Skylights

Tell anyone that you live in an underground house that has a lot of windows and after the initial puzzlement they suddenly beam, "Oh, you must mean skylights, huh?"

Not a chance. To our way of thinking skylights are more hassle than they are worth. They have these disadvantages:

(1) They bleed the heat out of your house. If a window loses fifteen times more heat than a well insulated wall then a skylight is that much worse for the heat in any given room tends to gather up towards the ceiling.

(2) Skylights often leak, especially when built by non-professionals. If you don't believe this, ask anyone who has built a dome with skylights.

(3) Things tend to fall through skylights. This is not much of a worry on conventional buildings—they, after all, are dozens of feet above ground—but on underground housing, where things often walk over the roof, this can be a real threat. Especially on a homestead. Consider the number of things which could fall through: thrown objects, rolling objects, falling objects, walking or running objects such as goats, cows, horses, bears, children, stone-outs . . . why, the list is endless. If you have been so foolish as to glaze your skylight with regular glass consider what may likely happen if something comes through. The natural tendency is to look towards the source of a sudden sound, which means people below would instinctively look up at the sound of crashing glass—which means those below would get faces and eyes full of showering glass splinters. Now you, living in fear of such an eventuality, might duck getting merely a neck and head full of glass, but how about vour visitors and children?

If this still does not dissuade you please consider doing these things: (1) cover your skvlight with a non-shattering material such as sheets of plastic corrugated greenhouse roofing; (2) double up the sheets so that there is an air space in between for insulation like thermal window panes; (3) raise the skylight a foot or more above your sod roof so that it is both a visual and physical reminder that there is a skylight there, and so that the drainage from the roof itself is not tempted to congregate around the invisible and all but inevitable gaps in your glazing. If this last suggestion doesn't completely eliminate leaks at least it will reduce considerably the volume of water coming through.

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