Title:
Skylight with heat-and moisture-releasing grooves
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A skylight system including a light-admitting cap adapted to fit over a grooved flashing is disclosed. The grooves are constructed in such a way that they will dissipate heat and remove condensation, but they will not admit the passage of unwanted objects, such as dust or bugs, and they are placed in the flashing rather than the cap so as to allow the cap's form to be less obtrusive than would otherwise be possible. The flashing is formed of a single piece of material, which may be aluminum, to reduce the likelihood of warping, or of cracks forming therein. The system further includes an extension tube communicating between the structure's exterior and a desired location inside the structure, and an inner trim ring with a filter and a diffuser adapted to moderate the intensity of the admitted light.



Inventors:
Estrada, Lugardo R. (Gilbert, AZ, US)
Application Number:
09/896759
Publication Date:
01/02/2003
Filing Date:
06/29/2001
Assignee:
ESTRADA LUGARDO R.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D13/03; (IPC1-7): E04B7/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AMIRI, NAHID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kenneth A. Nelson (Mesa, AZ, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A skylight venting system wherein a light admitting cap having an interior surface is adapted to fit over a flashing and form at least a partial seal between said interior surface of said cap and an exterior surface of said flashing, said seal area being a contact zone about at least a portion of a periphery of said flashing, the invention comprising: indents extending through the contact zone whereby moisture may travel from said interior surface of said cap through said contact zone to the exterior of said flashing.

2. The skylight system of claim 1 wherein said indents are located in said flashing.

3. The skylight system of claim 2 wherein the top of said flashing forms a collar to receive said cap around it; said indents being located in said collar.

4. The skylight system of claim 1 wherein said indents are elongate channels.

5. The skylight system of claim 4 wherein the length of said elongate channels is in the range between one sixteenth of an inch and one and a half inches.

6. The skylight system of claim 5 wherein the depth of said elongate channels is in the range between one sixty-fourth of an inch and one quarter of an inch.

7. The skylight of claim 1 wherein said flashing is constructed from a single piece of material.

8. The skylight of claim 7 wherein said material is aluminum.

9. The skylight of claim 7 wherein said flashing comprises: (1) a base; (2) a neck rising in a substantially vertical direction out of said base; and (3) a collar defining an opening in said neck distal from said base.

10. The skylight of claim 9 wherein said collar includes a gasket.

11. The skylight of claim 9 wherein said neck comprises a lower perimeter and an upper perimeter, said lower perimeter greater than said upper perimeter, said lower perimeter substantially parallel to said base and said upper perimeter angled with respect to said base such that the surface of said neck transitions from a least height where said upper perimeter most closely approaches said lower perimeter to a greatest height where said upper perimeter most greatly diverges from said lower perimeter.

12. The skylight of claim 9 wherein said indent is located in said collar.

13. The skylight of claim 12 wherein said collar contains a plurality of said indents, the spacing between each pair of adjacent indents being substantially equal, said indents being substantially perpendicular to said opening in said neck.

14. The skylight of claim 1 wherein said cap is dome-shaped, said opening is circular, and said band is a ring.

15. The skylight of claim 14 wherein said cap is formed of an acrylic material.

16. The skylight of claim 1 further comprising: (4) an extension tube in contact at a first end with said flashing; (5) an inner band forming a perimeter of a second end of said extension tube; (6) a gasket interposed between said second end of said extension tube and said inner band; (7) a cover depending from said inner band; and (8) a filter interposed between said gasket and said cover.

17. The skylight of claim 16 wherein said inner band is ring shaped.

18. The skylight of claim 17 wherein said inner band comprises a first ring and a second ring, said first ring including at least one keyhole, said second ring including at least one standoff adapted to fit into said keyhole, said first ring further including at least one mounting aperture for attaching said first ring to said structure.

