What to Know About Tubular Skylights

Tubular skylights can provide natural light in rooms where it wasn't possible before. Learn more here.

A traditional skylight can be a great way to let natural light into a room, but it can also bring with it a host of insulation and leakage issues. Some interior rooms also lack access to natural light based on location … at least, not through traditional methods. That’s where tubular skylights come in.

What is a Tubular Skylight?

Tubular skylights bring natural light into a room through a tube-shaped structure that takes sunlight from your roof and reflects it down into your home.

One of the main advantages of tubular skylights is that they can be modified to work in rooms and ceilings where installing traditional skylights would be impossible. They’re also easier and cheaper to install than traditional skylights. That makes them an attractive option for anyone looking to add natural light without undertaking a massive remodel project.

How Do Tubular Skylights Work?

Tubular skylights are also sometimes referred to as “sun tunnels.” That’s a good way to think about how they work.

Light enters through the dome at the top of the skylight. Then it travels through the tubing, which often features a system of mirrors that reflect sunlight as efficiently possible. The light hits a diffuser built into the other end of the skylight in the ceiling and spreads down into the room.

How to Find the Best Tubular Skylights For Your Home

The kind of tubular skylight you install depends mostly on the room. Some are designed for rooms with a short distance between the ceiling and the roof. Others are extendable and flexible enough to run from the ceiling on one floor, through an entire attic, and then out through the roof.

Before you buy, assess the room’s location and how far the skylight will have to travel to reach the roof.

How Much Do Tubular Skylights Cost?

Tubular skylights cost from $200 to $500. Cheaper models typically feature rigid construction that work only within specific parameters. The more expensive ones are made with flexible materials best suited for rooms lacking a simple path to roof access.

Some tubular skylights come with features like solar-powered nightlights and low-profile designs. Both will add to the total cost.

Tubular Skylight Installation and Installation Costs

According to Home Advisor, having a pro install a tubular skylight will cost from $300 to $700, less than half of a traditional skylight installation. It also notes most tubular skylights are made for roofs with pitches from 15 to 60 degrees. If your roof’s pitch falls outside of that range, your tubular skylight will require custom installation, driving up the cost.

Can You DIY Tubular Skylight Installation?

Whether you can successfully install a tubular skylight hinges mainly on how comfortable you are with roofing work. You’ll need to install roof flashing and work with shingles. Proficiency with ductwork and drywall is paramount, along with understanding your home’s layout and how it works.

If you feel you can handle those things, tackling your tubular skylight installation could save you a good deal of money in the long run.

Popular Videos