solar tube placement in kitchen remodel

mizfitzMay 3, 2011

We have an interior kitchen that needs to be brightened up. I am looking to install a 14" solatube in my kitchen remodel to solve the light issues. Ideally, I would love to place it over the kitchen sink, but am concerned about glare on the stainless sink basin. Has anyone installed a solar tube directly over a stainless steel sink?

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hi mizfitz. If you have a solar tube over the sink will you have another way to light the sink at night or when it's cloudy outside? I'd hesitate to make it my only light source by the sink. OTOH, SolaTube does have a light add on kit so you can add regular lighting to the tube. Are you planning on this? (We have SolaTubes in 2 interior bathrooms and I love them, but I have no experience with the add on light kit.)

I wouldn't worry about glare. A solar tube can brighten up a room, but at least with the ones we have the cover on the opening diffuses the light, so it's more of an overall brightening in the room than a focused light. (Also, most SS sinks I've seen have a brushed finish which would reduce glare.)

Are you looking for an overall brightening of the room? Depending on the size of your kitchen you might want more than one, and I'd lean toward placing them where you could benefit from ambient rather than focused light. (e.g., not over the sink, over an island, or to light counters) unless you use the add on light kits to light those spaces at night.

The SolaTube site has some technical resources that might help.

Here is a link that might be useful: SolaTube technical resources

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Sorry for the delayed response! We have lots of other lighting in the kitchen from five 5" cans and four 7" pendants over the island. This is a great room/open concept, so we also get some natural light from the exterior windows, but the kitchen is in the center of the home about 15' from the front and 10' from the back windows. We can either place one 14" over the sink area or two 14" - one at each end of the island.

I was thinking we should have enough task lighting from the cans/pendants, but can always add a light down the road if we need it. I have attached a layout of the greatroom so you can visualize the plan and the windows we do have.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 11:05AM
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we had two solatubes in a previous house and one (in the bath) had a light kit and a fan kit. The amount of and length of time during the day of light you get will also depend on which direction your roof faces where the solatube comes thru. The two we had were on east (bath) and west (hall) facing roof slopes and you could really tell the difference in the light between the two. Like chicagoans says, you can choose a clearer or more translucent diffuser.

The light kit, at least at the time some years ago, didn't allow alot of watts for the bulb, so check that out. It worked ok for a central light in a small full bath but I dunno for above a sink though you do have additional artifical lighting so maybe not a worry.

Since your island is in the middle of the room with maybe not much light reaching into the middle of the great room, the two solatubes on either end of the island sounds like a better setup to me. If you're trying to watch tv in the great room though, consider that you'll have light *all day* (depending on roof slope direction) from the solatubes.

depending on how far apart they are, two solatubes can share one roof opening, which is nice--fewer holes through the roof the better.

we would definitely do solatubes again FWIW. our current house guest bath has a 2x2 skylight framed and insulated but not actually through the roof or the room ceiling, and we're considering putting a solatube in rather than the existing design.



    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:43AM
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We have one in our master bath which faces north. It gives off way more light than expected. It is a diffused light, but in the a.m. to afternoon, really cranks. Most nights, it has a soft glow, so it won't light the room but it will keep it from being pitch black. You can always see its shape in the ceiling at night. The first few days, I'd think I left a light on and start to try to turn it off (conservation nut, lol). It is a light like from a fixture and not at all like our skylights. It looks exactly like a light fixture as well as the bottom glass is not clear. I had not really thought too much about it so was surprised to see it in action. It was a great choice for our master bathroom. It won't give you a large spread of light like a skylight and you can't open it, but it has its applications where it is the better choice. In our larger family bath with have a skylight that opens so it lets out steam. We have 2 skylights in our kitchen and I love them for there. They are also the kind that can open, so they will help with giving fresh air and cooling off on warm to hot days. I don't think I could live in a house without skylights any more. We had them in our last house all over and we put them in here. Our house is light even on dark days. I also love how they look when it snows. They give off a cool glow. We don't suffer from the winter blues as we always have natural light in our lives.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 12:17PM
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