Solor tube for the bathroom

Jean BoDecember 5, 2011

Solar tube skylight. The research I found on this site is quite old and wanted to know if anyone has any current recommendations for brand? I think the idea of it doubling as a room light (at night) is a good one. So that is an option I would like as well. Is there a minimum distance needed between the finished drywall inside (ceiling) and exterior room (barrel tile). We only have a short distance and it was suggested to me that it might reduce the level of day light. Is there a particular flashing I should be looking for. I am getting a new roof so now is the time to put it in. Next, how many is one enough? Where should this beam of light shine in, over the sink, toilet, shower area? All seem like they might be weird. Or place it dead center of the room treat it like a light fixture which as I write this seems like the obvious best choice. Any and all help appreciated. Thanks! (x ref in remodel)

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Jean Bo

Wow should not have used the word solar and definitely didn't check that I spelled it wrong, yikes! Anyway, been working on this most of the day. If you have used one could you please let me know what size you used. 10" seems too small for the space I have of 5 x 14

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 5:22PM
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We are building, so haven't moved in yet, but we put a 10" one in a 6'6" x 14' bathroom and it appears to let in plenty of light.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 11:17PM
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Jean Bo

Dekeobee what manufacturer did you settle on?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 1:58PM
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I am not sure if this will help - we lived in a ranch house (one story) & installed a solar tube in the bathroom when we did a renovation. We loved it! This was about 12 -13 years ago and I would give a very good recommendation.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 5:15PM
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Hey JJazzy. I am just finishing up my 4th bathroom remodel this year (2 in my own home and 2 at my Mom's) and put Solatubes in all 4. Great product and very easy to install, particularly when you are doing a new roof like I did this year as well. 10 inch ones are more than big enough unless you are looking at a very large or commercial application. The kits that come with the Solatube are all your roofers need. You may wish to look at Solatubes' website to see qualified roofers in your area and get a significant reduction in install costs doing it same time as roof (when I did the install of my 2 they were running a sale where installation was free when you were doing a new roof as well). I put one in my master bath shower that has a light kit in it and an adjacent vent fan as well. Works great and the fan is very quiet as the motor housing is installed in the attic. The one I put in my guest bath is located only about 9 inches from the back wall and is centered side to side of my walk in shower. It shines down perfectly on a 24x36 travertine and glass tile nitche I put in. This room has no windows so the sunlight coming in is especially dramatic and is nice when we walk buy the room during the day and see the accent tile lit up by the Solatube. Very big bang for the remodel buck in my book.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 8:48PM
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jjazzy - Ours are also Solatube.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 10:29PM
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Jean Bo

Oh Golf thank you so much for all your info. I feel confident now about the 10 inch. What manufacturer did you use?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 10:29PM
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We installed a 10" Solatube in our water closet.



Granted my paint and trim were done by the time I took an "after" picture but I think you get the idea!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 11:14PM
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Jean Bo

Golf thanks so much, so you are happy with the light level and don't think you should have more? They tell me the 10" is equivalent to a 300 watt but for my room size they are actuall suggesting a 14". 300 watts seems like an awfully lot. Confused....again.....

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:52AM
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We have Solatubes in each of the 2 kids' bathrooms. They're 10" and nice and bright. (A few times friends have asked how to "turn off the light.")

They are in the center of the room, and there are separate lights over the sinks and in the shower areas. I don't think you'd want one in place of a regular light over the sink, since you'd need a regular light at night.

It's a fairly bright day here today, so these shots will hopefully give you an idea of the light provided. This is the Solatube in DD's bathroom with the sink lights off, then on, to give you an idea of the brightness. (FYI the flash went off too, I think.)

Regarding placement: IIRC the Solatube site has some pretty good documentation.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 11:27AM
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10 inch provides plenty of light as you can see from the pictures above. and the smaller size makes them generally a little easier to install. Solatube's website has lots of good info on different options. I would recommend that if you are using natural stone in grays and other neutrals I would opt for the warming lens as the standard lens will give the light a bluer/colder cast. Its like ten bucks for the warming lens, maybe less if you order it that way to start. also make sure you check Solatube's website to find out which roofers in your are are trained to install their products. One of the best and easiest and cheapest improvements I have come across in the last 20 years of DIY remodeling.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 6:29PM
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Jean Bo

Thanks so much golf for the pictures. Did you put your light closer to the tub. I have the same exact bathroom layout you have there. Do you have a uv filter. I am replacing bathtub with an acrylic and now I am worried about yellowing.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 9:23PM
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collins design

I have a 10" Solatube in my kitchen (with the optional light add-on for night.) I got the amber lens, which cuts the light down a bit but makes it a warmer color more similar to incandescent light (it can seem jarring to have very blue daylight in an indoor space.) We have been happy with it. I wish I'd gotten the larger size, but I'm sure 10" would be plenty in a bathroom!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 8:42AM
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Staceyneil, I had wondered if I should go with the amber lens since I really prefer warmer spectrum lighting. Would you be able to post any pictures so I can see how it looks compared to mine with the regular OptiView lens? Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 5:29PM
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Jean Bo

Thanks Stacy, I will have to ask about the lens. I contacted another vendor Sun-Dome and he says he is the only one that is approved for Dade County approvals. Now I am not sure if that is true or not. But he tells me that he suggest a 13" light and that the lens bevels down, it is not flat, not sure how I like that but then again I guess I won't see that unless it's dark out. He says that the 10" only shines 5 feet each way and the 13" will shine 8 feet each way. From the ceiling down. I guess the beveled lens helps out in that respect. I asked about a light kit and he tells me he won't use one it will block the light coming through the can. He got complaints before and now won't sell em that way. Now his product is less expensive then the Solartube which I like. I don't have a problem going for the 13" but will definitely have to ask about the color hue that will be coming through. Also, the one thing I am scared of is replacing my steel tub with an acrylic. They say that they can yellow from UV light exposure. My Glass sink was ruined by UV light so I don't want a repeat of damages from the sun on the tub......

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 10:58PM
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