How to Install a Skylight

A step-by-step guide to installing skylights

If you're looking to boost the amount of natural light in your home, a skylight makes a great addition. While creating and installing skylights may seem like a daunting task to the novice do-it-yourselfer, it's actually a fairly straightforward process if you're comfortable using power tools. Your skylight will come with installation instructions from the manufacturer, which you should carefully review and understand before beginning the installation. The materials you'll need to install your skylight include:

  • Chalk
  • Circular saw
  • 2 x 4 wood boards
  • Straight edge
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Power drill
  • Nail gun
  • Roofing paper
  • Screws<

Creating and Installing Residential Skylights

Follow these instructions to create and install your skylight:

  1. From the inside of your home, drill a hole through your roof. This hole will indicate where the center of your skylight's glass pane will rest.
  2. Using this center point to determine the exact position the skylight will occupy, trace a chalk outline of the skylight on your roof.
  3. With your power saw, and following the chalk line carefully, cut a hole for the skylight in your roof.
  4. Attach two 2 x 4 wood boards to your roof's ceiling joists and nail them in place. These boards will act as header and footer supports.
  5. With your utility knife and straight edge, remove shingles in a 3-inch border around the hole.
  6. Place your new skylight over the hole and screw it into place using your power drill.
  7. Install both the bottom flashing and the step flashing around the borders of the skylight, as per manufacturer's instructions. With your nail gun, secure the flashing to the border of the skylight.

Make certain that the skylight is completely airtight, or you'll end up with humidity problems inside your home as the result of rain leaking in through the skylight. This can create major issues, so if you have any doubts about your ability to execute this project successfully, seek outside help from someone with experience.

Once you have finished installing the skylight, you are going to have to replace any missing drywall from inside your ceiling.