Tips on Skylight Shafts

Written by alicia rudnicki
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Tips on Skylight Shafts
Painting shafts a light colour increases brightness. (skylight supermodel image by Edward White from

Home lighting and mood brighten when the shaft of a skylight is well designed to distribute maximum sunshine. The shape, colour, material and placement of a shaft can maximise the benefits of a skylight. Especially in older homes with small windows, a skylight can light up the house during the day or night.

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A boxlike opening with parallel sides creates a shaft through which light shines straight down. At his website, Ask the Builder, Tim Carter suggests flaring skylight shafts to make sunlight spread further. Do this on one or two sides of the skylight where the shaft won't conflict with trusses supporting the roof. Carter stresses contacting a structural engineer before tampering with roof trusses.

Colour and Material

Paint choices and reflective coatings can aid light reflection. Painting a skylight shaft white or another light shade helps maximise light, according to the website of Lentz Construction, a California company that specialises in skylight design.

Bubble skylights with narrow, tubular shafts containing reflective coatings are common. They can be installed without harming trusses and increase the reflection of light due to their coatings. The New Jersey newspaper website NJ, says tubular skylights resemble recessed lighting cans in appearance.


NJ says tubular skylight shafts work well in "long, dark hallways," closets, dark corners of living rooms and locations where a larger, conventional shaft won't fit. No matter how well constructed a shaft is, it won't provide maximum benefit if the skylight faces north or east or is in another location where it doesn't get direct sun. The website Tom Vandervort's Home Tips says to install skylights on south- and west-facing sides of the roof.

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