Installing Triangle Skylights For Our Geodesic Dome

Installing Triangle Skylights on the geodesic dome

If you ask me, a geodesic or any other domes should have as many triangle skylights as possible or as many as you can afford; otherwise, they look pathetic from the outside and can be dark and even claustrophobic inside. In total, we installed 42 windows, rooftop skylights, triangle skylights, and double sliding doors. No, it’s not an overkill.

On our three-day dome tour with Natural Spaces Domes, we had a chance to visit several domes with different designs and sizes. But my first impressions were that they needed more skylights. When I asked the owners: “Why don’t you have more skylights?” some got a little upset or defensive for criticizing their homes. But honestly, I was not. Anyhow, usually, their answers were it cost too much, or they liked their privacy.

As for the privacy issues, any window or skylight can be tinted as dark as you’d like. It blocks the “Peeping Toms” from the outside but not your view from the inside. Yes, they can be pricey, especially if you need a double or triple-pane triangle skylight that can withstand the elements.

With that in mind, during the design process, we installed twenty single-pane triangle skylights, with a cluster of six tinted darker to cut down on the sun exposure facing south. On the cluster of nine skylights in the living room, we left the bottom five as is, and the rest is slightly tinted. The three triangles in the kitchen without tinting face the neighbor’s garden (we have 3 acres). In the main bathroom downstairs, we installed a cluster of two triangles, one reaching into the shower and facing the driveway. It is my fault that those are not tinted. I completely forgot, but there is no privacy issue because of their location.

Hiring Professionals When Installing Triangle Skylights Is an Excellent Idea

Installing triangle skylights or any other oversized windows is a stressful project, but these guys with their creativity and decades of experience, made it look like it’s not a big deal at all.

While Angie and Whalan worked on the roof, Kalei showed up with his seven-member crew to install triangle skylights. It was raining again or still, hard to tell.

For the first dome, we rented a skylift from Home Depot to install triangle skylights, but because it was getting wiggly while reaching over the dome, we had to tie it down to the back of the pickup truck to prevent it from tipping over. It would have been a disaster! Basically, the pickup was sitting on the skylift.

Installing triangle skylights on geodesic dome

Working on the roof of a geodesic dome is definitely much more dangerous because of its sloping and curved surface. Just look at these guys running up and down, maneuvering those heavy skylights all the way to the top.

I have to admit, I was pretty annoying during the installation, making scary sounds and hovering, worried to death for their safety.

men are installing triangle skylights on the top of the geodesic dome

Installing Triangle Skylights Requires Creativity & Organized Teamwork

For the second dome, Ben came up with and created a very clever platform or lift for this project. It looked a bit scary at first, but with precise coordination and teamwork, it worked out perfectly. These guys were amazing to work with on both domes; I can’t say enough good things about them, especially while installing triangle skylights.

very clever homemade platform installing triangle skylights for our geodesic dome

Ben is doing his magic with his little bobcat, lifting the skylights into their places. Two guys inside the dome on scaffolding grabbing the skylights with ginormous suction cups (that came with the dome kit) to secure them to the frames and roof.

very clever homemade platform installing triangle skylights for our geodesic dome

Using oversized suction cups improves stability by distributing the weight of the skylight more evenly, providing better stability during installation. This reduces the risk of accidental drops and breakage. These larger suction cups are designed to handle heavier loads. This capability is crucial in this case when installing triangle skylights, ensuring that the suction cups can support the weight effectively.

They offer a larger surface area, which means they can create a stronger vacuum seal. This enhanced grip makes it easier to lift and maneuver large windows or skylights without slipping or losing suction. Also, it allows the guys to position the suction cups more efficiently. This speeds up the installation process as it requires fewer adjustments and repositioning attempts. This ergonomic design reduces strain on the men, making it more comfortable to lift and position large windows or skylights.

installing triangle skylights with oversized suction cups
two men installing triangle skylights inside the geodesic dome with oversized suction cups

Tinting The Triangle Skylights Is a Good Idea

Tinting large windows and skylights can offer a range of practical and aesthetic benefits.

