Sun Tunnels vs Skylights

Sun Tunnels vs. Skylights | IBEX Roof

Is the middle of your home too dark? If you are looking to add some natural light to areas of your home, consider a sun tunnel or a skylight. Both will provide you with beautiful natural light anywhere in your home. But when it comes to sun tunnels vs skylights, which is better? 

What’s the difference? 

Both are roof penetrations that allow for light into your home. Skylights are larger and take longer to install; their installation involves two large holes in your roof and ceiling. Sun tunnels are a much smaller footprint on your home, but they also provide much less light. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are two different types of skylights and sun tunnels. 

Skylights are either fixed or vented. Fixed are sealed to your roof, while vented let in fresh air along with natural light. Sun tunnels are either flexible or rigid; this really only has to do with their installation and not their performance. Fixed sun tunnels are used if a straight shot from the ceiling to the roof is possible, while flexible is used if there is some obstruction in the way. 

How much do they cost?

When it comes to materials, both products cost about the same. It is only in labor that the true cost difference comes into play. Sun tunnels are easier to install, while skylights are more of a process, which means that a skylight can cost close to $1000 more than a sun tunnel just because of the time and labor involved. 

Which is easiest to install? 

As mentioned earlier, sun tunnels are easier to install. This is because you only need to cut two relatively small holes in your roof and fit a premade tube into those holes. From there, an acrylic dome is sealed onto your roof and a light diffuser to place on your ceiling. A skylight, however, needs two large holes in your ceiling and roof that will be unique to your home and will need to be refinished by a painter once the job is done. This is why a sun tunnel will take two professionals about 3 hours to complete, while skylights could take as long as a week. 

Which lets more light in?

Think of a skylight as a window built into your roof, while a sun tunnel is more of a reflective tube that catches the light. Simply put, a skylight is going to let in a lot more light. This is why skylights are the preferred choice if you really want to lighten up a dark area of your home. 

Choosing between sun tunnels vs skylights 

If you want natural light in your home, it is better to get a skylight. Sun tunnels are great when you want sunlight in sections of your home that would not allow for a skylight. However, they do not provide the type of light that a skylight can. While they are more expensive and take longer to install, skylights simply work a lot better for what they have to do than a sun tunnel.

IBEX Roof offers installation services and repairs for skylights and sun tunnels to improve natural lighting in homes around Vancouver and Portland. If you’re still not sure whether a skylight or sun tunnel is better for your needs, give us a call. Our skylight experts would be happy to point you in the right direction.

What Are Sun Tunnels and When Is It Time To Replace Them?

What Are Sun Tunnels and When Is It Time To Replace Them? | IBEX Roof

Have you ever wished that your house had more natural light shining through? Then sun tunnels are the perfect addition to your home. Let’s break down what they are, how they work, their installation cost, and when to replace them. 

What is a sun tunnel? 

Sun tunnels, or solar tubes, are metal tubes that are fitted to your home through holes cut into your ceiling and roof. They are meant to allow natural light into places that are situated in the middle of your home and are usually dark. There are two types of sun tunnels: flexible and rigid. Flexible sun tunnels are used when there are things between the roof and ceiling that do not allow for a straight shot. Rigid sun tunnels are used when there is nothing between the roof and ceiling and a straight shot is possible. Both permit the same amount of natural light into your home, only the installation is mildly different. 

How do sun tunnels work?

Sun Tunnels are basically polished metal tubes that work like mirrors to shoot sunlight from the roof into your home. It all starts with the acrylic dome, which captures and magnifies the light from the sun. It is then shot down the polished metal tube to the light diffuser in your ceiling. This light diffuser is not as strong as direct sunlight but will still give any room a pleasant natural light. 

How do you install a sun tunnel? 

Your local roofer should be able to install a sun tunnel in 2 to 3 hours with a two-person crew, regardless of whether it is rigid or flexible. The process starts with cutting a hole in your roof and ceiling. The metal tube will then be fitted so that no water or other debris can squeeze into your home. Once that is installed, your roofer will install the acrylic dome on the roof and the light diffuser on your ceiling. Depending on the quality of sun tunnel you get, this installation should only cost you between $500 to $1,000. 

When should I replace my sun tunnel? 

A well-installed sun tunnel could last as long as your roof does, as long as you properly care and maintain it. Your acrylic dome should last around ten years, while your light diffuser can go as long as twenty. Note that your light diffuser will have to be regularly cleaned, especially if it is located in the kitchen. The most common problem that people run into that could lead to a full replacement is water leakage. This tends to happen when your sun tunnel is improperly installed, or there is a crack in your acrylic dome. Caught early enough, and this should not be a major problem, so be sure to keep an eye out for water droplets or discoloration near your light diffuser.

If you’re unsure whether or not your sun tunnel needs repair or replacement, give IBEX Roof a call. We have been installing and repairing skylights and sun tunnels for customers for years. We can advise you on the most cost-effective way to keep your roof functioning while also looking good.

Why We Don’t Recommend Using Zinc Strips To Remove Moss

Why We Don’t Recommend Using Zinc Strips To Remove Moss | IBEX Roof

Unsurprisingly, it’s never ideal to have a moss garden (or any greenery!) growing on your roof. A common way to avoid or clean moss on roofs is by installing zinc strips. On paper, zinc strips sound like the perfect solution to keeping your roof moss-free. But while it may keep the moss off your roof, it could be letting water in. Today, we’ll dive into the benefits and disadvantages of zinc strips and some better alternatives.   

What is a zinc strip? 

