Solar Tube Installation in Vancouver, WA
Letting in natural light can completely change the interior of your home and help you save money on your energy bills. For this reason, skylights are more popular than ever. But, when you have attic space between a room and your roof, a solar tube may be a more cost-effective solution.
Also known as sun tunnels, sunlight tubes, and tubular skylights, solar tube lights capture sunlight from the surface of your roof through a small dome. The light is reflected down through a tube that runs through your attic and shines through a light diffuser in the ceiling.
You can let natural light pour into any room in your home, even spaces that aren’t directly under the roof opening. Solar tubes can be installed straight down or at an angle, although there shouldn’t be any bends in the tube. Bring natural light wherever you need it–living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and more!
Differences Between Skylights and Solar Tubes
Skylights can let in much more natural light into your home than a solar tube, can be opened to let fresh air in, and are an attractive addition to any roofline. However, skylights are more expensive than solar tubes, make a larger opening in the roof, and are more labor-intensive to install and disrupt more roofing materials.
Positioning is an important factor as well. Skylights can be installed almost anywhere, including flat roofs, but have the biggest effect when there is no attic, such as a vaulted roof. If the drop from the attic is much more than a foot or so, extra drywall will be needed to make sure the skylight looks good enough for the interior.
With extensions, solar tubes can easily span a much longer distance if need be. However, if the span becomes too long (more than 12 feet) the amount of natural sunlight that makes it to the diffuser will diminish. The diffuser, an opaque covering for the interior of the home, conceals the metal tube appearance.
This means that a view of the sky, however small it might have been, is zero. That’s one of the factors that make a skylight so attractive. Viewing the bright blue sky or watching torrential rain storms through the skylight brings nature into the home.
But so does a big hole in the roof. Although homeowners can and do install skylights or solar tube kits, it is recommended the work be done by a professional. The roof is the first line of defense against Mother Nature and is the largest uninterrupted part of the home. More interruptions mean more chances for leaks.
Advantages of Solar Tube Installation
While skylights are a huge improvement over artificial light and look nicer than solar tubes, solar tubes provide as much light as electric light and have a few advantages of their own, including:
- Less disruption to the roof
- Energy efficiency
- Less expensive
- Work in smaller spaces
- Lower Maintenance
Less Disruption to the Roof
Solar tubes don’t affect the exterior of the roof as much as skylights, but still need to be installed with care. Improperly installed flashing, mastic, or other roofing adhesives/sealants will cause damage to the attic and interior of the home. On this count, solar tubes and skylights cause the same issues – especially if done by an inexperienced individual.
Solar tubes offer a more significant measure of energy efficiency by not allowing natural light into the house. Although skylights can be outfitted with shades of even tinted glass, they still allow up to three times as much direct sunlight as solar tubes. You may even be able to take a tax credit by installing a solar tube.
This can be important during those warmer summer months when it’s hard to keep the home cooled down during the day. And although we don’t have extremely warm temperatures as the norm, Clark County does manage to hit triple digits every once in a while. The heat gain can be mitigated by installing the skylights on the north side of the home.
Solar tubes are under no such recommendations because the light/heat is held at bay by the dome on the roof. Solar tubes can be placed on the Southwestern part of the home for maximum light. UV rays are also blocked by the dome, so your furniture or carpeting won’t fade under actual sunlight.
Solar tubes are smaller than most skylights, hence, are less expensive. Even with a large attic, most solar tube kits have extenders to make up the difference. Installation can be much faster because the opening is so much smaller, cutting down on labor costs.
Work in smaller spaces
If you’re thinking of bringing natural light into a closet, guest bathroom, or another smaller room, finding skylights small enough to fit can be difficult without a custom solution. Solar tubes fit relatively easily in almost any situation.
A smaller opening in the roof means less worry about leaks and less surface area to keep clean. Also, there are no moving parts, so solar tubes have fewer things that can go wrong. But proper solar tube installation is a must! It doesn’t matter how much natural light a solar tube brings in if it’s leaky after a few months.
Entrust your daylighting projects to Warner Roofing & Construction!
In the Pacific Northwest, where extreme temperatures aren’t the norm, you can’t go wrong with either a skylight or a solar tube. No matter which natural light device you decide to install, the most important thing is to go with a professional roofer. They have the tools, the materials, and the experience to do it right the first time.
Anytime you put a hole in your roof, whether it’s for a chimney, a vent, or a solar tube, extraordinary care must be taken to seal the penetration properly and keep rainwater from damaging your roof and your home. This should always be left to a professional. At Warner, every installation is performed with the utmost diligence so that we can ensure a leak-free solar tube.
The beauty of solar tubes is that they are relatively easy to maintain. Over the years, the fixtures on the roof and ceiling may need repairs or replacements, but the tube and other components, unless someone damages them, are trouble-free. You can enjoy a lighter, brighter home without a second thought with the help of Warner Roofing & Construction.
Contact us about installing solar tubes in your home or office today!