Skylights, gutters, and attic insulation

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Skylights are a great way to turn the dark areas of your home into bright little corners of sunshine and warmth. The jury’s still out on whether skylights should be considered windows or part of the roof, but here’s what we can say for sure: skylights can provide up to 30% more natural light for the home, as well as create a sense of increased space in the areas it illuminates. At times, some geographic or architectural feature may limit the amount of light you can get through your windows. Sometimes, even the size of the windows themselves can make for inadequate natural light coming into your indoor spaces; installing a skylight allows you to bypass these issues and light up the room to the degree you prefer. The benefits of installing skylights don’t stop at providing additional natural lighting, however. Even on overcast days, skylights can provide significant natural lighting; as a result of your reduced dependence on electrical lighting, a properly-installed skylight will help reduce your electrical bills, too. This contributes to your home’s overall energy efficiency. Skylights also contribute to the level of comfort in a room; natural light tends to be softer and more diffuse, as compared to that from electrical lights. This reduces the amount of glare and eye strain that you might otherwise get sitting in the same room, were it lit solely with electrical lights.


There are many options available for those looking to install skylights, including the following: • FIXED SKYLIGHTS – you can probably tell from the name alone that these skylights do not open, much like picture windows

• REMOTE-CONTROLLED SKYLIGHTS – fitted with motors that allow them to be opened and closed, these skylights can be operated with a simple remote control unit • VENTILATING SKYLIGHTS – these skylights act as a combination of skylight and roof ventilator, and provide both lighting and increased air flow into your rooms Solar tube skylights, also known as tubular skylights, sun tubes, sun tunnels, and light tubes, are a variation on the more traditional windowon-a-roof skylight design. Consisting of a 10- or 14-inch diameter sheet metal tube with a polished interior, solar tube skylights capture the daylight on your roof and channel it along the tube’s length while maintaining the intensity of light. A 10-inch tubular skylight delivers the equivalent of three 100-watt light bulbs, enough to illuminate a floor area of up to 200 square feet. If you’re not really looking to add a skylight to your home, then have you considered getting new gutters? More on gutters in Part Two.


Wet and windy weather can expose the worst in your home. Bad weather conditions have a way of finding the smallest flaws in your home and taking advantage of them, allowing water to penetrate where it shouldn’t and leading to leaks in your home. Over time, these leaks can cause you not only the inconvenience of having to clean up the water, but the very real possibility of damage to your home. Gutters serve several purposes. With a properly functioning gutter system, rain water is moved away from the foundation of your home. A gutter system that is working also helps keep you dry because the water runs off the roof where you want it to rather than over the edge of your home. While steel, copper, and vinyl have all been used (and are still being used today) to construct gutter systems, perhaps arguably the best gutters in use today are made from aluminum. The ease with which aluminum can be worked allows for the creation of custom-fit, seamless gutters that are specially made to work with your home’s design. The customized measurements used in the manufacture of these aluminum gutters helps to make sure that your individual, personalized gutter solution works well, regardless of the unique features or configurations your home might have. At the same time, the seamless design used in these custom gutters reduces the chance of leaks in the gutter system; with proper maintenance, water will come out of the downspouts, and only the downspouts.


Aluminum’s popularity in gutter systems is a combination of many factors; aluminum is, compared to other gutter materials, relatively inexpensive, which will potentially give you a relatively high return on the initial investment. At the same time, aluminum is not only durable, it is also rustproof; with the years and years of service you can expect from a new aluminum gutter system, you get not just a good investment, but a great long-term investment.

Rounding out our series on home improvements that positively impact your roof is attic insulation. More on this in Part Three.


Hot air, as everyone knows, rises. Therefore, the best way to keep that hot air trapped, when you want to keep your house warm and cozy during the cold months, is to make sure your attic insulation is up to snuff. Estimates supplied by the Department of Energy indicate that up to 44% of the energy you spend to heat or cool your home is spent to make up for badly-insulated walls and ceilings. If you stand to lose just under half of that heated or cooled air, then you want to make sure your insulation is the best available on the market.

Blown-in insulation, also known as loose-fill insulation, is in many ways the ideal type for use in insulating your attic. As the name implies, special machinery is used to blow small, loose particles of insulating material directly into the cavities in your attic’s walls and floors. Because of the way the material is inserted into these cavities, there is much less settling with blown-in insulation as compared with other forms of attic insulation. This means that it’s a lot easier to estimate whether or not you’ve got sufficient insulation with blown-in insulation than it is with other types of insulation.


Depending on the options offered by the company you hire to do your blown-in insulation, you’ll have the choice of either cellulose or fiberglass as the material to be used to fill in your walls and floors. Cellulose loose fill, made from recycled newsprint and/or corrugated cardboard and treated with a fire retardant material, has been in use since the 1920s and is an old stand-by. The other option, fiberglass, is great for combating common insulation problems like mildew, fungus, and seeping moisture, while at the same time providing just as much insulation as cellulose. One nice thing about blown-in insulation is that it can be added on top of any existing insulation you may already have. This allows you to make sure that you’ve got the insulation you need, and the energy efficiency you want, without having to strip off and remove the old insulation and start from scratch.

Tedrick’s Roofing, Inc. 37220 188th Ave SE Auburn, WA 98092


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