Our 22-foot-tall window in the living room is made up of 9 skylights facing north. Therefore, we decided to leave the bottom five as is and tint the rest since they are higher. You can see a slight difference in this picture.

the sun is very bright through the large triangle skylights
dark tinted triangle skylights
partially tinted triangle skylights

The skylights in the room that facing south have much darker tinting; you can’t see through from the outside but still get lots of light.

shadows of triangle skylights

Advantages of Tinting Windows & Skylights

  1. Energy Efficiency: Tinted windows can significantly reduce the heat entering a building, which helps in maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature. This can lead to reduced reliance on air conditioning, resulting in energy savings and lower utility bills.
  2. UV Radiation Protection: Tinted windows block a significant portion of harmful UV rays from the sun. UV rays can fade furniture, flooring, and artwork over time. Tinting helps in preserving the interiors and artwork by reducing the exposure to these rays.
  3. Glare Reduction: Tinted windows reduce glare caused by direct sunlight. This is particularly beneficial in office spaces where glare on computer screens can cause discomfort and reduce productivity. It also improves visibility for drivers in vehicles with tinted windows.
  4. Privacy and Security: Tinted windows provide increased privacy by making it difficult for outsiders to see inside. This is especially important for spaces like bathrooms or conference rooms. Additionally, tinted windows can make it harder for burglars to see inside, enhancing security.
  5. Comfort: By reducing heat and glare, tinted windows create a more comfortable indoor environment, making it easier for occupants to focus, relax, and enjoy the space.
  6. Aesthetics: Window tinting can enhance the overall appearance of a building. There are various tint colors and shades available, allowing for customization based on the architectural style and personal preferences.
  7. Reduction in Fading: Tinted windows protect curtains, carpets, and other furnishings from fading due to sunlight exposure. This preservation of interior elements can save money in the long run by delaying the need for replacements.
  8. Regulation of Temperature: Tinting can help in maintaining a consistent temperature throughout a building, reducing hot spots near windows and creating a more balanced indoor climate.
  9. Skylight Benefits: Tinted skylights offer all the aforementioned benefits and also provide natural light, which can enhance the aesthetic appeal of a space and positively impact occupants’ mood and well-being.
  10. Environmental Impact: By reducing the need for excessive air conditioning, tinted windows contribute to lower energy consumption, thus reducing the overall carbon footprint of a building.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of window tinting depends on factors such as the type of tint used, the climate of the region, and the orientation of the windows or skylights. Consulting with a professional can help in choosing the right tint for specific needs and maximizing the benefits.

Also Installed Velux Fresh Air Skylights for Ventilation

Proper waterproofing is essential to prevent leaks and water damage. Many would say that a watertight seal becomes more challenging due to the curved nature of the dome. Special attention must be given to flashing, sealants, and installation techniques to prevent water from sneaking in.

For the first dome, we installed four VSE/VCE Electric “Fresh Air” Skylights designed for curb- and deck-mounted installations. It brings in lots of natural light and can be operated and even programmed for ventilation with the touch of a button. They have a rain and wind sensor that will close the skylights when it’s raining and if there is a strong wind. I loved those features. We only installed four Velux skylights on the very top of the dome, but we missed the other rooms. You should have vent windows or skylights in every single room.

VSE/VCE Electric "Fresh Air" Skylights

On a personal note: During the installation of the Electric Velux Skylights, the inspector freaked out about wires hanging from the ceiling and shut down the installation until he finished his research on the skylights. There was no way that I was going to wait for him (previous experiences). So I printed out all the specifications, and everything I could find on the company’s website about the Velux Electric Skylights and pretty much overwhelmed him with tons of information. A week later, he came back to give us a go. Yay!

For the second dome, we were more prepared and got even more skylights, but this time, we installed five VSS Solar Powered “Fresh Air” Skylights and two Manual “Fresh Air” Skylights. ( The second manual skylight was a delivery mistake; we wanted the solar-powered one for that room since the ceiling is over 20 feet tall and hard to reach. But we will change it one of these days.)

VSS Solar Powered "Fresh Air" Skylights

We can open and close our skylight with the power of the sun! Fitted with a solar panel, this skylight collects the sun’s energy and uses it to open and close the skylight with the touch of a button.

Velux Manual Skylight

The Manual “Fresh Air” Skylights that are within reach, we can open and close them easily with a turn of a handle and, in our case, with an extension wand.

