March 2023: Skylights

Number 109, March 2023

From the Desk of Mandy

I have often heard that “Realizing there is a problem gets you halfway to the solution”. It’s an interesting concept, and probably a fairly accurate one, for how can you solve a problem when you don’t know that one exists?

The first step to recovering from alcoholism, according to Alcoholics Anonymous, is to admit “…I am an alcoholic.” This admission and identification of the root problem is an absolutely vital first step to recovery.

It should be noted, however, that identifying the problem accurately is critical.

If your house takes on water every time it rains, you might hire a roofer to fix the problem. That seems like a proper solution, but what if the roof isn’t the problem? What if the rain is coming in through gaps around the badly-installed windows and doors? No amount of new roofing will keep the rain from coming in because new roofing simply ignores the actual problem.

Thomas Jefferson made an interesting prediction many years ago. He wrote: “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

The problems that Americans face today are numerous and, in more than one case, treacherous. There is absolute rot occurring on our academic front, deep moral depravity on our spiritual front, massive debt accumulation on our financial front, and a widespread shattering of the nuclear family unit.

If, as Jefferson predicted, our loss of personal property rights and personal freedoms is being caused by those that control our banking institutions, at least we can identify the root problem. It is a daunting problem, to be sure, but if we know the root problem we can begin to concoct a solution.

Our academic achievements as a nation are at an all-time low. Is the root problem really that, as we’ve been told for years, “teachers are underpaid”? Can you think of a specific case in which a throw-more-money-at-it approach actually improved the output?

Increasing the cost of something rarely raises the value of it.

Moral depravity is running rampant across the nation today. Why? There is no lack of church buildings. We have Baptist churches, Methodist churches, Apostolic churches, Catholic churches, and Presbyterian churches, to name just a few. Usually when I hear someone speak ill of religion, it’s because he equates Christianity with hypocrisy! Has it occurred that our religious institutions are themselves the cause of the moral depravity we see across our nation? What if religion has been diluted and commercialized to the point that it has actually become the root problem with our national morality?

As our nuclear families fall apart, we notice a steep rise in the relentless persecution of our men. Could it be that the two are related?

There is no question of whether we will face challenges in this life; the question is, will we rise to meet them? If we use the right tools, we can solve any and every problem we face. God has given us everything we need (II Peter 1:3) to solve our problems; the question is, will we be wise enough to take up the tools He has provided?



Why would anyone want a skylight in their home?

If you have a room that seems dark and could use a little natural light, perhaps a skylight would work for you. Basically, a skylight is a window on the roof.

A skylight in a closet or bathroom brings in natural light making the room brighter. Even at night the moonlight gives a nice glow in any room. Remote shades are available for skylights so you can block the light from them if you wish to do so.

Skylights can be nice in central areas of the house where there are no windows.

These three skylights brighten the atmosphere in this living room.

Basically, there are three types of skylights.

One which probably does not fit here in the lowcountry very well is an opening skylight. While there are some days when it would be nice to have outside air, there are not too many considering pollen, humidity and other factors. However, many of these are remotely controlled and even have a moisture sensor so they automatically close if they sense rain.

Probably the most common type of skylight is a fixed one. Typically, these are 14.5″ wide so they can fit between rafters and ceiling joists. The tunnel from the roof to the ceiling does not have to be straight, but it can be. It is also possible to hide indirect lighting in the skylight tunnel. 

This closet is large enough a fixed skylight works well. A tube skylight may be used for smaller rooms if you want to bring in some natural light.

The third type of skylight is a tube skylight. This is a small (10 inches to 22 inches) diameter shiny pipe to bring light into a smaller area such as a bath or closet.

This cutaway shows how a tube skylight could be installed. Tube skylights are well suited for small rooms that are remotely located within a house.

The glazing material on a skylight can be glass or plastic (acrylic or polycarbonate). Glass is more expensive than plastic, but typically lasts longer. Eventually plastic will yellow, especially in the bright South Carolina sun. (Look at headlights on older cars to see what happens to clear plastic over time.) Impact rated skylights are also available.

There are some obvious requirements for a skylight such as there has to be a roof (not another floor) above the room. There are also minimum requirements for the steepness of the roof. If those couple of requirements are met then a skylight may be possible.

This is how a skylight looks on a shingle roof. They can be made watertight and are impact resistant to meet building codes.

Clearly, the best time to install a skylight is when you are building an addition or new home. They can be easily incorporated into the roof before the roofing material is installed.

If installing in an existing roof the project could be considerably more difficult. The roof type might affect the feasibility of adding a skylight also. For instance, adding a skylight to tile or slate roofs would be very difficult to incorporate and end up with a nice looking roof. Metal roofs are also a bit more difficult to flash if you are adding a skylight.

If you are thinking of adding a skylight to your home, there are a few more things to consider. First, skylights get dirty quickly and need to be cleaned but because they are on a roof that can be difficult. They also have a tendency to collect leaves and debris that has to be cleaned off periodically.

Whenever skylights are discussed someone will inevitably ask “don’t skylights always leak?” The truth is, yes, eventually. Nothing lasts forever. However, a good quality skylight and a well done installation will give many years of good service.

If you have any questions or comments, please call or text (843 846 2500) or email ( We will be happy to discuss any questions or issues with you. No cost or obligation on your part, of course.

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