Loo Academy

Skylight Ventilation: Which One is Right For a Bathroom?

Skylights give your bathroom beautiful natural sunlight while still providing a source of ventilation. They are also a great alternative to using an HVAC system.

But for someone who knows little to nothing about skylights, many questions can arise. Such as which skylight works for me? And how will they affect my roof?

This article will give you an excellent starting point for skylights and teach you how skylights work, their benefits, and different types of skylight ventilation, along with some tips for skylight installation and positioning.

bathroom skylight

How Skylights Work

Skylights come in many varieties and styles, but they are all installed on your roof.

Hot air tends to gather at your ceiling naturally. A skylight works by releasing this air and ventilating the room.

The most modern skylights use sun and rain trackers and mirror reflectors along with other features.

In most cases, skylights can be opened with a pole chain or crank at or near ground level.

Different skylights may require a ladder or step stool to be opened and closed, and some have a concealed motor with remote control.

In general, skylights work like a large ventilation port in your ceiling.

Benefits of Skylights

A Private Window

Windows in your bathroom are great at letting light in and giving you a view of your surroundings. But windows in bathrooms tend to stay shut and shuttered due to privacy concerns.

With a skylight, you can have a window in your bathroom giving you sunlight and a view of the sky without having to worry about your privacy.

Natural Sunlight

Natural sunlight can add a beautiful look to your bathroom, especially around sunrise and sunset. Natural light gives you a true reflection of yourself compared to electrical light.

In addition, natural sunlight gives you vitamin D, which is good for your skin in moderate doses.


Ventilation through a skylight can be provided with or without an exhaust fan. Stylistically, skylights offer much more design flair than a hole in your ceiling with a fan in them.

Skylights can be more efficient at ventilation as well due to venting directly outside bypassing ductwork.

Less Electricity

By using the natural sunlight provided to you by a skylight, you will use less electricity. As a result, during the day, you will not need to turn on your lights, and over time, you will see a difference in your electric bill.

Design and Home Value

Skylights provide a beautiful design feature to your home. Most people appreciate the style and design of a skylight. However, when the time comes to sell your home, this design feature can add to the resale value of your home.

Types of Skylight Ventilation

Skylight Fans

Skylight fans are an excellent option for small spaces such as a bathroom. These skylights ventilate through a fan that is installed in the frame of the skylight. Air in your bathroom is sucked through the fan then this air exits outside through perforations in the skylights frame.

Skylight fans take up little space when compared to venting skylights. Skylight fans give you natural sunlight while offering you excellent ventilation. But skylight fans can be expensive and difficult to install.


Great for bathroom ventilation but pricey and tough to install on your own.

Venting Skylights

Venting skylights are what most people picture when thinking of a skylight. They are usually large roof windows that are also known as opening skylights.

Venting skylights can be opened and closed whenever you wish, and use natural airflow to ventilate a room. However, they are usually too large for a bathroom application.

Venting skylights must be opened and closed manually, which can be an issue during rain or snow seasons. There are more expensive venting skylights with remotes and rain sensors, but those are pretty expensive.


Bad for bathroom ventilation due to their large size.

Tubular Skylights

Tubular skylights use a small dome on your roof, in which sunlight is taken down into a tunnel and reflects through a fixture in your ceiling. Tubular skylights are small and require less structural damage to your roof.

Tubular skylights will provide you no ventilation on their own, but you can purchase a tubular skylight exhaust kit. This exhaust kit attaches an exhaust fan onto your tubular tunnel, which blows air out of a vent on your roof.

Tubular skylights are easy to install and, contrary to their small size, can let in more light than vented skylights.


Decent for bathroom ventilation due to the additional cost and installation of an exhaust kit.

Passive Ventilation

Passive ventilating skylights are essentially vented skylights that are fixed close. But due to perforations alongside their frame like skylight fans, they can ventilate air naturally, but they have no fan.

Passive ventilating skylights have the same issue as venting skylights: they are too large for most bathrooms. There may be some cases of them being able to fit in huge bathrooms, but for your average bathroom, they are not the best.

These skylights perform best in living rooms and hallways. Their ability to ventilate a wet or odor-filled bathroom is not the greatest.


Bad for bathroom ventilation due to their large size and lack of an exhaust fan.

How to Position and Install a Skylight in the Bathroom

  • Make sure your roof is suitable for skylights. Most truss-framed roofs can be structurally damaged by installing skylights.
  • Your bathroom is generally a small room, so be mindful of the size of the skylights you want to install and exactly where you want to place them.
  • The position of your roof will determine the positioning of your skylight. Whether your roof is flat or arched will affect your installation and the amount of sunlight your skylight receives.
  • For new construction, you will always want a deck-mounted skylight. Curb-mounted skylights are only suitable for replacing pre-existing curb-mounted skylights.
  • Keep a close eye on the weather forecasts before installing your skylights, as a rainstorm can destroy your installation.
  • Begin your installation inside. After careful measurement, you can sink four screws at each corner of your skylight for reference measurements, then finish the job outside.
  • When installing your skylight, be cautious. A falling hazard is always possible whenever you’re working on a roof.
  • Remove the roof shingles from your installation area before you start cutting your roof.
  • If possible, position your skylight toward the north so it will receive the most continuous sunlight year-round.
  • Avoid positioning your skylight in a direction in which buildings, trees, or other obstructions can block your sunlight.


How long does the average skylight last?

If installed and maintained correctly, a skylight can last for up to 15 years.

Is it hard to replace a skylight?

No, replacing a skylight is much easier than installing a skylight as there is no need to cut the roof. Replacing a skylight usually takes a few hours and can be done entirely from the roof in most cases.

Will adding skylights affect my roof warranty?

This will depend on your roof’s warranty. You can contact your contractor and explain that you want to install a skylight and see if that voids the warranty. In many cases, it will void the warranty. But this depends on the contractor and the warranty. Whenever dealing with a contractor, get everything in writing just to be safe.

Adam McCoy

Adam is an HVAC expert and the owner of Mackydo's HVAC Services with decades of experience in fixing and installing air conditioning units, furnaces, and every type of cooling and heating equipment you can think of.

Adam believes that your home is your sanctuary. He loves sharing advice based on his lifelong experience and treats every HVAC problem as if it was his own.