Skylights and Light Tubes

MoccasinMay 4, 2010

Desertsteph reminded me about this subject when she mentioned a skylight in her kitchen.

I want to try either a skylight or a light tube in a couple of places, and wonder what your experiences have been.

And in what rooms you had one in.

Ciao. Time for dinner.

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Do not have any/ Wanted to do a light tube at our last house in my work room. Ended up changing rooms totally and worked in the light bright room and it certainly made my life happier.

I remember looking at one manufactured home that had a llght tube in the master bath. Was not nearly as nice as the other model that had the high windows at top of wall.

The best feature of this house is all the windows. I think it is one thing that helps to keep it from feeling so much like a manufactured home.

Hubby fell asleep/ Break from fixing dinner right away/ LOL


    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 8:16PM
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Had two skylights and can't say enough about them - fantastic!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 10:20PM
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Larke, that is good news. My DH has been resisting any skylights because he says they leak. Do you remember any details about yours?

Thanks for chiming in. :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:18AM
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I've had both in a small home in So. Calif. One tube allowed minimal light in the family room, and was a big disappointment (waste of $$ actually). We ended up putting a sliding glass door on an outside wall which made all the difference. There were 3 skylights, one in the kitchen, one in den, and one in DH bathroom. All could be opened in summer. None leaked. I'd definitely go with a skylight.

Don't know personally how it would be in a snowy climate, but I see lots of them around here in upstate NY.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 4:51AM
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I've had skylights in two 'em! Solar tubes have their place, but for me, nothing beats a skylight.
Proper installation is key. Mine were installed correctly and never leaked.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 6:08PM
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We've had skylights at two of our last houses. At the first house we had one fixed and one that was operable. They were the kind with the rounded top. The fixed one leaked.

In the last house we put in Velux operable ones. They were great and never leaked. Really sucked the hot air out of the house and great for light too.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 9:43PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

So many things on my list of favs tonight--window seats, porches, and sky-lights. It would be great to have more light during the day, but I've always thought that it would be wonderful to be able to see the stars through a sky-light.

We have a perfect room for sky-lights (tiny upstairs bedroom, sloped ceiling), but, my DH agrees with ML's--too leaky.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 12:35AM
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my sister had 2 in her mfg home - no leaks. has 1 in her new house - no leak in 2 yrs there.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 12:39AM
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O, I love skylights - I'd love to have a couple of them in this house (who knows - maybe once we're over our current mess hahaha). We've looked at the tubes, but so far haven't installed them. My sister has a large skylight in her kitchen and it's fabulous. Her kitchen is in the middle of her house, and has no windows due to the layout, and the skylight makes ALL the difference in the world there.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:49AM
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We have a light tube in our windowless main bathroom. LOVE IT!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 8:12PM
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I think the light tubes bring light economically where other fixtures would require architectural adjustments that could be too expensive to even think about. That is where they really SHINE, so to speak.

Like in your windowless main bath, Melle.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 1:32PM
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Exactly -- they are economical and let in light w/o letting in heat (which you can get from skylights). Also they do not require a lot of space; since our main bath is only 8' x 5' and already has ducting/pipes etc in the ceiling. We weren't even able to install the light tube in the spot we originally wanted b/c ducts were in the way. Evenso, it lets in lots of light and is nice & bright during the day -- even at night you get moonlight and that's pretty cool. It no longer feels like a closet when you go in (which is how it felt the first couple years we lived here).

