Solatubes ... luv them!!

vieja_gwMay 21, 2008

When we had to replace the old roof shingles we decided it was a good time to get the Solatubes put on the roof at the same time. I had wanted them for two rooms that were dark & had no windows. I can't believe the tremendous amount of natural sunlight that floods the rooms now .. we still go to the light switches to turn off the 'lights' when we leave the room not remembering it is from the sun!

I have seen other brands also & wonder how well people like them? We got the 14 inch diameter tubes.

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laney2

That is going to be my next project. I want to put 2 in my dark great room. Did you install them yourself? I'd like to see pics if you have some.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 9:07AM
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vieja_gw

laney2: No, since we were having the roof reshingled we thought it was a good time to have the Solatubes & their flashing installed under the shingles. I see Home Depot & Lowe's have a solar tube also but another brand. I Googled the Solatubes site & liked the history of theem (Australia developed them) & we have a local dealer where we could see them 'in action' & discuss them & ask questions so we chose this brand & company to install them. Funny, when a plane or bird flies over the tube the light flickers & I think: "Oh, the bulb is burning out ..." still thinking the light is from the electric light! Those tubes & our solar panels we installed years ago are my favorite investments in the house!

I do have pics of the lights 'in action' & will try & send some to this site.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 8:06PM
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Linelle

I've had a Solatube (14") in my window-less hallway for about 8 years. I still think I've left a light turned on somewhere. My nextdoor neighbor has 7 of them. Seven!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 1:05AM
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vieja_gw

Yes, linelle, those Solatubes are wonderful! Haven't regreted getting them at all (our's also are 14 inch)& wish we could have gotten even more ... like the seven your neighbor got!! Amazing the amount of light they bring in.

- vieja

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 11:27PM
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amart45

I am so happy to see this posting ... can you please tell me more about these Solartubes! I have been wanting to put one in my kitchen for years, but can't seem to get much information on them in this area. I live on the East Coast in New Jersey, I know their available in my local hardware stores, but they were not much help. No one around here seem to be familiar with them. I would love to see some pictures and perhaps you can tell me which one you installed. Would appreciate if you can tell me about how much it cost. I am determined to have one installed this year! Thanks for your help.
Anne

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 9:40AM
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vieja_gw

amart45: the tubes we got are called Solatubes ... the brand name & the original company is from Holland I believe ..... just Google : Solatubes for the info. No, they are not the same brand as those sold in Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. but are sold here only by the dealer & installed by them. They come in 10 inch, 14 inch & maybe a bigger size but we got the 14 inch size & happy with the light they bring in. Funny, when a plane or a bird flies over one, the light flickers & I- without thinking- think a light bulb is going out!!

I sent a pic earlier over this site of ours & will try & find the pic again & send it again. The cost for two was around $1400.00 but that was installed through a rather steep pitched roof. I still am SO happy with the light they bring in & wished I could have afforded even more installed!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 6:33PM
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amart45

vieja: thank you for your reply... I have done allot of research on the internet about these Solatubes.. and familiar with the product, but still no one in my area seems to be!
I found several companies in my area and plan to call them today,, I am determined to get this done...they seem so simple to install.. but the cost is quite high!!
Would love to see the picture.. you can send it directly to me at:amart45@optonline.net
thank you so much, Anne

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 10:11AM
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vieja_gw

amart45:

I sent two photos to your e-mail ... let me know if you get them. Will also try to figure out how to send them to this gardenweb site some day!!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 9:41PM
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dodge1959

We put a solatube in the bathroom downstairs, it had no windows. Absolutely luv the thing. I keep reaching for the light switch too. Even till about twilight , we dont need to turn the lite on in the bathroom. Mine is also Solatube and we had a Solatube dealer close. We had them install it, even with the night light installed in it and their fanciest lense, It was less than $700 installed. One of the best things we have done to our house.
If you go to the Solatube web-site, they have a dealer locator on that web-site.

Gary

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 10:42PM
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vieja_gw

gary: we paid the local dealer around $1400 for the two 14 inch Solatubes so guess from your price of one that was about the same. We never would have tried to install them ouselves even though they do say one can do it!

We have a north bedroom that has one window (north wall) & it is quite dark but because of the roof pitch we were told a Solatube would not bring in as much light in that location so we stuck with the window-less kitchen & den with only two small windows.

