Skylights add natural light and provide captivating views. They also reduce the need for artificial light, helping to lower utility bills and save money.
Some of the best window brands offer skylights, but it can be a pricey project, costing an average of $1,000–$3,000.* This guide explains which factors affect skylight installation costs and how to plan for this home improvement project.
*Cost data sourced from Fixr.com and Angi.com.
Average Skylight Installation Cost
Skylight installation can range from $1,000 to $3,000, with an average cost of $1,800. Your price will vary based on your specific skylight features, materials, and other physical factors. Here are some typical cost factors that may impact your project budget:
- Frame material: Vinyl skylights are the least expensive, while wood variations cost more.
- Size: The larger the skylight, the higher the cost.
- Shape: Traditional rectangular skylights cost less than more complicated shapes such as pyramids.
- Type: Tubular skylights are more affordable but don’t offer skyward views like fixed or vented options.
- Labor costs: Larger and more complicated designs have higher labor costs.
Cost by Frame Material
A skylight’s framing material affects its life span, energy efficiency, and price. Vinyl, metal, and wood options are most common. Each option varies in durability, weather resistance, and style.
Vinyl skylights cost the least and require little maintenance. Vinyl is also energy-efficient, though it may bend or warp in extreme temperatures. Metal frames are a high-quality alternative to vinyl with improved durability. Metal absorbs heat easily, causing the room’s temperature to rise. Wood skylights are the most aesthetically pleasing but require the most upkeep. This material provides the best insulation against heat transfer but is the most expensive.
Here’s an overview of the average cost for each frame material (excluding installation costs):
- Vinyl: $150–$1,000
- Metal: $200–$1,500
- Wood: $300–$2,500
Cost by Size
As with other types of windows, a skylight’s size has a big impact on cost. Small skylights keep costs to a minimum but may lack the impact of something larger. Bigger skylights bring in more fresh air and natural light but at a higher price tag. Matching your skylight and room size for maximum visual impact is important. A small skylight in a larger room won’t offer much natural light or provide any visual interest. Installing a new skylight that’s too big could lead to poor sealing, air leaks, or water damage.
The skylight’s size also depends on your roof structure. “Stick” roofs, or roofs that use rafters, allow for a more customizable skylight installation.
If you opt for a large skylight, remember that a larger window brings in more heat and sunlight. Increased heat exposure will raise your room’s temperature, thus raising your energy costs. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests limiting your skylight to 5% of the room’s total square footage if it has a lot of windows. Your skylight size should not exceed 15% of the square footage for rooms with few windows.
Below is a breakdown of average skylight costs based on size.
|Skylight Size in Inches||Material Cost|
Cost by Shape
Your selected skylight shape will also impact your total cost. Typical skylights come in square or rectangular shapes. Getting a customized option allows for a more creative design but could limit the window’s functionality. Nontraditional shapes are often fixed in place with no airflow. Shapes like circles or pyramids cost more to manufacture and are more complicated to install.
|Skylight Shape||Material Cost|
Cost by Type
There are three main types of skylights: fixed, tubular, and vented (or ventilating). Each option provides ample light, but their function and benefits vary. Tubular skylights are the least expensive, fixed varieties are midrange, and vented options are the most costly.
Tubular skylights cost less because they aren’t considered traditional skylights. These skylights bring in reflected sunlight through their structure and shine down into your ceiling lights. They offer added brightness but no sky views. They’re simple and budget-friendly, requiring less labor and materials. Tubular skylights average $200–$500.
Fixed and vented skylights are considered traditional skylights since they offer sky views and natural sunlight. Fixed skylights don’t provide ventilation. They work well in colder environments since the passive heat from the window can warm your home. However, they could drive up energy costs during summer, especially in warmer climates. You’ll need to install window coverings or invest in energy-efficient upgrades such as low-emissivity (low-e) glass to combat the added heat. Plan to budget between $200 and $1,200 for fixed skylights.
Ventilating skylights provide excellent ventilation and increased sunlight. They come in manual or electric variations. Manual options open like a regular window, while electric variations operate with a remote control. Vented skylight prices range from $400–$2,000, with higher price tags for electric and solar variations.
|Type of Skylight||Material Costs|
The skylight’s type, style, and size will influence your labor costs. Typical labor prices range from $300–$2,500. Tubular skylights require the least labor, while electric or solar-powered vented options are more complicated. Your costs will also vary based on your roof type. For example, flat roofs require additional waterproofing protection. Additional cost factors, such as your location, project size, and roof layout, may impact your final labor charges.
Additional Cost Factors
Additional considerations such as permits, glazing material, and roof type will impact the cost of your skylight project. Let’s break these down.
