Traditional skylights vs Tubular skylights: Everything You Need to Know
Repair of the Attic

Traditional skylights vs Tubular skylights: Everything You Need to Know

Everyone knows that sun brings us joy. Vitamin D can be beneficial to your physical and mental wellbeing as well. We all feel more relaxed, even better, when we enjoy natural sunlight on an amazing sunshine day. Thus, the ability to bring the sunlight and natural light in the house directly by skylights undoubtedly a great home improvement to numerous. Traditional skylights vs tubular skylights?

There are two main types of skylights: traditional “window-pane-on-the-roof” skylights, and tubular skylights. They both let the natural light in the house from above. They are able to be put on top of the roof. However, they each provide a distinct type in light.

traditional skylights vs tubular skylights

What Are They?

Skylights are acrylic, glass or polycarbonate windows that are that are installed into the roofing of your house. They’re typically rectangular with three primary elements.

The glass is the transparent windows. It is enclosed by the frame, and is linked to the roof via Flashing and can prevent water the possibility of leaks. The sizes can vary from 12-inch squares up to massive rectangular sections. More is more in the case of skylights. However, the dimensions must not be more than 15 percent of the area of the space below.

Skylights can reduce the energy needed to light a room by up to 30%. They are also more effective at keeping heat out during summer months, which can significantly lower cooling costs. Additionally, skylights have been known to improve ventilation in a room and contribute to overall health benefits since they bring in natural air from outside.

The solar tubes can also be referred to as sun tunnels light tubes or skylights with tubular tubes, however they all have the same structural characteristics.

A clear or polycarbonate dome set on the roof of your home absorbs the sun’s light, which is reflecting off a stiff or flexible sheet of sheet metal tube, located in the attic. It then shines upon the diffusing lens that is located in the ceiling. It can be 10 inches as large, up to 14 inches, or even larger.

Skylights as well as solar tubes reflect light through the house’s roof towards the interior. They can therefore only be installed at the top of the building.

Traditional Skylights

Traditional Skylights

The majority of people are familiar with the traditional skylights. They can add an incredible amount of atmosphere, and offer the view of blue skies, trees, and stars of the night. They may be constructed of glass, acrylic, or polycarbonate.

They have three major elements: the frame that within which the window rests and the glass itself and the flashing that is placed on the exterior of the window to ensure that the windows watertight. The windows start at 12″x12″ squares, then gradually increase in dimension, and are able to be vented, fixed or fixed pane (operable).

Tubular Skylights

A little less known, tubular skylights, also referred to for called sun tunnels and light tubes made of glass and are not glazed. They’re secluded, and don’t have view of the sky which can feel like the typical light fixture. They’re made from a clear acrylic or polycarbonate or acrylic dome that collects light when it is placed on the roof, and then reflects the light downwards via a of metal.

The light will then hit an absorbing lens on your ceiling before being dispersed across the room. The most common diameters for tubular skylights include 10, 14 and 21 inches”, 14″, and 21″ The majority of people select the biggest size that is able to fit between the rafters of their home.



tubular skylights

  1. Lower overall cost
  2. Easy installation process
  3. Energy efficiency
  1. Costlier
  2. Energy efficiency is lower during hot temperatures
  3. UV ray penetration

traditional skylights

  1. Sky view from the direct perspective
  2. Could increase the resale value of your property
  3. Open and close to allow for air circulation
  1. There is no view of the sky
  2. Susceptible to damage in extreme temperatures
  3. Can’t be opened

Advantages of tubular skylights

A unique benefit that solar tubes have over skylights is that they boost the efficiency of energy of your house, specifically when you reside in a region that experiences a summer heat. Skylights are able to provide your house with direct light, which will heat up your home and increase cooling solar tubes cost. Contrarily, indirect light of a solar tube emits less heat than warm air and results in less efficient cooling use.

Advantages of traditional skylights

The primary advantage that skylights offer over solar tubes is in the views skylights provide. Solar tubes can only be used to let light to pass through.