19. A skylight adapted to admit light into the interior of a structure, said light originating from a source outside said structure, said skylight comprising: (1) a light-admitting acrylic dome, said dome having a circular opening; (2) a ring forming a perimeter of said opening; (3) a silicon layer between said dome and said ring, said silicone layer tending to bond said dome to said ring; (4) a flashing adapted to interface with said dome at said ring, said interface comprising a contact zone, said flashing constructed of a single piece of aluminum, said flashing further comprising: (a) a flat base; (b) a neck rising in a substantially vertical direction out of said base, said neck comprising a lower perimeter and an upper perimeter, said lower perimeter greater than said upper perimeter, said lower perimeter substantially parallel to said base and said upper perimeter angled with respect to said base such that the surface of said neck smoothly transitions from a least height where said upper perimeter most closely approaches said lower perimeter to a greatest height where said upper perimeter most greatly diverges from said lower perimeter; and (c) a collar defining an opening in said neck distal from said base; (5) indents extending through said contact zone whereby moisture and heat may travel from an interior surface of said dome through said contact zone to the exterior of said flashing. (6) an extension tube in contact at a first end with said flashing; (7) an inner trim ring forming a perimeter of a second end of said extension tube, said inner trim ring comprising a first ring and a second ring, said first ring including at least one keyhole, said second ring including at least one standoff adapted to fit into said keyhole, said first ring further including at least one mounting aperture for attaching said first ring to said structure; (8) a gasket interposed between said second end of said extension tube and said inner trim ring; (9) a cover depending from said inner trim ring; and (10) a filter interposed between said gasket and said cover.

20. A method of illuminating a structure by introducing light into the interior of said structure, said light originating from a source outside said structure, said method comprising the steps of: (1) providing a skylight to be installed in said structure, said skylight comprising: (a) a light-admitting cap, said cap having an opening; (b) a band forming a perimeter of said opening; (c) a flashing adapted to interface with said cap at said band, said flashing including at least one indent, said indent permitting the release of condensation that may be present on a surface of said cap; (d) an extension tube in contact at a first end with said flashing; (e) an inner band forming a perimeter of a second end of said extension tube;and (f) a cover depending from said inner band; (2) making an opening in said structure; said opening communicating between an outer surface and an inner surface of said structure, said opening passing through any intervening material, said opening suitable to receive said skylight; (3) arranging said flashing and said cap on said outer surface of said structure above said opening; (4) placing said extension tube in said opening; (5) attaching said inner band to said inner surface of said structure below said opening; and (6) attaching said cover to said inner band.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Technical Field

[0002] This invention generally relates to skylights, and more specifically relates to a skylight adapted to release condensation.

[0003] 2. Background Art

[0004] Prior to the development and wide-spread adoption of electric lighting, skylights were popular in architectural design because of their ability to naturally illuminate indoor spaces that were not suitable for or accessible to a standard window. Even now, when electric lighting is almost universally available, natural light is often preferred. Thus, though the motivation for installing skylights may have changed, they have nevertheless retained much of their popularity.

[0005] If skylights are to conduct light from the exterior of a structure to its interior there must be an opening in that structure that communicates between the interior and the exterior. Moisture that penetrates the skylight thus has a relatively unobstructed path along this opening to the interior of the structure, where it can cause obvious problems. Most skylights include flashing to reduce leakage through the opening in the structure. However, condensation, which is the deposition of a liquid or a solid on a surface that is at a different, generally lower, temperature than the surrounding gas, remains problematic because its presence inside the skylight does not depend upon leakage. In the context of a skylight this means that the difference in the temperature between the interior and the exterior of the skylight may cause condensation on the interior surface of the skylight. If this condensation is not removed, the moisture may reduce the clarity of the skylight or even damage the structure in which the skylight resides.

[0006] In order to prevent the buildup of condensation, some skylights include drainage holes located at the base of the light-admitting cap that allow moisture to escape to the skylight's exterior. For several reasons, this construction is problematic. Drainage holes tend to admit the entry into the skylight of dust and bugs, which then must be removed in a time-consuming process. Furthermore, locating these drainage holes on the light-admitting cap is expensive, difficult, and requires a high profile skylight that detracts from the appearance of the roof line and of the entire structure.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

[0007] Therefore, there existed a need to provide a skylight system capable of reducing or eliminating condensation while avoiding the shortcomings of the prior art. According to an embodiment of the present invention, a skylight system comprises a light-admitting cap adapted to fit over a flashing having indents therein. These indents are described herein as grooves, but may also take other forms such as circular or otherwise symmetrical indentations. As used herein, grooves means elongate channels. The grooves are constructed to limit or prevent the passage of unwanted objects, such as bugs and dust, yet allow moisture to pass therethrough. The grooves may be placed in the flashing rather than the cap so as to allow the cap's form to be less obtrusive than would otherwise be possible, though it will be understood that the grooves may in some embodiments, where a lower profile is a lesser concern, be located in the cap, or anywhere within a contact zone formed by the union of the cap and the flashing. The flashing may be formed of a single piece of material, such as aluminum or similar material, to reduce the likelihood of warping, or of cracks forming therein.