Popular skylight brands include Sun-Tek, Velux, and Fakro. Each company has different product availability, customization options, and warranty coverage, so be sure to compare each brand to find the right skylight for your home. Traditional window manufacturers will sometimes offer skylight options, but those choices are limited.
The transparent part of a skylight is typically made from acrylic or glass. The material you select will affect your total cost. Acrylic is the least expensive option since plastic is cheaper than glass. You’ll find acrylic glazing in more complicated skylight shapes, such as pyramids or domes.
Acrylic is more impact-resistant than glass but gets scratched or discolored over time. Glass is a more popular choice because it resists discoloration. Homeowners can choose tempered glass for improved durability and better protection if the glass is shattered. Double-paned glass offers better insulation against external temperatures and helps keep your home comfortable.
Here are the average costs of skylight glazing materials:
- Acrylic: $150–$1,000
- Double-paned glass: $300–$3,500
- Tempered glass: $200–$1,500
Skylight installation requires extensive changes to your home’s interior and exterior, so you may need a permit. You may also need electrical or plumbing work permits, depending on your selected skylight. Permit costs vary by location but may cost up to $500 or more. Your roofing or window installer will provide more information about any necessary permits and should handle the paperwork for you.
Pitched roofs work best for skylight installations. Their angle helps with rain runoff and reduces the chance of leaks. Although flat-roof installations aren’t optimal, they are possible. They’ll require additional labor and installation protections to prevent water from pooling on the window’s surface. Flat-roof skylights incorporate sloped designs and glazing to assist with water draining. Due to their specialized design and additional installation precautions, flat-roof skylights cost more than pitched-roof varieties.
Add-ons and upgrades could improve your skylight’s performance and protect your home from external factors. Consider adding a low-e coating to increase energy efficiency and improve insulation from the solar heat. Adding electric shades or glass tinting will regulate glare and reduce the amount of sun rays entering the room. If you’re installing a ventilating skylight, consider adding an insect screen to keep bugs out.
Most skylights are curb-mounted or deck-mounted. Curb-mounted skylights are mounted over a frame, while deck-mounted skylights sit flush with your roofline. Curb-mounting is more affordable but makes your skylight more visible from the ground. Deck-mounting is a better option if you prefer a sleeker look, but it’s more expensive. Curb-mounted skylights range from $150–$1,500, while deck-mounting costs $1,500–$2,500.
Professional vs. DIY Skylight Installation
A professional installation provides the best protection against water leaks and misaligned windows. Even the most advanced do-it-yourself (DIY) expert should not consider doing complicated roof installations for their own safety.
Professional Skylight Installation
Homeowners should use a professional window installer or roofing specialist to install skylights. You may even find a local skylight installation specialist to complete your project. These installers are familiar with various roofing materials, roof designs, and installation procedures. Skylights require precise interior and exterior preparation to ensure a solid installation.
Skylight installation also requires a watertight seal. Professional installers use flashing, or thin sheets of metal, to provide added protection around the skylight’s edges and prevent water seepage. A DIYer that lacks roofing or window installation experience could do this poorly, leading to water damage in their home.
Another advantage is that most installers include a warranty that guarantees they’ll fix any future problems. Many skylight manufacturers stipulate that a professional must complete the installation to keep the warranty intact.
DIY Skylight Installation
Due to the dangerous nature of roofing work and the expertise needed for skylight installations, we do not recommend handling this project yourself. Look for window, roofing, or skylight professionals in your area to complete your project.
How To Save on Your Skylight Installation
Skylights are a sizable investment, so you’ll want to keep costs low. Here are some ways to buy new skylights without breaking the bank.
- Consider a tubular skylight: If you want the benefits of a skylight but not the higher price, consider a tubular skylight. These provide natural light but are more straightforward to install.
- Get multiple quotes: Request free quotes from at least three professional installers to find the best product options, prices, and warranties.
- Select a higher-quality skylight: Invest in the best quality material you can afford. Although this requires a higher initial investment, you’ll save on repair and replacement costs. Skylight installations can last up to 20 years with proper installation and quality materials.
- Stick to a traditional shape: If skyward views are your preference, stick to fixed, curb-mounted variations in a standard rectangle shape. This is the most common variation and is more affordable than other skylight options.
Skylights add personality, warmth, and comfort to any room. Consider your roof’s structure and pitch when selecting the right skylight size. Added features such as electric shades, low-e glass, or double-paned glass improve a skylight’s energy efficiency and help lower your energy costs over time. Use a professional installer for the best results, as attempting this project yourself can be dangerous. We recommend getting three quotes from local installers to find the best deals.