Glad to hear of others satisfaction with this brand of tibes!

- vieja

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 11:05AM
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dodge1959

I had mine installed over the shower--right now white tile and grout, probably will redo with onyx slabs not a grout fan.I have another bathroom upstairs without a window, alto it does have an outside wall, was thinking about puttin in a window, but the price and the light output of the solatube, may cause me to change my mind and put another one , up there--sure a lot cheaper than adding a "Conventional" skylight or a window.
The Solatube saves a ton of money too, as when when turn the light on in the bathroom it also turns on the fan, which really isnt needed, probably 90% of the time.

Gary

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 1:07PM
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sonepi

Do the solatubs work with a 2 story house for an interior room on the first floor?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 6:57AM
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vieja_gw

sonepi:see dodge 1959's posting on the 19th: said a Solatube was placed in a 'downstairs bathroom' so guess it will work ... just a longer tube (the tubes have a reflective surface on the insides ... like a mirror) probably. One of our's comes down through the attic at a place where the attic space is about 10 ft. high.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 8:31PM
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wws944

They rock. We had three Solatubes (I think - they used rigid tubing) installed a few years ago, also while having roof work done. They were on the dark side of the family room, the kitchen, and a windowless bath. The transformation in the bathroom in particular was astonishing. It went from a dark cave to a very pleasant room to use. Even in the middle of the night, there was a bit of light coming in from the moon and stars. So given dark adapted eyes, there usually wasn't a need to turn on a light.

Last year we completely renovated/expanded the house, and the old tubes got ripped out in the process. We now have Velux flex tube versions in several places. They are not quite as bright as the rigid ones, but still very worthwhile. One reason for going with the flex versions was that the flex tubing was easier to install.

My goal was that you could use any room in the house during the day without turning on lights. Almost achieved it. Exception was one bathroom where some complexities in the roof prevented it. (We could still probably do it over the tub/shower - and flex over to a non-critical area of the roof, but SWMBO thought it would look weird there.)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 4:00AM
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dodge1959

we were lucky, in that the shower in the downstairs bath jutted into the garage. The garage is part of the 1st floor of the house, so the Solatube sits on the garage roof.
Directly to the west of the Solatube is the 2nd story and it's roof. I had thought about extending the solatube to the 2nd story roof, but then I would have had to build some kind of enclosure so the tube to the solatube would not show.
As it turned out, even with the tube on the 1st story roof, the bathroom is well let, and much to my amazement, we can still see to wash our hands till almost twilight.
I suspect part of that is due to the white exterior walls that surround the Sola collector.
You could put one in a 2 story house, you would have to have a place to hide the actual tubes (in the 2nd floor).
Solatube does have curved pipes to make this easier and as the other poster said here, some even have flexible tubes.

Gary

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 3:46PM
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heide08

This is great. We've just been talking about installing solatube instead of a structural light wellin a rowhouse. I'm very pleased to hear all the positive feedback and info.

two questions: anyone have a downside?
anyone use in a rowhouse?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 8:02AM
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vieja_gw

heide08:

So far we have no complaints at all... no downsides & SO happy we had them installed. As for price, I expect the length of the tube needed to go from roof to the room ceiling (single vs. two story), size of the tube, type of tube cover in the room, etc. would vary.from one site to another.

Has any one had experience with tubes of another brand other than Solatube? Lowe's & Home Depot & others have other brands but since a friend has had her's (seven of them!)for years & still is excited about them & they are Solatube brand so we stuck with that brand & their local installer.

I guess any problem would be if a good south exposure is shaded by trees, other multistoried structures, etc.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 6:24PM
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heide08

Thanks vieja

Inerestingly, there was also just a post in the kitchen forum from another new solatube user and lover.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 7:09AM
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athomesewing

We are thinking of installing a couple, and doing it ourselves. I ran across this site with lot of photos of an install, including before and after pics.