Benefits of Installing Velux Fresh Air Skylights in Your Home

Installing Velux Fresh Air Skylights in a home can offer several benefits, especially in terms of ventilation and indoor air quality. Here are the advantages of using these Skylights for ventilation in a home:

  1. Improved Indoor Air Quality: Fresh air skylights allow for natural ventilation, bringing in fresh outdoor air and expelling stale indoor air. This helps in reducing indoor air pollutants and improving overall indoor air quality.
  2. Enhanced Comfort: Proper ventilation helps in regulating indoor temperature and humidity levels. By allowing fresh air to circulate, skylights contribute to a more comfortable living environment throughout the year.
  3. Reduced Energy Costs: Natural ventilation reduces the need for mechanical cooling systems, such as air conditioners. By relying on natural airflow, homeowners can lower their energy consumption and subsequently reduce energy bills.
  4. Daylighting Benefits: Skylights not only provide ventilation but also allow natural daylight to enter the home. This can reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day, leading to additional energy savings.
  5. Moisture Control: Proper ventilation helps in controlling moisture buildup in the home. Excess moisture can lead to mold growth and damage to the home’s structure. Fresh air skylights aid in moisture control by allowing humid air to escape.
  6. Health Benefits: Adequate ventilation is essential for the health and well-being of occupants. It helps in preventing the buildup of indoor air pollutants, which can cause respiratory issues and allergies.
  7. Odor Removal: Fresh air skylights can quickly remove odors from cooking, cleaning, or other activities inside the home. The influx of fresh air helps in dissipating unwanted smells.
  8. Remote Control and Automation: Velux Fresh Air Skylights often come with remote control and automation features, allowing homeowners to easily open and close skylights, adjust blinds, and manage ventilation with the touch of a button.
  9. Rain Sensors: Some skylights are equipped with rain sensors that automatically close the skylight when they detect rain, ensuring that the interior of the home stays dry during storms.
  10. Home Value: Skylights can enhance the aesthetic appeal of a home and increase its market value. Potential buyers often appreciate the presence of skylights for the natural light and ventilation they provide.

It’s important to note that proper installation and regular maintenance are crucial to maximizing the benefits of Velux Fresh Air Skylights. Proper flashing and sealing during installation ensure that skylights do not leak, providing all the benefits without causing any issues for the homeowners.

Other Types of Windows

For the first dome, we installed windows that slide up and down because those are the ones we had in New York, and we liked them.

So, we purchased these windows from Home Depot for the rest of the dome. Sure, but these windows are cheap, made of vinyl, and only available in white. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hated them!

windows that slide up and down

The window under the six triangle skylights did not pass inspection because it failed to meet safety codes in case of an emergency; therefore, we had to replace it. Thank goodness!

ugly windows that slide up and down

The inspector was nice enough to give us a few ideas for a replacement window. Well, it was still white and vinyl, but at least it was bigger and looked somewhat better. I can live with those.

new windows installed

Some Common Reasons Windows Might Not Pass Inspection

Windows may fail safety inspections for various reasons. Safety inspections typically focus on ensuring that windows meet certain standards to protect occupants from hazards.

  1. Cracked or Broken Glass: Windows with cracked or broken glass pose a significant safety risk. Broken glass can cause injuries and fails to provide proper insulation.
  2. Improper Installation: Windows must be installed correctly to ensure they function properly and provide adequate security. If a window is not installed according to local building codes and manufacturer specifications, it may fail inspection.
  3. Inadequate Security Features: Windows should have proper locks and security features to prevent unauthorized access. If windows lack secure locks or other necessary security measures, they might not pass inspection.
  4. Seals and Weatherstripping: Windows should have intact seals and weatherstripping to prevent drafts and water leakage. Damaged or missing seals can lead to energy inefficiency and water damage.
  5. Operability Issues: Windows should be easy to open and close without excessive force. If windows are stuck, jammed, or difficult to operate, they might not meet safety standards.
  6. Egress Requirements: In residential buildings, windows used as emergency exits (egress windows) must meet specific size and accessibility requirements to allow for safe evacuation in case of fire or other emergencies. If a window does not meet these requirements, it may fail inspection.
  7. Safety Glass Requirements: Certain locations within a building, such as doors and windows near stairs, must have safety glass to prevent severe injuries in case of breakage. If safety glass is missing where required, the window may not pass inspection.
  8. Structural Issues: Windows that are structurally compromised due to issues like rot, decay, or damage to the window frame may not pass inspection. Structural integrity is crucial for the safety and stability of the window.
  9. Building Code Violations: Windows must comply with local building codes and regulations. If a window design or installation violates any code requirements, it will not pass inspection.
  10. Lack of Safety Labels or Certification: Windows, especially those in commercial buildings, may be required to have safety labels or certifications indicating that they meet specific safety standards. If these labels are missing or if the windows do not meet the required standards, they might fail inspection.

It’s important to consult local building codes and regulations to ensure that windows are installed and maintained in a way that meets safety standards and requirements specific to your area. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are key to ensuring windows pass safety inspections.

By Stella

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