Skylights are an excellent way to make rooms, workshops, offices and shops lighter and airier. Studies have shown that people are happier when they get enough sunlight, and skylights are one way to do this if you have to be indoors for most of the day. They are also energy-efficient, reducing the amount of energy used for lighting, and thus costs.
However, skylights are not without their drawbacks, foremost among which are the challenges they present when it comes to regulating light and heat levels indoors. An unshaded skylight can make rooms uncomfortably bright or hot.
Uncovered skylights, even if they have tinted film on them, may admit too much light too early on summer mornings, too much light too late on summer evenings, or too much heat throughout the day. Unregulated sunlight can also fade floors and fittings. Skylight blinds that incorporate a sun filtering capability are one of the best ways to control your skylights, and the most attractive.
In general terms, any blind that has been properly mounted on a skylight or roof window by a qualified blind installer will be helpful. All blinds will cut down the amount of incoming light, but different environments will require different materials.
A cloth blind or bamboo blind can give opacity, but may not be the best option for a bathroom, laundry or kitchen, because of moisture. In such cases, an aluminium blind would work better. Roller blinds are effective against excess light, but do not regulate heat very well. As a quick tip, blinds that do not hang 100 percent vertically should be side-mounted to avoid sagging and side-lighting.
In South Africa, the most commonly-encountered types of blinds used with skylights are pleated blinds and honeycomb blinds, such as Luxaflex Duette skylight blinds. Both of these kinds of blinds are available in a range of fabric types (including light- and heat-reflecting metallised fabrics), patterns, textures and colours.
Both pleated and Luxaflex Duette honeycomb skylight blinds can be inside- or outside-mounted, and both are very good at controlling heat and light. Both give options in terms of opacity, i.e. how much light the fabric lets through. One of the best things about a skylight is that you can see the sky and trees through it—opacity options mean that you can keep the view without the glare. It is also possible to attach a motorised skylight blind-opener, essential for skylights that are not easy to reach.
In terms of insulation, honeycomb blinds may have the edge over single-layer pleated blinds. Honeycomb blinds are good at maintaining indoor temperatures because of their double-cell construction, which keeps heat within the blind.
Qualified blinds installers can advise whether a pleated blind or honeycomb blind would be best for your particular situation. Given that many skylights are unusual sizes or shapes, consulting a professional blind installer is a wise option. Very large skylights may need custom-made blinds.
Using a skylight blind effectively involves choosing which style of blind best suits your purposes in each particular room, especially deciding on materials and opacity, as well as operation methods. But with the variety of blind types and materials available, it is possible to solve your skylight issues stylishly.
For more information contact Effective Blinds & Awnings by phone: +27 10 040 7717 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.