[0008] The skylight system may further have an extension tube and an inner trim ring with filter and diffuser. The extension tube integrates with the skylight's flashing and is placed within an opening in the structure extending from roof to ceiling. The inner trim ring attaches to the bottom of the extension tube where the tube penetrates the ceiling, and the filter and diffuser broadcast the natural light thus admitted into the structure's interior space. The skylight herein described is thus more attractive, cleaner, less permeable to unwanted foreign matter, and more easily and less expensively manufactured than earlier skylight assemblies.

[0009] The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of certain embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0010] Specific embodiments of the present invention will hereinafter be described in conjunction with the appended drawings, where like designations denote like elements.

[0011] FIG. 1 is a view of an embodiment of the present invention, with some environmental structure indicated.

[0012] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portion of the present invention.

[0013] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the light-admitting cap of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 4 is an enlarged cutaway view of a grooved flashing showing the condensation removal process.

[0015] FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the inner trim ring of the present invention.

MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0016] The present invention is a skylight system that keeps out unwanted foreign matter and has a reduced exterior profile. According to an embodiment of the present invention, a skylight system comprises a light-admitting cap adapted to fit over a grooved flashing. The grooves are constructed such that they will not admit the passage of unwanted objects, such as bugs and dust, and they may in one embodiment be placed in the flashing rather than the cap so as to allow the cap's form to be less obtrusive than would otherwise be possible. The flashing is formed of a single piece of material, which may be aluminum, to reduce the likelihood of warping, or of cracks forming therein. The system further includes an extension tube communicating between the structure's exterior and a desired location inside the structure, and an inner trim ring with a filter and a diffuser adapted to moderate the intensity of the admitted light.

[0017] Referring to the figures, and in particular to FIG. 1, a skylight system 10 according to the present invention is installed in a structure 12 which has an exterior surface 14 and an interior surface 16. Skylight system 10 comprises a light-admitting cap 18, a flashing 24, an extension tube 26, an inner trim ring 28, and a cover 30. Light-admitting cap 18, in the pictured embodiment, comprises a dome 20 and a dome ring 22. Flashing 24 includes a base 25. Cap 18 and flashing 24 come together to form at least a partial seal between them, the seal area being a contact zone, as will be more fully described in connection with FIG. 2.

[0018] Structure 12 may conventionally be a dwelling place such as a house, in which case exterior surface 14 may be the roof of the house and interior surface 16 may be the ceiling inside. Structure 12 thus may at times herein be referred to as house 12, and exterior surface 14 and interior surface 16 may at times be referred to herein as, respectively, roof 14 and ceiling 16. However, it should be understood that skylight system 10 is not limited to installation in houses with roofs and ceilings, but may be installed in any structure where it is desirable to bring into the interior of a structure light originating from a source exterior to the structure.

[0019] Light-admitting cap 18 is generally the uppermost component of skylight system 10, meaning that it generally covers the top of tube 26 and extends farther above roof 14 than the other components of system 10. While cap 18 may possess any of several shapes, the pictured dome shape is conventional. Cap 18 is constructed of a clear, transparent, translucent, or otherwise light-permeable material. Dome 20 may be a 100 percent impact acrylic dome. When the sun or other light source located outside structure 12 shines on roof 14, cap 18 admits the light and allows it to pass into extension tube 26. Cap 18 may be advantageously placed at a location where the amount of light it receives will be maximized. As shown in FIG. 1, cap 18, after installation on roof 14, is oriented such that an axis taken through the center of cap 18 is perpendicular to ceiling 16. Other orientations are, of course, also possible. If the light source is the sun, the pictured orientation is convenient in that it allows sunlight, when not obscured by intervening objects, to penetrate cap 18 during a large percentage of the time the sun is above the horizon, no matter where on the earth structure 12 is located.

[0020] As is true in FIG. 1, it is common practice for roof 14 of structure 12 to be sloped or angled with respect to level ground. In order that cap 18 may be oriented as described in the preceding paragraph, flashing 24 must compensate for the slope by possessing an angled neck, as will be more fully explained in connection with FIG. 2. Base 25 of flashing 24 rests on roof 14 and surrounds an opening, not shown, in roof 14 provided for the purpose of inserting extension tube 26. The union of flashing 24 and roof 14 is sealed against the entry of water and other unwanted substances or items in a manner that is well known in the art.