Disadvantages of traditional skylights

The part that is facing to the outside is typically a solar tube. It’s an acrylic dome, which can be more prone to getting damaged or cracked when exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures. If you live living in a place where temperatures are very hot and the winters can be particularly cold Skylights could be a better choice due to the durability that the glass has.

Disadvantages of tubular skylights

Sun tunnels could be an alternative to solar tubes or skylights as they are able to solve a variety of the issues common with their counterparts. There are some negatives of skylights. solar tubes may solve.

Direct light of skylights damaging UV rays may reflect into your house. The result could cause damage to furniture as well as the loss of color to furniture and may cause sunburns, as well as various skin issues. The indirect light emanating through solar tubes is a source of UV-rays that are blocked by the transparent top of the roof. This makes it much safe for your furniture, as well as for your people who live in your home.

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The installation process is harder with regard to the Skylight because it involves the use of more woodwork in comparison to installing the solar tube. In most cases, at minimum, a rafter would require cutting which will require the rafters that surround the rafter to be increased.

Although it is not necessary to cut the rafter, it will need meticulous work to finish the interior of the room, and then setting up an electric lighting for the purpose of avoid leaks. There is a widespread belief that skylights can be susceptible to leaks that often occur due to poor installation. This is why making a skylight installation should be done by a expert.

In contrast, solar tube installation is quite simple. The entire process can take just 2 hours and certainly not more than a quarter of a time. The dome is set over the roof, with appropriate lighting then the tube is then extended beyond the dome and into the ceiling. The diffuser is subsequently installed on the ceiling, without the need to do anything any more than minimal interior finish work.


The costlier system is the skylight that’s traditional, most likely due to the greater installation time required. The basic skylight starts with $200 and will increase depending on ultraviolet protection, or any other coatings. It is recommended to add 100 dollars or more to obtain a vented model that is controlled via a remote and wall switches. Shades that are attached add an additional $200 up to $400 additional.

  • The cost of installing standard light fixture for the skylight is approximately $400 to $1300 depending the complexity and size of your roof. It’s the cost ranging from $600 up to $1,900 for the materials and installation. For instance an example, the 2 4 foot fixed skylight on a house is about 250 for the Skylight kit approximately 90 dollars to purchase the flashing kit for the flashing kit, and around $1200 for installation. The total is $1,540.
  • The added skylight boost the resale worth of your home up to $2,800 to sell a skylight. However, an agent in the area should be considered.
  • The average cost of the installation of solar tubes will cost just half of what it would cost. A simple solar tube kit is priced about $133 or $425 based on its size and specifications. LED light kits are able to be included to utilize the diffuser for traditional light in the evening. Vent kit or a daylight dimmer may be added to the mix as well.
  • If a professional installation is selected it will cost between $250 up to 300 on a 10 and 14 inch tube. The cost will increase for bigger versions because the rafters have be cut to allow for their size. The total is around 400$ to 1,000 to cover the installation and materials. For instance, putting in an ordinary 14-inch solar tube into an area will cost about $300 to install the kit while installation would be around $300 which is a amount that is $500.
  • For a financial advantage the addition of the solar tube could yield a 30 percent tax credit for energy. The reason for this is the small heat gain as well as the EnergyStar(r) ratings of certain models.
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Energy Efficiency with man holding a tablet computer

Energy Efficiency

The more efficient in energy use among the two can be that of the the solar tube due to the fact that light is absorbed and reflected through the house, in contrast to the direct sunlight from skylights. Skylights can let more than three times direct light that windows allow than normal regular windows.

They also result in energy loss due to the heat loss because of heat, particularly in the summer months and during temperatures that are hot. In order not to waste solar energy, it may be time to apply for a federal tax credit, You ask how to get federal solar Investment Tax Credit?

There are steps you can take to reduce the impact. Utilizing Low-E glass or coatings could assist. In addition your skylight must be placed to the north side on the roof If possible, so that it can receive the most indirect light in the daylight.

