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atrium skylight/roof

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Joined: Sep 8 2003

I have an open atrium model eichler with a flat roof. We have removable lattice over most of the opening in the summer to reduce the direct sunlight. A beaugonvilla vine grows over it. We would like to use the atrium in the winter. Has anyone covered their atrium with a rollamatic or similar type skylight? What was the cost? I need to be frugal because we just remodeled our kitchen and $ for projects is tight! I have read the one article posted a long time ago on the options but I'd like to hear from someone who has done this. I am tired of the clean up and coldness from the atrium in the winter too. Thanks!

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Joined: Mar 12 2005

you want to negative impact the resale value of your Eichler.

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Joined: Sep 8 2003

My understanding is that the rollamatic is a large window/skylight that can slide off the atrium opening, so I won't be permanently closing off the atrium. I just want the house to be more functional for our family of 4. We plan to live in our house as long as we can-no plans to sell. But I am aware of how much people value the atrium. We would keep it an outdoor area with plants etc.

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Well, you're fortunate in that your's is a flat-roof atrium model. I recently visited with another Eichler owner in Sunnyvale who said a neighbor with a flat roof atrium model had installed a sliding atrium cover for about 12-14K. On the other hand, a neighbor of mine here in Willow Glen with a peaked roof atrium paid 25K for her sliding (rollamatic) atrium cover a couple of years ago.

These are probably upper and lower bounds on cost, you should get your own estimates to be sure. Hope this is helpful.

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: Apr 20 2006

An operable atrium roof really improves an Eichler. When the cover is open, you can hardly tell it is there on the flat roofs. The cost can vary quite a bit. The 12k cost looks too low from what I have seen.
They have a big air gap in the thick transparent structural assembly which insulates well.
The covers are very heavy and the installation is critical with these operable roofs. The weight can cause flexing in the roof assembly. You really want to find an experienced installer. People that have them, love them....unless it causes roof leaks. Repairs are always expensive, since it involves moving this big, heavy, track mounted 'window'.

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Joined: Aug 25 2005

I have one in my flat roof Eichler. My neighbor just had a Rollamatic roof installed 2 months ago. He paid $24k but he bought the tinted see through dome which brought up the price considerably. You might be looking at 19k for the flat roofed version.

Randy is right, the skylight fiberglass is double paned fiberglass and it also has rubber skirts along the perimeter. During the wintertime, the atrium stays about 5-10 degrees colder than the inside of the house. Here are some examples of temps i logged last winter.
Cold day
39 degrees outside
64 degrees inside
54 degrees atrium, roof closed

Tonight 10:38 pm
55 degrees outside
68 degrees inside
64 degrees atrium, roof closed

Nick
Castro Valley

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

I'm just wondering what accounts for the temperature differential in the covered atrium. Is it a result of:

- capturing the daytime heat through the plastic roof
- escaped heat from the house (through singlepane windows, and entry/exit through doors)
- a combination of the above
- or some source I haven't thought of.

Any thoughts?

My windows are double-paned and I'm wondering if I would experience the same temperature differential if my atrium was covered.

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Aug 25 2005

Jake,
There are a few factors.
The temperature differential is from the roof being closed and the outside cold is now being seperated by a roof that is double paned fiberglass. Along with the rubber seals along the side of the frame, there's just a slight amount of heat loss from that area of the roof.
So you might say, well, the sun hit the concrete and now that the atrium is closed, the heat now dissapates to the room. Yes, that does help but during the wintertime when the atrium is always closed, the temperature differential is still the same.
I've also accounted that the surrounding atrium glass is single pane so heat loss to the atrium is an added factor. But the heat loss is contained and there is now less heat loss in the interior from the atrium glass compared to no roof and you are continually losing heat through your atrium windows.
We do have double pane glass in the bedrooms and kitchen windows but the original single pane glass remains in the living room and atrium.

In a nutshell, I think the rollamatic roof is an added plus if you have it and should be a serious consideration if you want to save energy while keeping your original glass and/or use the atrium during the wintertime.

Also, during the summertime, we either open it fully and keep it like that, or on really hot days, we open it slightly so the hot air can escape and the concrete is shaded.

Nick

Nick
Castro Valley

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Joined: Sep 8 2003

Thanks all for the great info. I appreciate it! Susan

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