[0021] Extension tube 26 conducts light from where it is gathered at cap 18 to where it is wanted below ceiling 16 in structure 12. Many houses 12 have attics, crawlspaces, or other intervening areas 13 between roof 14 and ceiling 16. Extension tube 26 contains and conducts light through intervening area 13 to the interior space of house 12 without the scattering or loss that would occur if tube 26 were not present. In a structure 12 lacking intervening area 13, an embodiment of skylight system 10 omitting extension tube 26 may conveniently be used. Inner trim ring 28 attaches to extension tube 26 where tube 26 penetrates ceiling 16. Cover 30 depends from trim ring 28 and cover 30 and trim ring 28 together give skylight system 10 a finished, pleasing appearance.

[0022] Referring now to FIG. 2, flashing 24 comprises base 25, a neck 32, and a collar 34. Collar 34, in one embodiment, includes grooves 36 in an outside surface 35 and a gasket 38 on an inside surface 37. Collar 34 further includes an upper edge 49. A lower perimeter 40 of neck 32 marks the transition from base 25 to neck 32. Similarly, an upper perimeter 42 marks the transition from neck 32 to collar 34. Neck 32 has an inner surface 44, a least height 46, and a greatest height 48. Inside surface 50 of dome ring 22 (see FIG. 3) fits over outside surface 35 of collar 34, thereby forming a contact zone that forms at least a partial seal between cap 18 and flashing 24. Although grooves 36 will repeatedly herein be described as located in collar 34, one of ordinary skill in the art will readily understand that grooves 36 may in some embodiments of the invention be placed elsewhere within the contact zone formed between inside surface 50 and outside surface 35, such as in dome ring 22.

[0023] With reference to FIG. 3, light-admitting cap 18 comprises, as discussed in connection with FIG. 1, dome 20 and dome ring 22. Dome ring 22 has an inner surface 50, an outer surface 51, and a lower edge 58. A rolled edge 56 of dome ring 22 cups a flange 63 of dome 20. Flange 63 is visible in FIG. 4 but is not shown in FIG. 3. An adhesive layer 52 is located between flange 63 of dome 20 and rolled edge 56. Cap 18 further comprises mounting apertures 54, which extend completely through dome ring 22.

[0024] With continued reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, the same opening through which skylight system 10 admits light may also become the entry point for unwanted material or objects. As has been discussed, the opening must penetrate both roof 14 and ceiling 16 and provide a continuous path in between, thus offering an obvious conduit for the admission of such objects. One of the functions of flashing 24 is to prevent the entry of items such as water, bugs, and dust. Flashing 24 does this in several ways, as discussed below.

[0025] Flashing 24 is in one embodiment formed from a single piece of material. Aluminum, because of its resistance to rust, is one material that may be used, though it should be understood that the present invention is in no way limited to aluminum or to any other particular material. The unitary construction of flashing 24 eliminates the cracks and stresses that sometimes occur at the junction of separate pieces. For example, if base 25 had originally been a separate piece that was later welded to neck 32, the weld junction would tend to weaken over time and its integrity would be compromised. The present invention contemplates reducing that possibility by using, in certain of its embodiments, the unitary construction for flashing 24. As stated, lower perimeter 40 marks the transition zone between base 25 and neck 32. In a conventional embodiment of skylight system 10, lower perimeter 40 is the midpoint of a smooth, shoulder-like change in direction of the material of flashing 24. This smooth shoulder may also be less prone to leaks or cracks than an abrupt transition would be.

