Choose a Skylight for your Tiny House!

Choosing a skylight for your tiny house isn’t as easy as you might think!

Here’s how to choose a skylight for your tiny house!

1. Width

When selecting the size of a skylight, there are a few things you need to consider. First, most roof framing is 24″ on-center. This means that there is 22 1/2″ of space in between typical roof framing. When you’re able, you should choose a skylight that is 21″ or 22 1/2″ in width.

You can buy skylights that are wider than this, but it can add some complexity to the framing of your roof. In order to have a skylight that is wider than 22 1/2″, you will need to add an appropriate header to the skylight framing so your new skylight will not have an adverse affect on the snow and live loads of your roof.

The other consideration for a skylight wider than 22 1/2″ is roof venting. If you have an extra wide skylight that is framed with the appropriate headers and other components, you’ll want to ensure that the roof rafters have areas notched out for proper venting. These headers and footers for an extra-wide skylight create blockage for air flow. This can be easily remedied with a few notches for roof venting!

2. Clearances

Some skylights require certain clearances so they don’t leak or have a build up of moisture. For example, certain Velux skylights require a clearance that varies from 18″ – 24″ on the top and/or depending on the type of roofing material that you’re having installed. There are also clearance requirements from the sides of the skylights, but this can vary significantly depending on the type of skylight and the flashing materials that are available.

So, what does this mean for your tiny house? This can have a significant impact on your skylight decisions (or, at least it should!)

Lets assume that you’re building a tiny house like our model, the Tyndall. (You can find our base models here!) This is a shed-style roof, which is typically 8’6″ long, or longer. For this example, we will assume that the roof is 8’6″ long, or 102″. Lets also assume that you’re having a metal roof installed. Lastly, lets assume that you want to install a fixed, Velux skylight. The clearance requirements for this scenario would be 24″ on the top AND bottom. If you take 102″ and subtract these clearances (48″ total), this means that the tallest skylight you can have installed is 54″. That’s not bad!

But… what if you have a model like our base model, the Crestone. Lets assume that you want to put the same fixed Velux skylight on this model. Since this roof is a gable-style roof, the space you will be working with is somewhere between 54″ and 66″ depending on the pitch of the roof. Lets say that you want to put the skylight where the roof pitch is the steepest, and you have 66″ to work with. You’re installing that same metal roof, so you need 24″ of clearance at the top and bottom of the skylight again. This means that the tallest skylight you can install is only 18″ !!!!! That’s just way too short for a skylight!

Certain types and brands will have different clearance requirements. Be sure to keep this in mind!

3. Roof pitch

Some skylights can’t be installed if your roof is too steep, or too shallow of a pitch.

For example, most Velux skylights that are installed as a “Deck Mount” type skylight, require that the roof pitch be at least 14 degrees, and no more than 85 degrees. Most Velux skylights that are installed as “Curb Mount” type skylights, can be installed on a flat roof, up to a roof pitch of 60 degrees.

Be sure that you (or your builder) is selecting the right type of skylight mounting to match the roof pitch of your tiny home!

4. Egress

The last thing you ever want to talk about, is something terrible happening to your tiny home. But, sometimes bad things happen. If you were sleeping in the loft of your tiny house, and it caught on fire, you would want to be sure you could escape through an appropriately sized window (or skylight)!

There are a few options here for Egress skylights (commonly called roof windows) that can be explored – but pay attention to the necessary clearance and roof pitch requirements!

velux skylight tiny house

velux skylight tiny house

With a bit of research, you can find the perfect skylight for your new tiny home!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call or email us!

What kind of skylight did you put in your tiny home? What kind of skylight do you WANT to put in your tiny home?