Installing a DIY skylight in your home is a lot easier than you think. There are so many advantages to these skylights that I’m sure everyone would or should want one or two. Aside from the romantic aspects of watching the rain or snow fall at night with the stars glowing, skylights cut down on your use of electricity (in our case, kerosene) and will help heat your home on sunny days.
I’m not a very talented person in this department, but with a sunny afternoon and a little research at the dump, these portholes in the roof proved to be quite simple to add to a new or already existing structure. And let’s face it, any home improvement that can actually be done by the homeowner is an invaluable source of self esteem, and accomplishing it for almost nothing can only add to that good feeling.
First gather all the materials (most of which can be scrounged for free) and tools necessary for the job. The building process will only take about two hours.
Materials Needed:Old window (from a dump or demolition company)
1-by-4-inch board cut to the length you need (this is determined by adding 2 inches on all
sides of your window and measuring)
2-by-6-inch board the appropriate length for a window casing
1-by-2-inch board to support the window in the casing on all sides
1-by-6- or 1-by-8-inch board the length of your window
1 quart roofing tar and a suitable paint brush
4 pieces of lath
1 piece of 6 mil clear plastic at least 10 inches larger than window on either side
1 pound each eightpenny and tenpenny common nails
1 box small staples
Scrap roofing (about 2 yards)
Constructing the Skylight
When it’s time to go to work, be sure to pick a day when you’ll have a few hours of sunshine. (These directions are for an already existing building, but if you’re building a new home, it’s even easier.)
1. Remove all roofing where hole is to be cut.
2. Cut hole in your roof the size of your window. Being on the lazy side, I used a chain saw, but a hand saw will work just as well.
3. Measure and cut 2-by-6-inch board and frame under edge of hole, making a casing for the window to set in.
4. Measure and cut 1-by-2-inch boards to fit inside of casing flush with bottom and nail.
5. Set window in place (and smile because it’s startin’ to take shape)
6. Build a frame from the 1-by-4, 2 inches larger on all
sides than the hole and nail to roof.
7. Cut the 1-by-6 or 1-by-8 to fit inside across middle of frame. Cut so board tapers to 4 inches at the ends and nail in place.
8. Tar and paper around frame on roof.
9. Cover with plastic and staple in place.
10. Nail lath around outside of frame to help secure plastic.
Now enjoy all the warm sunlight shining in through your roof. In the evening you won’t have to light your lamps as early, which will save you what it cost to build this economical, practical skylight.