However, if you are looking at the unwanted heat gain only, using a solar tube could be an ideal choice. Solatube is a producer of solar-powered tubes (pictured above) that they refer to as “daylighting,” says that the products they sell are EnergyStar(r) accredited, in part because of their low sun’s heat increase.

UV Rays

Skylights are filtered to reduce UV radiation however, solar tubes are better at doing this as UV rays are blocked by the solar dome prior to entering the tube. It is vitally important since UV rays are harmful for the residents of a house and furniture.

The UV rays cause eye injuries, sunburns, ageing prematurely, as well as skin cancers. This makes it essential to shield them from as much light as far as is possible. They also can fade fabrics furniture, artwork, and even furniture. Solar tubes are extremely effective in blocking radiation harmful to health that experts recommend that they be placed in the southwest corner of your home in order to absorb most sunlight.

Water Condensation

Water Condensation

A common concern about Skylightsis the potential for condensation within the rooflight surface. Based on Velux which manufactures traditional skylights as well as solar tubes, the possibility of condensation that occurs on skylights can be caused by excessive moisture within the house and is able to be eliminated making use of an humidifier.

If you have the use of a solar tube it is possible for condensation to cause problems inside the tube during climates where there is a high level of humidity. The issue is prevented by covering the whole vs solar tube with the R-15 and R-19 insulation.

Appearance & Views

Certain people choose traditional skylights due to their design enhances the atmosphere of a space. Being able to see the sky during daytime or at night could be an effective way of extending the space to the outdoors.

Some people choose solar tubes due to the fact that they believe they are more attractive. A sun tube diffuser doesn’t obstruct the view and looks a lot like an ordinary more light fixture. The distinctions are merely the result of individual taste.

Climate considerations skylights

Solar tubes and skylights can use in both warmer and colder environments. In areas of snow accumulation, obviously, will receive none of the benefits throughout winter. A few allowances need to be considered for temperatures that are extreme.

Skylights made of acrylic are more prone to cracks and damage when exposed to extremely cold and high temperatures. Skylight glass is an ideal alternative for this type of climate. Zones that experience hurricanes ought to be thinking about Polycarbonate to be the material to construct an skylight or a sun tunnel dome in order to avoid damage.

Are tubular skylights worth it?

It’s efficient and affordable. Solar tubes provide to have free light within your home, with no skylights, and without altering the look of your space. Free lighting: 10-inch solar tubes offer around the similar light power that three 110-watt bulbs offer.

What is the difference between a skylight and a light tube?

Skylighting can be blocked with filtering light to block harmful radiation. Because ultraviolet radiation is damaging to eyes, skin as well as furniture in the home, it is vital that we add natural light to block the radiation.

What are the benefits of tubular skylights?

Tube skylights let natural light in by releasing sunlight from your roofing. The main benefit of a tubular skylights is that they can be modified to allow the design of the traditional skylight and to fit inside rooms where conventional skylights are not able to be installed.

What are the three types of skylights?

The three types of skylights are fixed, vented, and tubular. Fixed skylights are the most common type and are stationary, meaning they cannot be opened to allow for ventilation. Vented skylights, on the other hand, can be opened to allow for fresh air to flow into the room.

These skylights are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens where moisture and odors need to be vented out. Lastly, tubular skylights are small, tube-like structures that are used to bring natural light into smaller spaces like closets and hallways. These skylights use reflective materials to direct sunlight into the room, making them energy-efficient and cost-effective.

Why use tubular skylight?

Tubular skylights are a great option for those looking to bring natural light into their homes or buildings. They are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly. Tubular skylights are designed to capture sunlight from the roof and transport it through a reflective tube to a diffuser lens in the ceiling, which spreads the light evenly throughout the room.

The final decision between them is based on your financial budget as well as the style you prefer. Traditional skylights provide more atmosphere and bright light as well as tubular skylights let in plenty of natural light but are also more energy- efficient. Please let us know your preferences in the comment section below!

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