Adding a skylight to your RV will allow you to enjoy the energizing illumination of natural sunlight while you are out camping. There are so many benefits to having a skylight in your RV that it truly makes sense that you get one rather than not. However, you need to know how to measure RV skylight so that you will not regret your decision later.
Keep in mind that you will be cutting a hole in the roof of your RV and that is not something that you should treat lightly. There is a saying that makers have, “measure twice and cut once”. It perfectly fits in this situation. It is best if you measure more than twice in this case because you will cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage if you make one wrong move.
Benefits of Installing an RV Skylight
If you are still undecided whether or not you should pull the trigger on getting an RV skylight, here are some of the biggest benefits that you will enjoy:
You will receive additional natural sunlight – Not only will you save on lighting but you will also gain the health benefits that natural sunlight has to give. Depending on the size and design of your skylight, you may never need to turn on any of your lights during the daytime.
You will get an additional source of fresh air – One of the reasons why you might be going on an RV trip is so you can escape from the smog-filled air of the city. Once you get out of the city limits and into the great outdoors, you can turn off your air conditioning, roll down your windows, and open up the skylight so you can get as much fresh air as you can.
You will get an additional view of the world outside the RV – If you are getting a clear skylight, you will essentially get an additional window where you can view the sky and clouds. Of course, it is best to enjoy the view from the skylight when you are already parked safely in your campground.
A skylight will make your RV seem larger – It can also make the vehicle feel more welcoming. The effect of having a skylight in your RV is the same as having large windows in your home. Having an additional window will make space look a whole lot bigger than it is. Furthermore, the soft light coming from the skylight will make the RV feel warm and cozy.
You will get an additional exit in case of an emergency – Having multiple points of exit in your RV is always a good thing. If you get into an accident wherein the usual points of entry are blocked or inaccessible, the skylight might be your best choice for making an emergency exit.
There are many more benefits to having a skylight in your RV but it would be better that you experience them first hand rather than reading about it. You should get a skylight as soon as you can so you can also experience the benefits firsthand.
Different Kinds of RV Skylights
Now that you are somewhat sold on the idea of getting a skylight for your recreational vehicle or trailer, you need to decide on what type of skylight you should get. There are many different designs to choose from but they usually boil down into two categories – fixed-dome skylights and ventilating skylights.
Fixed dome skylights – These skylights are the most popular because these are affordable. These skylights are usually made of sturdy acrylic. They are dome-shaped for several reasons – one of which is that rainwater will easily flow down and not pool in the center of the skylight.
The second is for strength and rigidity. Dome shapes are popular because they are strong and can stand on their own without the need for internal bracing and support. Lastly, dome-shaped skylights can spread light wider than a flat-faced skylight.
The dome skylights are usually colored white to improve light transmission but you can also get them in clear acrylic, or smoked in either brown or black tinting. You can also buy tinted covers for your dome skylight if you want to change it up every so often.
Ventilating skylights – These skylights are usually made of impact-resistant laminated glass and aluminum. These ports are always hinged along one side and opens up slightly at the opposite side due to a small window stopper.
Although these skylights do not disperse sunlight as efficiently as dome skylights, you can open them up when you want to breathe in the refreshing outside air. Also, note that if you get one that has a screen cover, you can open it up at night without worrying about bugs and insects getting inside the RV while you are sleeping at night.
Ventilating lights also have a couple of different sub-categories. There are electronic-lifting ventilating skylights. These are the ones that open up easily with just a push of a button. These are convenient as you can even open them up while you are driving your RV towards your campsite.
There are also manual-opening skylights. These are the skylights that require you to turn the handle to open them up. This type of skylight is popular with the old-school folks who do not trust the motorized opening skylights to last. At least with manual control, even if you have to twist it to open, you can rest assured that the controls will not bog down.
Tinted, Glazed or Clear – If you want the light to disperse efficiently inside your RV then you should get the white-colored dome lights as they evenly disperse natural light more evenly and thoroughly inside the RV. If you are thinking of adding a skylight because you want to have a clear view of the sky, then you should get the clear acrylic skylights.
These will turn your skylight essentially into an additional window that gives you a view of the clear blue sky and a star-studded night sky.
The problem with the first two skylight options is that they can cause severe sun damage to your indoor furniture. You will notice this more if you have leather-covered seats in your RV. It is because prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays will cause the leather to fade, dry up, and crack. When it gets too severe, it will be nearly impossible to repair.
To prevent this from happening to your expensive RV furniture, your skylight should be smoked or tinted. This will still allow you to look outside of the skylight but the number of UV rays that pass through is already filtered. This means you can get the benefits of natural light without having to live with its usual consequences.
How to Measure for your New RV Skylight?
By now, you must have decided on the kind of skylight that you want to install in your RV. Now, the only thing left for you to do is to decide where you will want the skylight placed on the roof of your RV.
Here are some tips to make sure that you will be getting the most accurate measurements so that you can get the right-sized skylight. Getting custom-made skylight will put you back a couple of hundred dollars, so you might as well get your order right the first time.
Choose the right location – You cannot just place skylights anywhere you want. The ceiling of recreational vehicles, pretty much like that of a residential home, is full of electrical wiring. If you happen to cut them off accidentally when sawing a hole in the roof, you are looking at hundreds of dollars’ worth of repairs.
Also, as much as possible, choose a location that will not require you to saw through too much material. Pick a spot on the roof that is in the thinnest portion.
Consider the available sizes of the sunroof – If you do not have enough room in your budget, consider taking the dimensions of the available models of skylights. For instance, if the manufacturer already has a skylight with dimensions that are almost the same as the one that you have in mind, then choose the ready-made one. Use its dimensions to find a suitable location for installation.
If your recreational vehicle did not come with a skylight then you should get one installed as soon as you can. You will not believe just how much of an improvement it can do. However, having a skylight installed does not mean you can just cut out any sized hole in the roof of your RV and then order a skylight kit hoping that it will fit.
This kind of reckless customization will result in thousands of dollars of serious damage, which could maybe even make the RV not roadworthy. Learn the proper way on how to measure RV skylight so you will have an RV modification that you can be proud of.
Hi, I am Dane Heldt, a full-time RVer since 2016. I am always passionate about building and joining an RV community where people share their love for RV lives. This blog is a dream of mine, as I can finally share my experiences to help people who want to start living differently. So, feel free to reach out to me!