Q&A / 

Skylights – Flared vs. Straight Shafts

Skylights - Flared Shafts

Skylights can make a dim space bright. Flared shafts add even more light by spreading the light beams to other parts of the room.

I goofed up many of the first skylight shafts I built. I simply extended the shaft down square from the roof-slope. You can get lots more light if you just expand the opening. It is easy to do and requires very little extra work. Look at the diagrams to see the humdrum shaft vs. the flared shaft. You can see why flared is supreme.

Notice the extra light gained by simply flaring a skylight shaft.

Notice the extra light gained by simply flaring a skylight shaft.

There are several easy ways to flare a shaft. You do not have to be an expert carpenter to achieve superb results. Commonly just the top and bottom are flared. This is often your only option if the skylight shaft is created within trusses. Remember you can't cut and rebuild a truss unless you do so under the direction of a registered engineer.

The more complex shaft is one that is flared on all four sides. This does take quite a bit of skill as you are basically building a complex hip roof structure beneath the skylight. In fact, if you flare it too much the sides actually get twisted into a slight helix. Be careful about trying to get too fancy! Most people are very satisfied with just the top and bottom flare.

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