Dear Bathroom Architects,
I have a plea.
Please (and by please I mean ‘for the love of all that is holy’) do NOT put skylights in bathrooms.
It seems nice, to have a little outside light while you’re doing your toilette.
…To check the weather while you take care of business.
…To have a little sunshine while your moon is out.
But it is not nice. Not at all.
I’m not sure what sort of courses are required to be an architect, but in case these subjects aren’t included, please allow me to give a three part science lesson.
Part 1: Physics
Hot air rises. All the time. There is never a time when hot air does not rise. NEVER.
When you shower, you create hot air. Hot, wet air.
This hot, wet air goes up. And up. And up. Until it reaches an obstacle. Like a ceiling. But if the ceiling happens to have a skylight in it, well then the lucky hot, wet air gets to go higher. Right up to the top of the skylight.
No matter what else happens down in the bathroom, down on the level where normal people move and can reach, the hottest air in the room stays comfy up in that skylight. A little column of trapped, hot, wet air. The fan way down in the ceiling of the bathroom does not disturb that air. Nothing disturbs that air.
That hot, wet air stays up there until it condenses on the cool walls and window of the skylight, blanketing the entire thing with moisture.
Part 2: Biology
Dear architect, do you know what likes hot, wet air? Besides cotton tops in Florida?
Mold. Mold likes hot, wet air.
When you create a little space that is regularly filled with hot, wet air—air that has no where to go—you create an ideal mold habitat.
So, dear architect, when you put a skylight in a bathroom, the hot, wet air creates the perfect place for mold to grow.
If Alexander Fleming had had a skylight in his laboratory bathroom, he could have mass produced penicillin as soon as he discovered it.*
Part 3: Chemistry
And once little bits of mold start to show up on your wall—that wall way up in your skylight—guess what? It must be cleaned off. With chemicals (that’s the chemistry part…). For hours and hours and hours. Crammed up in the skylight with a ladder.
Having spent a chunk of my weekend with the ladder and the skylight and the mold, I would like to vehemently voice my displeasure at the design.
Forget the ‘please.’
DO NOT EVER AGAIN PUT A SKYLIGHT IN A BATHROOM.
IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.
Thank you for your time,
A Disgruntled Skylight Owner
*Fun fact: Did you know that when Alexander Fleming showed up in his laboratory after taking a month’s vacation and found a mold that was killing disease-causing bacteria—a find that is arguably one of the greatest medical discoveries OF ALL TIME—he said, “That’s funny.”
He then proceeded to call the substance that was killing the bacteria “mould juice” for several months before renaming it penicillin.
This makes me like Alexander even more than I did for just discovering antibiotics. And I’m now committing to calling antibiotics ‘mould juice.’ I’m even keeping the u in mould, because if I’m going to tell my sick children to “take their mould juice,” I should at least have the decency to say it with a British accent.