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> Skylight FAQs
Traditional Skylight FAQ's
What is the difference between acrylic plastic and Plexiglas?
None. Plexiglas is a brand name for acrylic plastic. Another popular brand name is Lucite.
Why are Plexiglas bubbles so popular as skylights?
Plexiglas bubble skylights are light, efficient, and inexpensive. They are particularly well-suited to flat roof installations since they shed water so well and gather light from many angles. Their light weight makes them easy to get up on the roof. Often the bubble shape allows for increased head room. They are quite modern in appearance and may not be suitable in certain architectural environments.
Why a bubble and not flat Plexiglas?
Forming Plexiglas into a bubble shape dramatically increases the strength of the flat sheet of plastic and helps to eliminate expansion and contraction, which can be detrimental or fatal to a skylight over time.
What are the color choices in Plexiglas bubble skylights?
Clear, white translucent, and solar bronze tinted plastic are the three primary choices.
What if I want a flat skylight?
For any flat skylight the optimal material is glass. Any glass skylight we manufacture for you will be composed of safety glass.
What kind of safety glass do you use?
Most glass skylights will be composed of tempered safety glass or laminated safety glass or a combination of the two. We also manufacture skylights of clear or obscure wired glass. Your local building codes will indicate what type of safety glass is required.
What is the difference between tempered glass and laminated glass?
Tempered glass is heat-strengthened glass like the glass in your shower doors and patio doors. It is very strong, but, if it breaks, it explodes into thousands of tiny pieces. The side windows of most cars are tempered. Laminated glass is glass with a plastic interlayer which is designed to hold in place when it breaks. The front windshield of your car is laminated. In the San Francisco Bay Area, where we are located, building codes call for laminated glass as the interior piece of glass on any glass skylight, other than wired glass units. Laminated glass has the extra advantage in that it is a very effective block of ultraviolet light which is the leading cause of fading.
What is "Low-E" glass?
More and more skylights are being made of Low-E (for low emissivity) glass. Low-E glass was originally developed for energy efficiency, but it has the additional benefit of blocking heat gain as well as heat loss through a skylight. It provides a very comfortable light without darkening the skylight such as in the use of tinted glass. Either tempered glass or laminated glass can have a Low-E feature included. There is also Low-E2 (or Low-E squared) for even greater benefits. It is a denser version of Low-E which is slightly darker in appearance and was designed for even greater thermal efficiency.
Can my skylights open for ventilation?
Yes. All the skylights we make can be made to open for ventilation either through manual means (hand crank or pole operation) or electrical activation.
I bought a fixed (or non-openable) skylight from you. Can it be made to open?
Yes. Our skylights were specifically designed to be converted to opening units if the customer changes his mind. The skylight must be brought in to the shop and can usually be converted for a reasonable charge.
Can skylights be removed from the roof once they have been installed?
Yes. Properly installed skylights can be removed if they are curb-mounted.
What are curb-mounted skylights?
Curb-mounted skylights are the most common of all skylights. A curb is simply a wood box that is build higher than the roof and sealed to become part of the roof. The skylight is then dropped over the curb and attached from the outside.
Are there any other shapes available in Plexiglas and glass?
Yes. We manufacture pyramid and double-hip shapes in either material.
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