Q: My husband and I are remodeling a cramped attic bathroom. The costs are adding up, and we are trying to make decisions about what to keep or give up. We wanted to add a windowed dormer to make the ceiling higher and give the bathroom more room, but it got expensive. Without any other way to add a window, I think a skylight would be a good way to bring in light. My husband hears only horror stories about how skylights leak, fog up, and destroy the roof, so he doesn't want to spend the money. What do you think?
A: A bathroom with a beautiful skylight is a little luxury for every day, as any natural light is going to be better than none. With a skylight, your bathroom will look larger, more airy, and brighter. Sometimes the light from a skylight is even brighter and more consistent than light from a standard window and can make the ceiling seem higher, too. And, a view of treetops and the stars at night is a great way to bring the outdoors inside.
I love how attic bathrooms are full of quirks and charm that help create a fun and personal space. You didn't mention your other priorities for this remodeling, so weigh your options carefully together with your husband. I'll say, however, that a spacious bathroom with nice natural light is more romantic than a bathroom with poor lighting.
Skylights also provide an unparalleled sense of privacy. Unless you have a house surrounded by tall buildings or your neighbors really like to climb trees, passersby on the street won't ever get a peek inside your bathroom. And if you do need privacy or more light control, there are shades designed for skylights that will help.
As for leaks and other issues, a licensed contractor or company with experience should prevent any trouble. They also would be able to tell you whether adding a skylight is even possible for your house, and what kind of heating options and ventilation you'll need. And they can advise you on other considerations, depending on how your house, particularly the roof, is built, and whether some local building codes are relevant.