after long exposure.
  • Less energy consumption – A skylight in a garage cuts down on utility bills by up to 10%.
  • Reduced mildew buildup – Because garages are for the most part damp and dark, they are an optimum breeding grounds for mildew. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant of these toxins that cause respiratory problems. The toxins grow on clothing, other stored items and concrete.
  • Overall health – Besides cutting down on mildew and other allergens, skylights also increase overall health by reducing strain on the eyes, providing a supply of Vitamin D, improving mood, and lowering blood pressure, all from sunlight exposure.
  • Design appeal – A skylight adds a unique sense of style to garages. A skylight adds curb appeal and eventually increases the market value of a home property. Combine a skylight with a wooden garage door for maximum curb appeal.

    According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, adding a skylight has a resale recovery of about 68%. When taking into account all the health benefits and lowered costs, the return on investment is much higher.

    Possible Downsides of a Garage Skylight

    With all the positive aspects associated with a garage skylight, there must be a reason why they aren't on every single unit out there. Warranted or not, there are some common associations with skylights that steer homeowners clear of them. One of the main worries is that a skylight will leak, and if not installed properly, that is absolutely true. Skylights need to be inspected and caulked on a regular basis to ensure they don't leak. Another thing to consider is that for all the warmth a skylight lets in during warm weather, a skylight lets heat out during cold times. If a garage is fully heated, the skylight can be blocked in the winter, but at the risk of losing some of the light. 

    Average Cost of a Skylight Project

    Depending on how many skylights are involved and the type installed, obviously, the cost varies.

    The three main types are fixed, ventilated, and the more modern tubular lights that are smaller but placed more often (mostly in home hallways). Skylights range from 16” X 16” all the way up to 72” X 96”, so those prices vary, as does thickness, whether the model is 1/8” thick or all the way up to 3/16”. The skylights for garages on the market also can be single, double, or triple paned with various types of glazing for various energy efficiencies and noise reduction. All things considered, according to Home Advisor users, the average cost is generally in the $1,500 to $2,000 range for skylight installation. 

    The Process Involved In Adding the Skylight

    The installation of a skylight in a garage is actually a relatively easy renovation that can be completed in a day. The first step involves picking out the skylight and then marking out a leveled spot to cut the required opening into the garage. Before cutting, the shingles or other type of roofing should be removed from the outside of the garage and the area secured so it won't collapse when cut. The next step is cutting out the opening and framing an area where the light can come through. There then needs to be a weather-coated covering installed on the roof where the skylight will sit. Then the spot will be caulked for an extra layer of protection. The skylight is then set into place and step-flashing is applied before the shingles are again laid back down. Waterproofing the skylight is the top priority when installing.

    Ask 100 garage owners if they'll ever install a skylight again, and it's likely that 50 say “no” and 50 say “yes.” It's definitely a personal choice, but the option is available.