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Old 08-23-2011, 11:29 PM   #1
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Natural Light options


Hi all

See plan attached. We've extended the house to add the 4th bedroom and the extended dining room, but that has left our living room dark. We want to get some natural light into the living room but can't have windows since there are no outer walls. The living room has a vaulted ceiling - high in the middle, sloping off to both sides. One side the one towards the 4th bedroom is the same as the actual roof of the building, while the other side is a drop ceiling inside the attic, with the real roof higher than this side. Also, the 4th bedroom and extended dining has a california roof which cuts across the roof of the living room on the 4th bedroom side.

Here are the options I know of and the problems associated with them. Are there any other options, perhaps better ones than these? If yes, please help out with the other options. If not which of these is a better option? Why? Any other gotcha's I'm missing?

1. Skylight
Problem: Will it be too retro? Will a sky light look good in the living room? Any links/pictures showing skylights in the living room? What kind of skylight to get if we go this route?

2. Dormer (add a little dormer and a window in that)
Will look better than a skylight (we think) but will be more expensive to add and will require more expertise to build.

3. Solar tube
While some friends of ours recommended this, our contractor swears that this is for hallways or bathrooms, and will not be anywhere near sufficient, while at the same time these are indeed more expensive than skylights.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Thanks
pvravi
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:38 AM   #2
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Natural Light options


The dormer would have a nice look....but as you noted....expensive....

How about both skylights and solar tubes?

A skylight has the advantage of being able to open it....and on a vaulted ceiling.....great feature for removing hot air. One other thing...if you use a long narrow skylight, you avoid that 'yesterday' look

And who says you can only use one solar tube? Put in 3 or 4 layed out much the same way you would do can lights. On the solar tubes, make sure you use solid side tubes and not the flexible stuff....the solid ones move a LOT of light.

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Old 08-24-2011, 07:55 AM   #3
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I'd put in a few skylights. I don't follow the "retro" comment. Skylights are put in houses all the time.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:03 AM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions. However, for a skylight, there are some limitations. See picture.

By retro, I guess I meant the old-style translucent skylights - but more research has shown that fully transparent glass skylights are fairly "in".

Both solar tubes and skylights --- hmmm... expensive *2 :-)

The front half of the room (towards the main entry) has a false ceiling, so putting a skylight in there requires a tunnel in the attic - too complicated, easily spoiled, and not desirable.

One half of the ceiling of the back half is covered by the California roof of the 4th bedroom area that juts into the roof of the living room. That leaves the triangle in blue shown as the only viable position for a skylight.

I'd like to not have a "sun tunnel" - which would be required in any area other than the blue triangle of the roof.

Options:

1. Skylight somewhere/anywhere in the available area (of the blue triangle), but this might make the room seem a bit lopsided.

2. Put as small (or as big) a skylight as possible near the center line, but this might not even be practical, and/or might make the skylight smaller than preferred even if it were possible to do this.

3. Put a triangular (or perhaps 3 squares in a triangular fashion) skylight near the right angle of the blue triangle. While this might feel architecturally better, it might be more expensive and might distribute light somewhat unevenly.

Personally, I'm tending towards #3 despite the obvious extra cost. Any other suggestions?

Thanks
lsiravi
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:11 AM   #5
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I don't understand what you want. First you say, "The front half of the room (towards the main entry) has a false ceiling, so putting a skylight in there requires a tunnel in the attic - too complicated, easily spoiled, and not desirable."
Then you want triangular skylights in the same attic conditions. Plus, who makes triangular skylights and at what cost?
Try calling in a few contractors who can see the situation and get their input. I have no idea what that blue triangle represents and how it impacts the size, shape or number of skylights.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:46 PM   #6
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Sorry - guess I was a bit unclear.

New pic attached attempting to clarify.

I noticed a couple of local companies making 'custom skylights' including triangular ones. Unsure of the cost.

Thanks!
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:22 PM   #7
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Are you personally installing the skylights?
What sort of roof framing do you have?
You might be limited in width if you have trusses.
If you don't know the answer to the above question, you will need professional help to determine what you can do with the structure.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:00 PM   #8
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Nope - I'm not going to be installing this. At the moment, the time is for a decision as to what kind of skylight to put in. My contractor will be installing it either way.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsiravi View Post
Nope - I'm not going to be installing this. At the moment, the time is for a decision as to what kind of skylight to put in. My contractor will be installing it either way.
Then his onsite inspection is all that's important. You can discuss triangular skylights forever, but if the structure precludes them, you go with what can be put there.
Not that truss framing can't be re-engineered, it's just not always cost effective.

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