[0026] Base 25 is relatively broad and flat and may be shaped like a disk, although many other shapes are also possible. For example, base 25 may be square, rectangular, oval, or any one of many other shapes without departing from the spirit of the invention. The diameter or other dimensions of base 25 may vary depending on the model as well as other considerations. In order to comply with building codes, base 25 may be at least four inches wide, while least height 46 of neck 32 may be at least four inches. Neck 32 rises out of the plane defined by base 25. Neck 32 varies in height as measured from base 25, with least height 46 and greatest height 48 being the two extremes. As discussed in connection with FIG. 1, neck 32 may be angled so as to compensate for a roof 14 that is sloped with respect to level ground. Many roofs are sloped in this way, and in order that light-admitting cap 18 may be oriented substantially parallel to level ground, and thus increase its light-gathering capacity, neck 32 may have the slope described. The height difference between least height 46 and greatest height 48 may be calculated to correspond to the slope of roof 14, although this is not a necessary feature of the present invention. Regarding the actual dimensions of least height 46, as well the other parts of neck 32, the invention contemplates a wide range of measurements, with consideration in practice being given to the idea that many customers prefer that skylight system 10 be as unobtrusive as possible.

[0027] Upper perimeter 42 is similar to lower perimeter 40 in that it marks the transition between neck 32 and collar 34. Upper perimeter 42 may demarcate a transition that is slightly more abrupt than that at lower perimeter 40, though a smooth transition at upper perimeter 42 is also possible. In the first-mentioned embodiment, the abruptness of upper perimeter 42 encourages a snug interface between dome ring 22 and neck 32. The general orientation of neck 32 is similar to the general orientation of collar 34. Therefore, in order for the transition at upper perimeter 42 to be abrupt, and the resulting fit snug, a portion of neck 32 must be oriented differently from the orientation of the general body of neck 32. This differently-oriented portion is apparent in FIG. 2, where a contour line 43 indicates the presence of a shelf 45 in neck 32. Shelf 45 comprises a transition zone between the main portion of neck 32 and the true transition point between neck 32 and collar 34 marked by upper perimeter 42. Shelf 45 advantageously runs in a continuous ring around neck 32 distal from base 25, and may in one embodiment measure significantly less from side to side than does collar 34 from top to bottom.

[0028] Referring still to FIGS. 2 and 3, light-admitting cap 18 is adapted to fit over collar 34, with inside surface 50 of dome ring 22 sliding over and contacting outside surface 35 of collar 34. Collar 34 and dome ring 22 may have a height exceeding roughly a quarter inch so as to provide adequate surface area for a good union. However, as will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art, other dimensions are also possible. The smooth union between dome ring 22 and collar 34 is interrupted in various places by grooves 36, which may be cut into collar 34. Grooves 36 may be located at substantially equal intervals around the entire circumference of collar 34. It should be pointed out, however, that not only are other spacings contemplated, but collar 34, as stated elsewhere, need not be circular in shape but may be square, rectangular, oval, or otherwise.

[0029] Grooves 36 may, in one embodiment of skylight system 10, be oriented substantially perpendicular to upper perimeter 42 and upper edge 49, and may extend along a substantial portion of the distance between them. In another embodiment, grooves 36 may extend along a smaller portion of collar 34. One possible length for grooves 36 ts approximately one inch, though shorter or longer grooves are also contemplated. Grooves 36 may in one embodiment have a depth of approximately 0.020 inches, though one of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that greater or lesser depths are also possible.

[0030] When light-admitting cap 18 is attached to collar 34 of flashing 24 in accordance with the present invention, conditions may be such that condensation forms on an inside surface 62 of dome 20, as indicated in FIG. 4. In general, condensation appears on a surface when the surface is at a different temperature than the surrounding gas. Quite typically, the surface on which the condensation appears is at a lower temperature than is the gas. In a conventional arrangement where skylight system 10 is installed in a structure 12, intervening area 13 above ceiling 16 contains air that is at an elevated temperature. Inside surface 62, under certain conditions, may be at a lower temperature than the air in intervening space 13, setting up a condition conducive to the deposition of condensation on inside surface 62.

[0031] If left to accumulate, this condensation may stream down inside surface 62 and into extension tube 26, eventually making its way to inner trim ring 28 where it may collect inside cover 30 or seep out into ceiling 16. To avoid this consequence, skylight system 10 must be provided with an outlet for condensation whereby the moisture deposited on inside surface 62 may be allowed to escape to the exterior of system 10. In the present invention, grooves 36 serve this purpose. They are of sufficient size to allow condensation to exit skylight system 10, but in general are too shallow for bugs to pass through. Further, the orientation of grooves 36 discourages the passage of dust in that a dust particle would have to first enter the small space 68, indicated in FIG. 4, and then travel vertically upwards, against gravity, before passing into the interior of dome 20. The process whereby condensation travels along grooves 36 and exits exterior to skylight system 10 will be further explained in connection with FIG. 4.