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 2:19PM
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In a hurricane area, they make me nervous. My previous townhouse had a skylight over the upstairs hall. The old original skylight was totally fine and survived the three storms of 2004/2005 with no problems, but they had to replace them when they redid the roof, and the new ones constantly hummed and whined when the wind was right. Not for me, not again. So glad my current house doesn't have any.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 9:33PM
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We have a skylight and 3 solar tubes in our current house, love all of them. So in new build, where we have more windows, we have skylight in kitchen since there's only one window there and large solar tube in windowless pantry, can't wait until solar tube is installed - much bigger than the ones in current house. You have to love light!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 11:43PM
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WE get so much snow here I wonder how the sky lights work with 3-4 foot of snow? Any one know? I do know everything that blocks snow sliding off the roof adds to trouble. Even a tiny vent pipe. WE do have a roof rake and have to pull the snow down off from around the exhaust fan vent when we get a lot of snow.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 12:15AM
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We had a lot of snow this year, like 2 foot at a problems. But we don't have 3-4 foot.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 7:30AM
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We do not get it all at once. About 16 inches in one storm is about the most we will get. Still on the ground and roof we have had 4 foot easily. This roof has a higher pitch so for the most part it slides. I do love light in my house so anything to get it there is welcome.

Thanks for the snow information bjandtom and welcome.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 8:52AM
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I don't have one, but I seriously considered putting a solar tube to lighten my living room. There was already a hole in the roof from the fake chimney (vent for my long-removed furnace). The solar tube lost out to an exhaust fan in the end. I've often thought it must be all about the installation. I was concerned about the vent leaking, but it's been several years and we've had not problems.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 10:05PM
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I too had 2 tube lights installed in my bathroom that had no windows. I got them because it drove me crazy every time I drew the shower curtain it got dark in the shower.
Once I had the tubes put in there was a dramatic difference. It looked like the light was on all the time in the day time though. A few times it tricked me into thinking that I forgot to turn off the light, until I got used to it. That's not a complaint...I loved it. Just mentioning the effect.
It never leaked. I had my roof replaced and I asked the roofer to put them in when he was redoing the roof so I assume it was done correctly. I thinks that's the key. The inside cover of the solar tube is not clear so it makes it look like a glass dome with a bulb under it. My Mom had a skylight in her bathroom and hers would occasionally look dirty and there was no way to clean it.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:47PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We got 2 solar tubes in interior spaces and really enjoy the light from them.

They are clearly not windows, which skylights are. Skylights are more like a big hole in your roof from an energy point of view. Most well made and properly installed (velux) skylights will not leak. But even in ice damming situations, they can leak.

The advantage to solar tubes is they don't leak and they are more energy efficient. The tube is closed on the top and closed on the bottom with a lens so the channel of air in between acts like insulation so it blocks heat from entering or exiting.

Also solar tubes can be extended, if designed in advance so you have space for the tube, you can have them bring sunlight down to a lower level interior space...can't do that with a skylight.

I think I would use a skylight in a space where you "live" and want or need that window to make the space feel comfortable. Solar tubes are better for spaces where you want light but don't need a window....ours are in the dressing room and the laundry room.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 8:19AM
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Annie, you make it easier to choose. I'm thinking we need a double light tube (2 tubes one hole in the roof) for our hallway, which is so dark. It is the only space in our house which has no window. Having a beam of light coming in there would be very welcome indeed.

My consideration is for the attic steps which are in this hallway. I really want to move them or make them more compact, and then route the solar tube to come down adjacent to the interior half of our heat pump. We have to keep access to this important part of our a/c and heat system. I'm really looking forward to installing a solar tube in this area at the same time we do our new roof, floors and kitchen remodel.

Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 11:17AM
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When we were redoing the kitchen two summers ago, we asked Jim about a light tube. He said, "why not a skylight?" We LOVE it. It brings light into a dark kitchen that had one northern-facing window that looked out on the neighbor's house. We use it as an auxilary exhaust when the downdraft can't keep up.

It is a Velux and it does not leak.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 7:20PM
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I just spoke to a salesman from "the" light tube company(CA, based) over the weekend(at the wonderful Clearwater festival). A woman came up and said that she used one in a hallway and loved it. You should get a few references from them in your general area and look at how others installed them. That sounds like a good application.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:29AM
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We have a friend who installed two solar tubes in the dark spots of her house, one bath and the dining area where there were no windows. We knew what the house looked like from visiting. So, we went back after the solar tubes were installed and what a difference!

We plan on putting a couple, in a dark hallway and one bath has no windows.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:36PM
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