Here is a link that might be useful: Installing a Solatube

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 1:19PM
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dim4fun

It's great that you all love your tubes but many don't. If you live in hilly areas with neighbors above they may not love your tubes as much as you. The things are ugly up on the roof looking like R2-D2 aglow at night. Some communities with appointed art juries have banned these tubes. Inside they have none of the architecturally pleasing style of a skylight. The light from a skylight shaft painted the same color as your ceiling picks up the color as it reflects off of these surfaces and blends better as it enters the room. A tube light is a silver coated tunnel with no reflected paint color to help it blend in so it looks like odd lighting. It looks like a round light fixture with odd light. It does not look like "sunlight." It looks artificial because of the silver shaft.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 1:57AM
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dodge1959

hmmmmm, It does not look like "sunlight." It looks artificial because of the silver shaft. Mirrors are usually glass with a silver backing, I guess I best looks in mirror again and see if I look "Artificial"

Gary

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 4:37PM
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vieja_gw

why would the solar tubes 'look like R2-D2' from outdoors at night? Less inside light showing up outside from them than much bigger skylights letting indoor lighting go out.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 5:12PM
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dim4fun

The shape of the dome lit up at night seems to offend some. The areas that I know ban them also tell you what colors you can paint your house, what type of roof you can have, what kind of windows, etc. Homeowner associations also often have the power to rule over these things.

The size, shape and color of lens at the ceiling level is biggest problem at the interior. It's all a matter of taste and those that claim the right to determine good taste tend not to choose tubes. If you ask top architects, interior designers, art juries, etc, you will likely find a thumbs down on the tubes.

Since you all took the time to rave over your tubes I wanted to interject another viewpoint that is widespread and not just my personal opinion. Info only. Feel free to ignore it and enjoy your tubes.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 7:26PM
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vieja_gw

The Solatubes have a choice of lenses & type of lighting they bring indoors.

I'm one of those 'without good taste' I guess but then what the 'professionals think" is not what matters most to me if I like something.

-vieja

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 2:42PM
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stayn2busy

Has anyone ever installed a solartube with a metal standing seam roof? We are building and I would love to have one in an upstairs bath without windows.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 2:17PM
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dodge1959

I'm not sure what a metal Standing Seam roof is? but our roof is made of steel--alto it looks like a shake roof.
They do make a flashing kit (Solatuve) for metal roofs.

Gary

PS, I finally kwit reachin' for the freakin lite switch (LOL)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 11:54PM
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sonepi

Thanks Dodge1959 for the explanation of your solartube in your downstairs bathroom that juts into the garage. Also, thanks for those helpful folks that explained the flexibility of the tubing and how it works. There is no "attic" in my mother's home and the bathroom is an interior room. I was just wondering if that would work in her two story house. Seems like it may be a little bit more trouble than it's worth, for her home at least, because above that bath are stairs. It definitely sounds like something that would be nice to have though.

Glad to see the pros and cons of the solatube.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 11:38PM
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lincolngapstrom

When we first moved into our house, one of the upstairs bathrooms had no windows and absolutely no outside light. I was informed about these solatube lights from the same company that I purchase my Onex boiler from about a year ago. www.houseneeds.com, the sales people there suggested them as a much better solution than the dormers that I was planning on constructing, as well as a huge money saver.

Here is a link that might be useful: Houseneeds.com

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 1:38PM
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scrappy25

We put a 10 inch one in our windowless upstairs hallway so that I don't have to switch on the light in the morning anymore. We had to change the filter to a "warm" filter after the fact because the light was too blue to start. I think it was $15 plus shipping, and very easy to change out. If you don't want or can't have skylights this is a good compromise.I think energywise it is much better than a skylight.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 7:29AM
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harry_wild

I have a 11' X 12'kitchen and not sure which size to get? 10" or 14"?

How much difference is there in the lightning and cost? It a solatube brand I am considering.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 6:34PM
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vieja_gw

We got the 14 in. Solatube for our 12x16 ft. kitchen that had no windows. We have a small fluorescent light (15 watt) over the sink otherwise the Solatube is quite sufficient. The other tube we put in a 14x32 ft. den that had just two 12x24 in. windows (southfacing) that had amber decorative glass in them which gave very little light! The single 14 in. Solatube in the den provides just the amount of lighting we wanted. Was a few years ago but I think (?) they were around $600 each installed. We love them ... & we also have two solar panals we had installed many years ago & they in winter start pumping out heat around 8 AM & go off around 4:30 PM here in NM where we get a lot of sunshine... furnace rarely comes on during the day. Wish we could go more solar, but $$ !
We have a pitched roof w/attic & installation was no problem.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 6:50PM
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