Zinc strips are metal sheets that are installed onto your roof just below the ridgeline. Zinc is poisonous to algae, moss, lichen, fungus, and mold, making it ideal for keeping those pesky plants off your roof. It is installed just below the ridge of your roof. When rain falls, it will hit the zinc strip and carry tiny particles of zinc all the way down your roof, effectively killing anything plantlife it touches. They are sold in rolls of 50 feet and have to be installed at least every 15 feet for them to operate effectively. 

Why are zinc strips bad for your roof? 

Any harsh chemicals can quickly deteriorate your roof and greatly reduce its service life. The most significant problem with zinc strips is that they are only effective for 5 to 8 years. Afterward, you will have to rip them out and install brand new ones. Not only is this costly and time-consuming, but it can leave nasty nail holes in your roof. Furthermore, because they are installed under the shingles, they have a tendency to work nails out of their holes. When they eventually warp, they allow water to squeeze between shingle and deck, leading to even more water damage. This potential damage greatly outways the cost of getting your roof cleaned on a yearly basis. Zinc is also toxic to fish, making it extremely environmentally hazardous in coastal regions. 

What are the alternatives to zinc strips? 

There are plenty of services out there to keep your roof clean and free of plants. Our goal at IBEX Roof is to maintain the integrity of your roof so that it lasts as long as possible. We have a two-phase moss removal process that involves treating your roof with a solution that will not cause damage to your roof. We then wait about one to two months to let the moss die off naturally before coming back for a final cleaning phase. While this process takes some time, we promise it’s worth it for a beautiful and reliable roof. 

If your roof happens to be more susceptible to moss and algae growth, consider an annual cleaning plan. Our team at IBEX Roof can work with you to come up with a plan to ensure your roof looks great and lasts longer. Don’t wait until your roof becomes a “green roof” to consider a thorough roof cleaning. No matter what roofing issues you have, from maintenance to repairs to replacement, IBEX Roof is on top of it.

Have You Scheduled Your Spring Roof Inspection Yet?

Have You Scheduled Your Spring Roof Inspection Yet? | IBEX Roof

We’re a few weeks into spring, have you scheduled your spring roof inspection, yet? An annual roof inspection is a simple yet effective way to stay on top of your roof’s health. Early spring and late fall are two of the best times to get a roof inspection.

If you didn’t get a chance to inspect your roof before last winter, now is an opportune time to get your roof checked out. We don’t get too much snow or ice dams around here, but making sure your roof survived the cooler season and is ready for the warmer seasons is always ideal.

Don’t Put Off Your Roof Care!

In the spring cleaning mood? As part of general roofing maintenance, it’s always a good idea to clean your roof and gutter systems, as well. We know it’s not always easy to prioritize your roof when everything seems to be working, but even just setting aside an hour a week to tackle a small part of your roof care can extend the life of your roof.

In addition to scheduling your spring roof inspection, here are a few articles so that you can stay on top of your roof’s care without breaking a sweat.

IBEX Roof’s Spring Inspection Checklist

Is Roof Cleaning Really Necessary?

Common Gutter Cleaning Mistakes

The Right Time for a Gutter Replacement

The Best Way to Remove Mold from Your Roof

Need Help? Schedule Your Spring Roof Inspection with IBEX Roof

Homeowners can partially evaluate their own roof by going to the attic and checking for signs of moisture.  However, we never recommend our customers or any homeowners climb their own roof to inspect it. Roof damage is often undetectable from the ground or with the untrained eye, so it’s best to leave the roof inspecting to a roofing professional. We have the training and safety equipment needed to thoroughly evaluate your roof.

If you suspect something is not quite right with your roof, give our team a call today. We will thoroughly assess your view and provide you with the most cost-effective advice to ensure a safe and reliable roof.

The Dangers of Exposed Roof Nails on Your Roof

The Dangers of Exposed Roof Nails on Your Roof | IBEX Roof

Ideally, you should never see the nails on your roof. Properly installed nails should be flush to the shingle they are inserted into and covered by the shingle above them. The ensures that they are secure and unseen. Over time, however, even correctly installed nails can become exposed, usually from severe weather conditions. While it may not sound like much, these exposed roof nails can cause havoc to your roof and home. 

How do roof nails get exposed?

One of the most common ways that roof nails get exposed is by harsh weather. When shingles come loose because of high winds or heavy snow, they often leave their nails behind. While this should not be a problem for a well-installed roof, this can happen fairly often if a nail is overdriven into a shingle or placed in the wrong spot. Also, improperly nailed shingles can void a manufacturer’s warranty on a roof. Once you notice the exposed nails ruining your home, you may not be able to cash in your warranty.

Another way for nails to get exposed is when a contractor repairs a part of your roof by simply nailing shingles over the damaged sections instead of taking the time to fit them under the preexisting shingles. Under this new section of roof will be exposed nails that could be letting moisture in. 

Are exposed nails bad? 

The enemy of any roof is water. If water is allowed into your roof, rot and mold are bound to follow it. This can cause significant problems that will be costly to fix. Simply put, an unaddressed exposed nail will let water in eventually. They let water in because once they are exposed, they are liable to rust away, and once they do, you are left with a hole in your roof. This is why it is so important to spot exposed nails and deal with them before they can endanger your home. Even one exposed nail can lead to water damage. 

How do I repair my roof? 

If you suspect exposed nails or other nail-related issues with your roof, give IBEX Roof a call. We can send someone over to take a look at your roof. Once we have evaluated your roof, we can make the proper recommendations on how to best repair your roof. In most cases, a simple repair can be done, but there is the possibility that you will have to totally replace your roof if the damage is extensive enough. This is another reason why it is so important to identify exposed nails early and take care of them before they become dangerous.