Have a unique skylight?

I happened to be going through an open house last weekend near my home to see the inside of a unique home in my area.

In the large circular living room, there was an octagonal skylight in the center of the vaulted ceiling.  The skylight was original to the home, built in the 1970’s.

Clearly, not your traditional rectangular skylight! 

What is a homeowner (or the buyer of this property) to do with a unique skylight like this one that needs to be replaced?

First, this would be a custom replacement.  A skylight would need to be ordered specifically for this application.  In this situation, it is especially important that you choose to work with someone who has expert knowledge about all types of skylights.

Here is another example of a unique skylight replacement we have done.

Many times, it is impossible (and often not wise) to mimic the original method and materials used to install this skylight arrangement.  Outdated and inefficient means of construction may have been used. 

We’ve seen many unique skylight situations and can help you deal with yours.

I look forward to talking with you!
(913) 492-2989

Decorate a room with VELUX skylights!

Just out from VELUX…a new line of shades that will make you want skylights in your bedroom! 

Or, if you already have skylights, it may be time to redecorate your room, based on these amazing new options.

Here are just a few available….

(That’s the designer, Karim Rashid.)

Now it’s time to re-do that room!

Please call me if you have any questions or to find out how
to get these blinds!

(913) 492-2989

Skylight quiz…how much do you know?

I’ve turned some common skylight questions into a quick quiz…
how much do you know?





And now the answers…

1) FALSE….Today’s clear glass VELUX skylights are a great deal more energy efficient that yesterday’s tinted plastic skylights.  For more details, check out previous blogs or our website!

2) FALSE…VELUX has blinds and shades to fit every skylight and is rolling out an extensive new line of decorator blinds. 

3) FALSE…if you choose VELUX and choose MIDWEST SKYLIGHT as your installer you can rest assured that you will benefit from VELUX quality (including the No-Leak Promise) and the expertise only we can offer.  

4) FALSE…Skylights can be installed and a drywall shaft can be built into rooms that are not vaulted.  Or, the VELUX SUNTUNNEL is the perfect choice for those tricky rooms that need natural light, but the roof is harder to reach.

If you have any questions, please give me a call!

(913) 492-2989

New Velux Skylight App sheds light in your room!

Are you considering adding a skylight to your home but having trouble envisioning how
it will look in your room?

Simply download Velux’s new Skylight Planner App available to iPhone, iPad Touch and Android smartphones.  Using this App, you can take a photo of your room and insert one or more Velux skylights into the photo. 

The Velux app also lets you add blinds to the skylight in your photo as well as viewing one versus multiple skylights in the room.

I use the app every day to help homeowners see exactly what their room will look like after we complete the installation.  There’s no more guessing how it will change their home…they can see right away that the results will be amazing.

Give me a calll if you have any questions or would like to talk skylights.


Tinted, plastic skylights are history for this reason…

Here’s a topic I address quite often with homeowners  so I suspect it’s only the first time I will address it on Midwest Skylight’s blog site.

I enounter more than a few people who believe that any new or replacement skylight they install should be tinted, just as their previous one probably was.

Here is why in the “old fashioned” skylights were tinted.. the only way to make them block the hot the sun’s rays was to tint them.  Even by doing that, these old plastic skylights are a far cry from energy efficient…they may have just seemed that way because the bright light was filtered.

Enter today’s new glass Velux skylights.  Yes, they are as clear as the windows on your house.  However, they are as energy efficient and protective as the best windows you can buy and even then some.

Velux glass skylights are made with an energy performance glazing with a 12 layer patented coating.  The LoE3-366 glass reduces window heat gain by 64% compared to ordinary glass.  Velux skylights are Energy Star qualified in the US. 

So, there is no need for tinting anymore.  The glass does the work for you.  Just a clear few into the sky.  Now, for light blocking purposes, we carry a large line of blinds and shades made by Velux for those who would like to be able to change the light level.

Can you tint a glass skylight?  Yes, there are companies who will do that for you.  However, because it is altering the skylight itself, the warranty will be voided by Velux.  A much better solution is to give us a call and we can talk about getting you a shade or blind.

I hope that helps clear up this misconception.  Give me a call if you have any questions.  I look forward to hearing from you!


Skylights and hail in Kansas City

In all the years we’ve been in business there have been very few hail storms that damaged homes like the one we just had Sunday night (April 3, 2011).

I’m fielding call from both the Kansas and Missouri side.  There are definitely concentrated areas where hail did the most damage. 

However, the reports from homeowners are that the hail was not necessarily large.  Why, then, did it do an inordinate amount of damage?

People are telling me the hail they saw was very jagged…as opposed to smooth and round like typical hail.  Is this the difference?  I decided to check the web to see if I could get an explanation.  I quickly found a scientific site about tornadoes from the UK that addressed the severity of hail.

I learned something really interesting…the site says it’s not the size of the hail that is as destructive as the addition of strong winds to the hail.  Here’s a quote:

“a fall of walnut-sized hail with little or no wind may scar fruit and sever the stems of crops but would not break vertical glass and so would be ranked H2-3. However, if accompanied by strong winds, the same hail may smash many windows in a house and dent the bodywork of a car, and so be graded an intensity as high as H5.”

