Glass vs. Acrylic Skylights–a Basic Comparison


There are many variations of skylights on the market today but the panes used in a skylight can be categorized by two basic types, glass and acrylic. Each material offers advantages as well disadvantages so you have to take these considerations into account when picking the right skylight for your situation.

Sunlight: glass allows in more direct sunlight but acrylic skylights have the ability to take in sunlight from many angles–which results in more overall light entering the room. If your main concern is illuminating a room, then a clear acrylic dome would be best choice. If you are trying to soften the light or to eliminate glare then an acrylic skylight with a bronze or white tint is the best option.

Utility: glass has certain advantages because it can block out noise and will not discolor over time as will an acrylic skylight, but acrylics are easier to clean and will not shatter as easily as glass. In areas with extreme temperature variations acrylic tend to be more suitable since it allows for less energy transfer-this is especially true of the double and triple dome skylights.

Appearance: glass is the easy winner here. Acrylics are not as clear as glass and have a rather “filmy” appearance. Glass, on the other hand, can be clear or colored and can be fabricated to almost any design desired. If having a decorative skylight is very important to you then glass should be your obvious choice.

In general, acrylics tend to be the more practical choice while glass is the more aesthetic choice. Both materials will work equally well for the majority of skylight installations but if you have a specific function in mind for your skylight then choosing the right material can be important.