We have six such (but an 'builder brand' alternative to SolaTube brand).
So far, the ONLY drawback I have seen has to do with my fear of the
skylight portion of ours being broken in a windstorm. (ours have a more-
traditional glass skylight top, rather than the plastic dome of a
There's _almost_ zero heat-gain during even the hottest parts the day
with overhead sun, VERY bright interiors, and virtually zero maintenance
(remove the diffuser and clean out the little bugs that get in there
Ours are now over 15 years old, and I cannot (visually) determine any
loss of performance or deterioration.
I have heard of the 'duct' of SolaTubes hardening and cracking if
mechanically disturbed... but I wonder why you'd ever disturb one, once
it's in place.
Oh... there IS a major downside I forgot about.
Any "roof penetrating" modification is best installed at construction
time or during re-roofing. INEVITABLY, a retro-fit on an existing roof
will end up leaking, because nobody is willing to 'weave' shingles
If the job were _really_ done right, it would be just as good on an
existing roof as on a new one. But that just never happens anymore in
today's G.A.S. construction trade.
When their kids were young, my S&BiL put in skylights and lined
the ~3ftx3ft tunnels to the roof with mirrors.
As a result, the kids could watch the moon and stars drift by as
they went to sleep.
They loved that.
A host is a host from coast to firstname.lastname@example.org
& no one will talk to a host that's close..........................
The window company I worked for about 15 years ago was an authorized
installer of the "sola-tube" sky-lite, and if properly installed they
were fantastic. You could only buy them installed by an authorized
installer at that time - and I believe it was for good reason. Too may
ways to do it wrong and screw things up.
Done right they didn't leak, no condensation problems, and very
effective at bringing in light from outside.
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Yup! The 'conventional way' seems to be to sabre-saw a hole in the roof
and "bull" the flange down until it looks like there's 'enough' Black-
Jack to seal it up. And then, of course, there never is.
But yes. Done right, there's no reason nor particular mechanical aspect
of them that could ever leak, unless something got broken by wind-driven
I haven't installed any, but I've seen a LOT of them and talked about
them with lots of clients. DEFINITELY get a frosted diffuser, as the
direct sunlight coming down that shiny metal tube is extremely bright.
Most setups come with the diffuser rather than a clear bottom lens.
The polished stainless sheetmetal tubes work much better than either
galvanized tubes or the flexible tube type, which are cheaper.
What I don't like about skylights and solatubes is that the entire
room will be very, very bright until a cloud comes along, and it will
go nearly dark. This is 5x more pronounced than you experience with
plain windows. Days with scattered clouds are like living in the
shadow of a wind turbine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbIe0iUtelQ
I've seen better luck when they are installed on the north side of
roofs. They produce less light, but are far less stroby.
Bottom line: skylights are nice, but I wouldn't want to live with
one. We get lots of scattered cloudy days here.
Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult,
whereas I am merely in disguise.
I've had mostly good luck using roof pipe flashing boots to seal other
things such as solar panel supports. The one leak from a dumb
shingling mistake ran through a ceiling light opening onto my
just-paid-off home mortgage papers.
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