So, it looks like we had the right combination of hail and very strong winds in Kansas City.  I’m sorry for all the damage it has caused because I know it’s a frustration to deal with.

As usual, if I can help you with skylights in any way, please call!

(913) 492-2989

Can a Sun Tunnel be divided to go into 2 rooms?

Last weekend at the Kansas City Home Builders Association Home Show, I heard this question more than a couple times, so I’d like to address it here in the blog for anyone who is curious.

The short answer is…”no”…a Velux Sun Tunnel is not manufactured to allow for a “Y” tubing piece which will allow two separate tubes to divert light into two separate rooms.

Here are the main reasons this is not being done:

1)  There is no such “Y” tubing piece being made to fit the Velux  Sun Tunnels.  We do not recommend that folks try to make their own tube or use “dryer vent” tubing.  Sun Tunnel rigid and flexible tubing is not the same as tubing you can purchase in a home improvement store.  It’s made specifically for durability and energy efficiency.

2) Diverting light into two places would divide the light and both spaces would see less light than Sun Tunnels typically provide one space. 

3) Using a “Y” tubing section would require more “piecing together” of tubing in the attic, a practice we like to avoid.  More taping of tubing results in the increased risk that it will become detached or loose, thus compromising the Sun Tunnel.

Hope that answers your questions.  As always, give me a call if you would like talk skylights.

Skylight Tax Credits for 2011

Never thought skylights would qualify for tax credits?  They do, as long as they are Energy Star rated!

The details of the tax credits can be found on


but here are some basics taken directly from the website:


On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. This law extends the tax credits for energy efficiency into 2011, BUT at lower levels. The levels revert back to those in effect in 2006 and 2007, which were 10% of the cost of the improvement, up to $500, with a $200 max for windows, and several other set maximums.

Tax Credit Amount: 10% of the cost, up to $500, but windows are capped at $200.

Must be ENERGY STAR qualified.

You do not have to replace all the windows/doors/skylights in your home to qualify. And it doesn’t need to be a replacement either – installing a new window where there wasn’t one previously (like in an addition) qualifies.

Tax Credit does NOT include installation costs.

30% of cost with no upper limit


December 31, 2016


Existing homes & new construction qualify. Both principal residences and second homes qualify. Rentals do not qualify

Please contact me if you have any questions about the tax credit for 2011.


Sun Tunnel vs. Hail…Sun Tunnel wins!

In today’s busy world it’s always a good day when someone takes the time to give positive feedback, so it was especially nice to get a call from previous customer, Ken W., from North Kansas City. 

Ken took the time to call me during the holiday week and let me know that the Sun Tunnel we installed in 2000 came through a fall 2010 hail storm with flying colors

Unforunately, Ken’s roof and siding was not so lucky and had to be repaired

Thanks, Ken, for taking the time to get in touch 10 years after we last saw you to tell us your story.

A happy & healthy New Year to you and all of our many valued customers! 


The photo is courtesy of Google Images. It is not Ken’s house, as a photo was not available.  It is a good
example of the damage hail can do to a home.

Composition shingles over wood shake…yikes!

As soon as composition shingles were invented, I’m sure someone decided that it would be ok to lay new composition roofing over the old wood shake shingles, rather than start over and re-roof the right way.

The previous owners of our house were in that category…
I am holding my breath that my composition-over-wood roof will last until I am able
to have it re-roofed the right way.

I understand that a roof is the largest and most expensive replacement item in a home.  It’s tough for many people to pay for it and consequently, they put it off.  When a roofer suggests the much cheaper route of using the wood shingles as the “decking” (for those who aren’t familiar, plywood decking is what is under all composition roofing) it sounds like an acceptable option.

It is not...and I think any reputable roofer would agree.

Here’s why….when you lay composition shingles over wood shingles, you are doing that because
the wood needs to be replaced in the first place…. it is old, brittle and cracked and probably leaking.

When composition is put over it, water will invariably find a way through.  Believe me, I’ve got proof above my head every day.

However, a correctly installed composition roof has the layer of plywood decking, THEN a layer of roofing felt.  Both of these layers are crucial as a water barrier.  Check out the photo above…the “slats” are the only thing under a wood shingle roof.

Relying on the old wood shingles as your water barrier is risky business...if you’re lucky, you
will escape trouble for while…but not nearly as long as the life of a properly installed comp roof.

AND…here’s where I come in….when water comes through the comp, it goes right through the wood shake into your attic.  Many leaks you may never see.  A skylight is a means to notice a leak…
not because the skylight caused it, but because that is how the water found it’s way to show up on your ceiling. 

I see this problem so often that my first advice for anyone needing new roof is
and be leary of the roofer who offers it up.

It may seem like the least expensive route now, but in the long run, it’s a sure road to headaches and extra expenses that we all like to avoid!


photo of composition on top of shake roof from arwoodroof.com