[0032] Locating grooves 36 in collar 34 is in many cases easier and cheaper than locating them in dome ring 22 because of the tool sizes and configurations required. The placement of grooves 36 in collar 34, or elsewhere in the contact zone formed by the union of inside surface 50 of dome ring 22 and outside surface 35 of collar 34, also allows flashing 24 to be constructed with a lower profile at rolled edge 56, which may provide a more pleasing appearance than skylights with higher profiles would have. If grooves or other indents 36 were located in rolled edge 56, rolled edge 56 would necessarily include more material, be larger, and extend further away from dome 20, creating a larger profile that is less pleasing and attractive.

[0033] In addition to grooves 36, collar 34 may include gasket 38. Gasket 38 may be located on inner surface 37 of collar 34. From this location, or from other locations where it may alternatively be placed, gasket 38 may catch and collect any moisture, bugs, dust, or other unwanted material that in spite of the above-mentioned features employed to reduce the occurrence, passes into and is present inside dome 20. Gasket 38 may take any one of a variety of embodiments such as a rubber ring or a metal lip. In one embodiment gasket 38 may comprise a dense strip of flexible fibers securely attached to an adhesive strip, not shown. The adhesive strip may be adapted to the shape of collar 34 and then pressed into place on inside surface 37.

[0034] Base 25 is attached and sealed to roof 14 in a manner well known in the art. In addition to the structural features discussed above, the attachment and sealing are performed so as to prevent the entry of water and other items into structure 12.

[0035] Referring still to FIG. 3, adhesive layer 52 bonds dome 20 to dome ring 22. Adhesive layer 52 may comprise silicone, or it may comprise another adhesive substance. Adhesive layer 52 is located in the vicinity of rolled edge 56. One method of applying adhesive layer 52 to light-admitting cap 18 is to (1) place a bead of silicone, or other adhesive, on inner surface 50 of dome ring 22 before rolled edge 56 has been formed, (2) position dome 20 interior to dome ring 22 such that flange 63 of dome 20 is at or near the level of adhesive layer 52, then (3) crimp or bend the edge of dome ring 22 such that it rolls around flange 63, creating rolled edge 56. Adhesive layer 52 then fills at least a part of the interior of rolled edge 56 and thus may contact both top and bottom of flange 63. Alternative methods of attachment, either using adhesive layer 52 or some other method, may also be possible.

[0036] Mounting apertures 54 may be placed within dome ring 22 below rolled edge 56. Apertures 54 extend completely through dome ring 22, and are adapted to receive mounting devices such as screws, bolts, pins, or other mounting devices, not shown in the figures. After passing through mounting apertures 54, the mounting devices may be inserted partially or completely into flashing 24. Mounting apertures 54 may be placed in dome ring 22, thus placing less stress and strain on dome 20 from the pressure due to mounting devices 54. Such placement may prevent or minimize structural failure or damage. A spinning process may be used to attach dome 20 to dome ring 22 in order to avoid shattering or other damage due to stresses on dome 20. When light-admitting cap 18 is placed on flashing 24 and attached as just described, lower edge 58 of dome ring 22 rests on or near shelf 45 of upper perimeter 42 of flashing 24.

[0037] FIG. 4 depicts a stream of condensation exiting skylight system 10 along a groove 36. The figure is a cross sectional or cutaway view of portions of light-admitting cap 18 and flashing 24. Flange 63 of dome 20 is here visible extending into rolled edge 56 of dome ring 22. Adhesive layer 52 may be seen between flange 63 and rolled edge 56, as earlier described. Dome 20 has an outside surface 60 and an inside surface 62. It is on inside surface 62 of dome 20 that condensation droplets 64 generally form. Droplets 64 slide down inside surface 62 of dome 20, cross adhesive layer 52, and enter a gap 66 between dome ring 22 and collar 34. In FIG. 4, groove 36 does not extend along collar 34 all the way to upper edge 49, although in other embodiments that construction is a possibility. Here, condensation droplet 64 negotiates gap 66, eventually reaching the point somewhat below upper edge 49 where groove 36 begins.

