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Do You Need an RV Skylight Shade?

Keep Your RV Cooler With an RV Skylight Shade

Add natural light, energy-saving, and aesthetically pleasing–RV skylights are a great addition to RVs. In many cases, RVs come preinstalled with at least one skylight, typically in the shower area. Like windows, however, there are cases where covering a skylight (at least temporarily) is necessary. And in those situations, an RV skylight shade would do just the trick.

What type of RV skylights are available on the market?

Nowadays, skylights come in an array of sizes and designs. Consumers can choose from types like fixed, ventilated, and tubular skylights.

Fixed skylights are sealed tight and won’t open. In contrast, ventilated skylights can be opened to allow fresh air in, and some include fans to help with circulation. Tubular skylights use a rooftop dome to capture the sun’s rays and then transfer the light indoors using a reflective-lined tube and diffuser. 

A tubular skylight consists of a rooftop dome to capture the sun's rays, a reflective-lined tube, and a diffuser.
Example of a tubular skylight manufactured by Solar Blaster

Companies, like Solar Blaster in Arizona, manufacture modified low-profile tubular skylights for RVs (among many other products). They recommend interested parties call to discuss the application before purchasing, as a minor modification is warranted.

Benefits of RV Skylights 

There are many reasons folks prefer skylights in their rigs and why many new RVs roll off the factory floor with at least one installed. RV skylights:

  • Let in natural light to an otherwise small and dark space.
  • Allow for better air circulation, particularly with ventilated types.
  • Offer extra headroom, especially in the shower.
  • Transform the look of your interior, making it appear more spacious and homey. 
  • Provide additional warmth and insulation from sunlight in the winter.
  • Lessen reliance on electricity and conserve battery power when boondocking.
  • Offer another view of the outdoors without compromising privacy.
  • Allow sunshine into areas of the rig, which can help prevent mold or moisture build-up.
  • Offer another way to escape in an emergency.

Benefits of an RV Skylight Shade and Why You Would Need One

With so many benefits, why would anyone want to cover up a skylight? By utilizing an RV skylight shade, you can help:

Control brightness. Depending on the location of the RV skylight, light penetrating through can reflect off appliances or fixtures inside, creating a rather uncomfortable glare. Continuous exposure to UV rays can even damage your furniture. RV skylight shades can lessen or eliminate these problems quickly.

Reduce heat. Under direct sunlight, some skylights can quickly heat the interior of your rig. Not only does an RV skylight shade help regulate the amount of sunlight that enters your RV. During the summer, especially, the shade helps reduce your heat load and cool down the interior.  

Address health issues: Bright light can also be quite harmful, as in the case with Bella222. The member of the online RV community iRV2 Forums posted a question concerning her skylight and how to control the brightness that shines through. She mentioned, “… I have light sensitivities with my migraines, and too much bright light sends me into waves of nausea….”  

Improve sleep: RVers working graveyard shifts would also benefit from an RV skylight shade (or, even better, a blackout shade/cover). Darkness is critical to sleep; the absence of light signals to the body that it is time to rest. Light exposure at the wrong times interferes with both the quantity and quality of sleep.

Purchase or Make an RV Skylight Shade

Some people absolutely love their RV skylight and all of the natural light it brings into their living area. But, some people isn’t everyone. If the bright light and excess heat caused by your RV skylight are bothersome, installing an RV skylight shade is the easiest fix. Whether you purchase one or create your own, there are many ways you can dim or darken the sunroof to enjoy a calmer, less bright interior. Many of the following ideas are from fellow RVers, shared via iRV2 Forums. They include a combination of temporary and permanent fixes.

RV Skylight Shade Products

Some examples of products on the market that include RV skylight shades and blackout covers include:

Duo Form Plastics Skylight Shades 

A product box featuring the an RV skylight shade from Duo Form featuring text that reads "Skylight Shade, enjoy the view, keep the summer heat out!"
Source: Duo Form

Both the Standard and Blackout low-profile models are designed to reduce the UV effect and help keep the temperature cool and the light low in your rig. The product comes complete with all hardware needed to install. And it’s made with mold-resistant materials, so it can be used to shade your shower skylight. The following video from Duo Form Plastics gives step-by-step instructions on installing one.

RV Murts RV Skylight Cover

An RV Murts RV SKylight cover can be folded up partially to expose sunlight.
RV Murts Skylight Cover available on Amazon

This double-sided and magnetic skylight cover is advertised to fit most RVs at 16×16 inches. The RV Murts RV Skylight Cover consists of a reflective side for UV reflection, which keeps the sunlight and heat out, making the inside stay cool and dark, especially in summer. Users can fold up the product for a partially covered skylight. The cover attaches to the skylight interior with velcro.

RVers Share How They Made Their RV Skylight Shades

RVers are a crafty bunch. Perusing forums like iRV2.com will turn up a ton of DIY RV skylight shade solutions that range from simple and cheap to super fancy. Below are just some of the great ideas the RV community has come up with.

Car Window Shade

“I mounted one (car window shade) inside the skylight with small 3M hooks to hold in place. It diffuses the light, and blocks most (97% advertised!!) UV. It is removable, but I haven’t done that for any reason!! Also used in Excursion to block sunlight on the wife’s side window!!”

-Tuquala

Window Tint

“I layered a sheet of window tint between the skylight and the bubble top. Worked great.”

-ramn4ver

Install a Smoke Skylight

“When my clear one got cracked, I put a new smoke skylight in and it does not seem as hot as the old one. Still plenty of light gets in.”

-A32Deuce

Shade Cloth and Snap Fasteners

“Below is a photo of the cover I made for our skylight. It is made from white shade cloth with 4 snaps in the corners so it can be removed for cleaning or if you want more light on a cloudy day.”

-Paz

Paint The Top Of The Skylight

“…purchased Rust-oleum Plastic spray paint. Took it up on the roof and painted the whole dome white. It cuts way down on heat and light and has lasted the last 3 years with no problems.”

-Harm

The following article, How To Darken A Skylight In Your RV To Keep Out Unwanted Light And Heat, offers even more DIY tips.

How Do You Cover Your RV Skylight?

Did your RV come preinstalled with a shade for your skylight, or did you create an RV skylight shade of your own? Comment with your own skylight shade ideas.


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4 thoughts on “Do You Need an RV Skylight Shade?”

  1. I simply took telescoping rods and fabric like a towel and used safety pins to attach together and put up into the large skylight over our tub. Simple quick cheap

  2. I took 2 small spring loaded curtain rods and placed inside the shower skylight, one on each end. Then I cut a piece of the silver insulation material that comes in a roll, slid it up under both rods and arched it up in the dome. It stays put, even with traveling.

  3. We have a skylight above the shower. Last fall we had a Flex Armor roof applied on our 5th wheel and decided to have them apply the roofing over the skylight also. We enjoyed the light that the skylight gave, but it doesn’t take much to flip the bathroom light on.

  4. We have a large window in our RV outside door. None of the common 23’x16’ shades fit. I found a set of 24’x29’ car window shades. One fits perfectly. I used the 2nd one to cover a tip out window. It fits well until I can afford a new pleated shade.

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