According to Kennedy Skylights, a skylight manufacturer, plastic skylights are often selected as an alternative to glass because they are durable, low-maintenance and low-cost alternatives to skylights made of glass. Acrylic and polycarbonate are typically the two types of plastic used to make skylights, which are usually fashioned into three different types: flat, solar tubes, and domed.
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Flat Glass Skylights
Often considered the most traditional type of skylight, they are ranked the most energy efficient. Flat glass skylights look simply like windows installed in the roof of a structure, and plastic varieties often require little to no cleaning. They may be fixed, or have manual or electric venting mechanisms.
A solar tube consists of a small, circular domed skylight mounted at the end of mirrored cylindrical metal flashing. These skylights are meant to provide light, rather than views, and the mirrored metal magnifies the light they provide. These types of skylights are typically fixed in position, and far cheaper and easier installed than other varieties of skylight. These are often made of plastic for its impact-resistance qualities.
Dome skylights are like flat glass skylights that have a slight dome built in the plastic. Considered best for rooms that are not temperature controlled, they were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. But domed skylights are falling into disuse because they allow greater heat gain and heat loss than other types of skylights, and sometimes exhibit condensation problems.
Other Types of Plastic Skylight
Plastic skylights can be moulded or cut into custom shapes designed either by a builder or homeowner. Such custom skylights might be required for certain angles of roof pitch which might not accommodate traditional skylights.
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