[0038] This cutaway view is taken lengthwise through one of the grooves 36 from a point at or near the center of the groove. As may be seen, groove 36 conducts condensation droplets 64 along its length and deposits them outside skylight system 10 below dome ring 22 in the vicinity of neck 32 and upper perimeter 42, from where droplets 64 may evaporate, fall away from skylight 10, or otherwise dissipate. It may further be seen that while groove 36 provides a channel along which droplets 64 may travel, dome ring 22 presses very closely upon the non-grooved portions of collar 34, and thus offers little opportunity for foreign or unwanted matter to enter skylight system 10. An exit point 68 near upper perimeter 42 offers only a very narrow aperture through which condensation droplets 64 exit groove 36, and through which it would be difficult for any substance or item to enter.

[0039] With reference to FIG. 5, inner trim ring 28 is shown separated into its components. Cover 30 is also shown. Inner trim ring 28 comprises a fixed ring 70, a twist-on ring 72, and a filter 74. Fixed ring 70 includes a ridge 76 and a base 78. Ceiling mounting apertures 80 alternate with keyhole apertures 82 in base 78. Keyhole apertures 82 are oblong in shape, with a larger opening in one end and a smaller opening in the other end, in a manner well known in the art. Ridge 76 has an inner surface 84 on which is attached a gasket 86. Twist-on ring 72 includes standoffs 90, an opening 92, and a ledge 94, and filter 74 includes through-holes 88. Cover 30 has a rim 96.

[0040] A manner in which inner trim ring 28 is assembled and attached to the rest of skylight system 10 will now be described. Fixed ring 70 is brought close to extension tube 26, which is shown in FIG. 1. Inner surface 84 of ridge 76 slides over the outside of extension tube 26, and gasket 86 contacts tube 26. Suitable mounting devices are inserted through ceiling mounting apertures 80 from the side of fixed ring 70 opposite ridge 76 and then into ceiling 16, whereby fixed ring 70 is secured to ceiling 16, not shown. Cover 30 is then placed within opening 92 of twist-on ring 72, with rim 96 resting on ledge 94. The circumference of cover 30 advantageously exceeds the circumference of opening 92 so that cover 30 may rest on twist-on ring 72. Through-holes 88 in filter 74 are next placed over standoffs 90 in twist-on ring 72. With cover 30 and filter 74 thus in place, twist-on ring 72 is brought close to fixed ring 70, standoffs 90 are inserted into the larger ends of keyhole apertures 82, and twist-on ring 72 is twisted so as to cause standoffs 90 to enter the smaller ends of keyhole apertures 82. From this position standoffs 90 may not easily be removed from keyhole apertures 82, and the components of inner trim ring 28, in addition to cover 30, are securely attached to extension tube 26 and ceiling 16. The removal of twist-on ring 72 requires only that the direction of the twist applied to ring 72 be reversed from that in the foregoing description.

[0041] Gasket 86 may be similar to gasket 38 located inside collar 34 and described in connection with FIG. 2, although the invention does not require that this be the case. Filter 74 softens the light entering skylight system 10 and may reduce harsh, concentrated light or glare. Filter 74 may be constructed of an acrylic material, and may conventionally be cut into a shape that matches that of inner trim ring 28. Cover 30 may also be adapted to soften or diffuse the light entering structure 12. In one embodiment, cover 30, which may be formed of an acrylic substance, is composed of a series of alternating ridges and depressions that scatter or distort any light passing through it. The effect of this diffusion may be to illuminate a larger area than would otherwise be possible, with an indirect light that lacks the displeasing effect of a more intense or focused beam.

[0042] The foregoing paragraphs have thus described a skylight system including a light-admitting cap adapted to fit over a grooved flashing. The grooves are constructed in such a way that they will not admit the passage of unwanted objects, such as dust or bugs, and they are placed in the flashing rather than the cap so as to allow the cap's form to be less obtrusive than would otherwise be possible. The flashing is formed of a single piece of material, which may be aluminum, to reduce the likelihood of warping, or of cracks forming therein. The system further includes an extension tube communicating between the structure's exterior and a desired location inside the structure, and an inner trim ring with a filter and a diffuser adapted to moderate the intensity of the admitted light.

[0043] As has been pointed out at various places within the foregoing, while the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to certain embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, it will be understood that although the shape of various components of the invention have been described in terms identifying them as circular, other shapes are also acceptable and within the invention's scope. Likewise, the omission or inclusion of, or a change made to, one or another component or feature of the invention will not take the resulting embodiment outside of the scope of the invention, except as limited by the appended claims.