Q: I am in the process of purchasing a mobile home that is actually two mobile homes joined together. One side was built in 1980 and the other is considerably older. The entire structure has been roofed over with a relatively new roof, so to install a skylight I would have to go through the original mobile home roof and the new shingled roof. What are your feelings on skylights? Any dos and don'ts?

— Jackie, Avon, CO

A: Tom Silva replies: I have 14 skylights in my own house, so I can appreciate their appeal. They bring in a lot of heat and light in the winter, but if they're located on a southern exposure they can become too hot in the summer. The most important thing to remember about skylights is that they need to be ventable with a pole or an electric motor so that any heat they generate can be exhausted. The way your roof currently stands, the skylight will appear recessed inside, because it will have to sit flush with the outer roof in order to provide any sunlight at all. Another, less expensive alternative you might want to consider is a tube light. In that case, a hole is cut in the roof and lined with mirrors that reflect light down a tubular shaft and into your home.
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