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Still a square? Safety's improved



Published: Sun, September 29, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Don't worry about being spearedby glass raining from the ceiling.

Those who wish to stick with traditional skylights will be pleased to know that they are safer and more energy efficient than they used to be.

Mike O'Hara, of Salem Glass and Mirror, said the traditional skylight industry has developed a tinted glass to minimize UV ray penetration.

"It will allow light into a room but the room won't turn into an oven," O'Hara said.

And, thanks to industry upgrades focused on safety, if an accident should occur the ceiling won't rain shards of glass.

"Skylight glass is tempered on the outside so that, should an accident happen, it will break into many tiny pieces that won't cause any major cuts. And on the underside of the skylight -- the side inside your home -- the glass is laminated like a car's windshield so if it breaks, the laminate will hold in the fragments of glass and they won't fall on anyone," O'Hara explained.

Popular locations

People usually want skylights for their family rooms and bedrooms, but O'Hara said many people shy away from a skylight in the bathroom because they "are worried someone will be able to watch them."

"If the bathroom ceiling is really high, then sometimes people will want a small skylight there," O'Hara said.

O'Hara doesn't recommend that the average homeowner try to install a traditional skylight on their own.

"You need to call a roofer. If you do something wrong -- and that's easy to do if you don't have the knowledge and experience -- you are going to end up with a leaky roof," he said.

Maintenance

When it comes to traditional skylight maintenance, O'Hara recommends checking the flashing around the skylight once a year.

"If you have a problem with the glass, you can call a glass company, but if you have a problem with leaks, you should call a roofer," O'Hara said.

Besides checking the flashing for leaks, the only other type of skylight maintenance is keeping them clean.

"The rain washes a lot of the outside dirt off for you, so you'll just need to clean the inside the same way you'd clean a window," O'Hara said.

A new type of glass that's emerging in the skylight industry is designed to repel water from the outside.

"This sheeting action helps keep the glass cleaner for a longer period of time," O'Hara said.




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