How Do You Determine Roof Placement for a Tubular Skylight?

Tubular SkylightWhen focusing on how to determine roof placement for a tubular skylight, it gives us a chance to showcase the benefits of this innovative feature. Natural light best enhances a home’s assets, provides optimal visibility of the living and working spaces and just makes you feel good.

Is a Tubular Skylight the Right Choice for Your Home?

Making the decision to open the roof and let the light in can give a person pause. The greatest advantage to tubular day-lighting devices (TDDs) is that they require no framing alteration with few limits on where you can place them. It is possible to open up an aesthetically appealing pathway to indirect light in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, walk-in closets, hallways and stairways.

Evaluating How to Determine Roof Placement for a Tubular Skylight

The structural advantage to TDDs is the flexible reflective tubing used to channel the light. A straight run from roof to ceiling is the easiest to install, but navigating any obstructions in an attic space is not difficult, either.

According to House Logic, here are the aspects to consider when determining the roof placement for your tubular skylight:

  • Location – Best results are achieved with a tube running no longer than 14-feet. The globe that establishes the exterior access point for direct light is optimally placed in a southwest roof positioned directly above the target living space. The intensity of light decreases slightly with any twists and turns.
  • Weather – Depending on where you live, humidity, storms, heavy rainfall, or snow may require precautions to protect the home’s weather seal. Moisture from extensively humid climates can be countered using small built-in fans. Insulating the tubing with R-15 or R-19 rated materials cuts down on moisture penetration. Properly placed flashing prevents ice dams. There are also heavy-duty polycarbonate domes that stand up to more severe weather conditions.
  • Roof Slope – Installing flashing manages pitch or roof slope ranging from 15 to 60 degrees.
  • Roofing Material – TDD kits are designed to accommodate asphalt or wood shingles or shake roofing. There are also kits available to adapt for metal or tile roofing.
  • Spacing – The standard 16-on-center rafter placement allows for a gap that will accommodate tubing of 10- or 14-inches. Special-order tubing is available for greater gaps that allow for lighting up to 600-square feet.

How Installing a Tubular Skylight Works Out

Positioning a TDD is all about finding a space between the joists. In the attic space, it may be necessary to open up access to the ceiling through any plywood flooring. It helps to visualize the interior placement as it compares to the available space between the roof and the ceiling to ensure the position is good. A simple plumb line will line up the holes to be cut out. The kits come with a template that fits the tubing.

The distance between the holes is measured allowing for a 3-inch overlap top and bottom to cut the tubing. A pair of snips makes quick work of it. Either foil tape or duct tape seals an extension, if needed. Plastic flashing is fitted beneath shingles with screws and roofing cement. A caulking gun makes this easy to apply.

The exterior dome is secured using screws and sealed with silicone for weather proofing. On the inside, a diffuser lens is clicked into place. When all is done, the TDD will channel direct sunlight through the dome reflecting off the interior tubing and gently falling on the living space producing warm, glowing illumination.

Advantages of Tubular Skylights

A single TDD reduces the need for the number of lighting fixtures normally required in a room. This cuts down on excess use of electricity and reduces the utility bill. They can be installed in a matter of hours making them time efficient as well.

Reducing the use of electric illumination also reduces the need for interior air conditioning, a further reduction in energy expense. There are numerous options for both interior and exterior placement in the effort to have them be fairly unnoticeable.

For only a fraction of the cost of traditional sky lighting, the dark areas in the home are made warm and inviting when indirect light from the sun is channeled through a tubular skylight. It is through continued innovation and creativity of the foregoing models of traditional skylights that the hassle-free tubular models evolved. You can see with a minimum of effort and planning, you now have the knowledge for how to determine roof placement for a tubular skylight.

Related Resource: Determine the Right Size Tubular Skylight For a Room