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Building skylight cover, with exhaust fan!

One of the projects that I've been noodling over is the main Skylight. It's a classic brownstone skylight directly over the entire stairwell with a built in ridge vent that helps hot air escape in the summer. Great, right? Well, not so much in the winter as the heat flows right up the staircase and out...

Traditionally, these skylights had an enormous decorative cover that sat at ceiling level, forming an insulating air space between the ceiling and the skylight glass. Problem is, they were very heavy and unwieldy to remove. So guess what? They disappeared/broke/fell and were never replaced.

I thought: Hm. Good idea, bad execution. We can do better. What about a permanently installed cover, with flaps that opened and closed (yeah, I get to use magnets!!) that ALSO had an exhaust fan that turned on when temps or humidity got to a certain level?? Perfect. Seal it closed in winter, drop the wings in summer. Voila!

Below is a video slideshow of the build. Was a lot more complicated than I had thought, as, of course, nothing was remotely square or level in the skylight opening. Note to self: always build the frame and opening flaps at ground level, then install as one unit. Oh well, next time... Enjoy...


  • Mahogany slab, ripped into stiles and sashes for flaps that open
  • 1/4" Lexan (which is actually bulletproof glass) for windows
  • Hafele Duo Forte lid stays so flaps open down slowly
  • Brass piano hinges
  • Magnetic door catches, 50 pound capacity 
  • Brass flush-mount ring pulls for handles
  • Brass transom hook and pole, for opening/closing the flaps
  • Angle iron, for attaching lid stays
  • 2x4s
  • 14" super quiet/efficient attic exhaust fan
  • Combo temperature and humidity switch for fan automation
  • Surface mount steel electrical boxes and wiring
  • Router bits for cutting in flap details
  • Self sticking insulation strip to seal flaps to frame when closed 
  • Lots of clamps
  • Ridiculous ladder positioning over stairs...

[where: 10032][where: Harlem][where: Sugar Hill]

This post first appeared on Green In Harlem, please read the originial post: here

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Building skylight cover, with exhaust fan!


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