We've compiled some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Tubular Skylights, but if you have any other inquiries or questions, don't hesitate to Contact Us!

1How much do Tubular Skylights cost?

Tubular skylights vary in price based on a number of factors, including:

  • System model
  • Roof type and pitch
  • Tube length and angles
  • Optional accessories and add-ons, such as Daylight Dimmers and tubing extensions

For a comprehensive quote, request your complimentary in-home consultation to go over your needs and available options.

In comparison, the cost of the tubular skylights is more affordable than most traditional skylights. The total cost of a traditional skylight is not only the material cost, but also the cost of framing members, paint, drywall, etc. Labor can become a very large portion of the cost because a contractor must frame out the skylight, drywall it, tape it, then paint it. Tubular skylights do not require reframing and can usually be installed in about 2 hours by one of our certified installation consultants.

2How does a Tubular Skylight compare to a Traditional Skylight?

Traditional skylights have their place, as do Tubular Skylights. There are a few key benefits of the Solatube Daylighting System, however, including flexible location options, low cost of installation and better lighting performance. Also, traditional skylights do not offer any optical enhancement devices to help increase performance. On the north side of a sloped roof, the light output from a regular skylight is significantly reduced without these devices.

The Solatube Daylighting System, for example, features several patented enhancement devices, which work in concert to capture more light from all angles and reflect it down the tube for higher light output during early morning, late afternoon and in the winter months when the sun is low on the horizon.

The Solatube Daylighting System transfers the maximum amount of ambient light into a room with minimal light loss, allowing it to provide great performance even on cloudy or rainy days. In fact, it captures ambient light so well, on a full-moon night, you can actually see a nice glow.

3Where Can I put a Tubular Skylight?
NW Natural Lighting is happy to assist you in installing a Tubular Skylight in any room on a top-floor with attic access, pending roof types and pitch. Other applications such as multi-story or wall mounted domes are possible, but may void warranties and would require self-installation or installation via a different contractor. Reach out to us with any questions on feasibility and we'll be happy to talk you through what can be done!

For a comprehensive quote, request your complimentary in-home consultation to go over your needs and available options.

4How long can the tube be?

Recommended Maximum Tube Runs:

  • 10″ Tubular Skylight – 20′
  • 14″ Tubular Skylight – 30′
  • Commercial Models - up to 100'

There is no minimum length for the 10" and 14" options. The tubing may simply need to be modified to fit the space.

5What if I don't have an attic space?

Tubular skylights feature unique telescoping tubes that can be easily installed even when access to the attic or plenum is limited or there is no space between the ceiling and roof at all. We can also install most products in an open ceiling application where no ceiling exists and the underside of the roof deck is exposed.

One exception to this is the Solatube Smart LED™ System, which requires a minimum height of 16 in. (406 mm) between the base of the ceiling and the roof line.

*Feasibility or costs may vary when attic access is not available

6Are Tubular Skylights maintenance free?

Tubular skylights feature passive daylighting technology that does not rely on moving parts, making it virtually maintenance-free. All assemblies (dome, flashing, tubing, diffuser) have seals to prevent bug and dirt infiltration. In addition, the dome and flashing are designed to eliminate debris build-up. Unlike traditional skylights, that need periodic cleaning and inspection, tubular skylights do not require ongoing maintenance.

7Are there any issues with leaks?

When installed properly the Solatube does not leak. The Solatube Daylighting System circular one piece seamless flashing design allows rain and debris to naturally bypass the unit. The Solatube flashings have no joints or weak points that may separate and allow water to enter.

8How large of an area does a Tubular skylight illuminate?

The light coverage area varies among our Solatube models. Keep in mind different light levels are required for different tasks. As a result, the approximate coverage areas are shown below for ambient light levels.

  • 10" Tubular Skylight - up to 200 sq. ft (19 sq. m)
  • 14" Tubular Skylight - up to 300 sq. ft (28 sq. m)

These estimated lighting areas are based upon an average 6 ft (1.82 m) tube length and 8 ft (2.4 m) ceiling height with the dome in direct sunlight.

Light output will vary depending on the intensity of the sun. For example, there will be more natural daylight at midday than in the early morning or evening. Light output may also decrease as the tube length increases beyond the recommended distances.

9Is there a way to turn off or "block out" a Tubular Skylight?

Yes! The Solatube Daylight Dimmer controls the amount of natural light entering a room. Utilizing a patented butterfly baffle design and a convenient wall-mounted switch, it allows the user to adjust light levels simply and easily anywhere between 100% and 2% daylight. The Daylight Dimmer can also be integrated with an overall lighting control system. Review all of our Models & Accessories

10Can Tubular Skylights be installed in a shower?

Yes, but there are potential issues with this type of application. Due to the excess moisture present in the shower environment, condensation may occur. Since the accumulation of moisture is a natural occurrence, it is not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. To minimize condensation, proper ventilation is crucial. In addition, using the Solatube Natural Effect Lens is recommended to reduce the air exchange between the shower and the inside of the tubing. We also offer a vent add-on kit to help with seamless integration. Review all of our Models & Accessories

11What does the ceiling fixture look like?

There are several different options for the look of your Tubular Skylights at the ceiling level both acrylic and glass. Review our fixtures.

12Can a Tubular Skylight be used for multi-story application?

Yes, if there is a closet or place for the tubes to run from the roof through the house to the first floor or to the basement. A 14" tubular skylight is recommended due to the long distance from the roof. Usually a chase is built around the tubing for added protection. NW Natural Lighting does not currently offer installation for this type of application; however, we are an expert resource for information and material purchase.

13Can I install a Tubular Skylight myself?

Yes! Installation of a Solatube Tubular Skylight can be done in a matter of hours for a standard application. We offer information and support for homeowners that would like to tackle their own project (See our technical resources page.) We also offer expert installation with warranties for peace of mind if you would like to have us install for you!

14Can Tubular Skylights be installed on flat or low-pitched roofs?

Yes, with the optional flat “no-pitch” flashing the Solatube Daylighting System can be installed on low pitched roofs ranging from flat (0/12 pitch) to 3/12 pitches. The flat “no-pitch” flashings are available in 6″ heights for residential applications.

15Can I split the tube and light two rooms from only one dome?

No. It is not possible to connect 2 diffusers to one dome. In order to gain the maximum light possible to your room, Solatube International uses a 1-to-1 product design matching the dome to the diffuser. There is no “Y” adapter available for Solatube Tubular Skylight Systems.

16How much air can the Ventilation Add-on Kit move?

The Solatube Daylighting System’s proprietary fan/motor is rated at 110-CFM (cubic feet per minute) which is of a much higher performance than a standard bathroom vent that most of us have in our homes. This ensures quick and effective ventilation.

Review all of our Models & Accessories

17Will a Tubular Skylight work for a mobile home?

Yes, and Solatube Daylighting Systems install easily without structural modifications. Solatube Daylighting Systems are a great solution for the dark interiors from windows shaded by carports and patio covers.

18Can a Tubular Skylight store light for use at night?

No, by itself, Tubular Skylights only transfer the available sunlight that enters through the dome during the day. However, the optional LED Light Add-On Kit or Integrated Solar NightLight can provide light when the sun is down without needing additional fixtures. Review all of our Models & Accessories

19Can the Tubular Skylight dome be installed on the north side of my roof?
a Tubular Skylight dome works well on the north side of a roof. However, it performs even better when exposed to direct sunlight. For the best results, position the system where it will receive the most direct south-facing sunlight possible. To catch more direct rays, a turret extension can also be added to raise the dome height above the roof peak if on the north side of the roof.

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