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.

Uninstalling a Skylight from Your Roof

square hole in roof from uninstalling a skylight

It’s fairly common for homeowners to decide that they want to remove a skylight from their roof. Uninstalling a skylight may seem like the best decision for homeowners when they’re struggling with a leaking or damaged skylight. But is it really the best decision to uninstall a skylight rather than replace it?

Why Your Skylight is Leaking

Usually, when homeowners are deciding to remove a skylight, it’s because there’s an annoying problem: a troublesome leak. And no one likes dealing with a leaking roof! 

There are a couple of reasons why your skylight may be leaking. If your skylight was put in recently, it’s probably leaking because it was improperly installed. In that case, there’s no need to replace it or totally get rid of it. We can just fix the problem by reinstalling it the right way. If your skylight is pretty old, though, then it’s probably leaking because the seal is cracked and damaged.

Skylights are like roofs – they can last a pretty long time, but not forever. So it’s very normal for the seal of your skylight to deteriorate over time and eventually cause a leak. This can be easily fixed by replacing it with a brand new skylight! The perfect time to replace a skylight is actually during a roof replacement so that your warranties can be in sync, making it easier for you to keep track of.

Replacing vs Uninstalling a Skylight

The two options you have when dealing with a leaking skylight is to replace it or completely remove it. Budget-wise, it costs about the same to completely uninstall a skylight as it is to remove it.  So to decide which choice is the right one for you, consider why you have a skylight in the first place. 

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the biggest benefit to having a skylight is the extra light it lets in during cloudy and rainy seasons. Sometimes they are also used to allow more airflow into a room, which can help reduce moisture in certain rooms. Because a new skylight has a similar lifespan to a new roof, it might be worth replacing if you’re experiencing any type of benefit from it!

It’s possible that some homeowners move into a home that already has a skylight and decide they don’t want one at all. Other homeowners just decide they don’t want to deal with a leaking skylight ever again. If you feel like having a skylight is more trouble than it’s worth, then completely removing it from your roof may be the way to go.

Call IBEX Roof for Your Skylight Needs

Whether you’re installing or uninstalling a skylight, IBEX Roof is here to help you get it done. If you do decide to completely remove a skylight from your home, we are here to guide you through the process. 

There are two major components to consider when uninstalling a skylight: your roof and your ceiling. IBEX Roof can take care of all the exterior work that involves the roof. This includes replacing the plywood where your skylight once was and replacing the roof; it will be like your skylight was never there! When it comes to the ceiling part, or interior, of where your skylight was, you will need to call a drywall contractor to close up the “tunnel” between the ceiling and the roof. If you’re unsure of who to call, our friendly office staff can help connect you to the right people!

To learn more about any of our skylight services, give IBEX Roof a call at (360) 836-0535. We are happy to answer any and all of your skylight questions!

Should Skylights Be Replaced When Reroofing?

Should Skylights Be Replaced When Reroofing? | IBEX Roof

We’ve talked about when it’s time to replace a skylight, but should skylights be replaced when reroofing? Or is it okay to reuse an old skylight? The answer to this isn’t as simple as “yes” or “no”. In fact, the best way to tell if you can reuse your old skylight is by letting us inspect your skylights, first. Then, there are a few factors you may want to consider.

Reusing Vs Replacing Skylights

Simply put, if there is still life left in a skylight, then we’ll reuse it. We can tell whether or not a skylight is still usable; as long as the seal is in good condition, then it can probably be reused. While every situation is different, here are a few examples of when we may choose to reuse or replace your skylight.

Consider age

Skylights have a similar lifespan to roofs. So if you’re considering a roof replacement and your skylight was also installed on your last reroof, it’s probably a good time for a replacement. However, if your skylight is newer than your roof, it’s possible there’s still some life left and your skylight can be reused.

Improper installation

It doesn’t happen often, but we’ve seen a roof or two that was improperly installed by another contractor and the best way for us to fix it is to do a complete reroof. It’s also possible for skylights to be improperly installed. If that happens, we can re-do the installation while still reusing the existing skylight.

Broken seal or foggy glass

If your skylight is damaged in any way, it’s time for a replacement. The most obvious sign is by looking at the seal. If the seal of your skylight looks cracked or dried out, you’ll definitely need a replacement. Another sign is if there is fog or condensation between the glass panes.

Call IBEX Roof Today

We want our customers to get the most value out of their roof, gutters, and skylights. At IBEX Roof, we never upcharge or upsell materials or services to our customers and we are here to service your roof for the long haul. To ensure this, we follow a thorough evaluation process so that every aspect of your roof is covered. Then, we’ll let you know what should be maintained, repaired, or replaced.

To learn more about our services, whether it’s for your skylight, gutters, or another type of roofing issue, give our office a call at (360) 836-0535.

What to Expect from a Skylight Installation

What to Expect When Installing Skylights | IBEX Roof

Skylight technology has come a long way and they are a great way to bring extra natural light into your home. A well-placed skylight can brighten up a dark hallway, transform an old attic into a new room for hanging out, and even add value to your home. If your roof doesn’t already have a skylight, the idea of a new skylight installation can be a bit daunting. After all, adding a skylight is adding a new hole into your roof! So what can you expect when considering a new skylight for your home?

What to Expect

A properly installed skylight can last up to 20 years. The two main components of skylights are the lid and the flashing. If you are getting a new roof installed, we may be able to reuse your old skylight but will always replace the flashing. We would recommend replacing your skylight if it’s no longer in good condition. 

Installing a skylight involves both interior and exterior work. You would need to call a drywall contractor to create the interior tunnel between your ceiling and your new skylight. Once the interior framing is in, IBEX Roof will handle all the exterior work. This includes cutting back your roof, framing the opening, attaching your skylight, and installing the flashing. All of this can usually be done in less than a day.

Skylight Replacements

You can tell how much life is left in a skylight by looking at the seal around it. As long as the seal is in good condition, your skylight can be reused. But if it’s damaged, dried out, or cracked, you’ll need to consider replacing it. A broken seal will reduce the energy efficiency of your skylight and may also allow moisture to collect around your skylight. This will eventually turn into a leak around your skylight and could potentially lead to further roof damage. Fog between the panes of glass in your skylight is also a sign to consider a replacement.

Removing a Skylight

Sometimes, homeowners just want a change and decide they no longer want or need a skylight. IBEX Roof can help with that, too! It’s as simple as us removing the skylight and replacing the opening with plywood; it would be as if it were never there. A drywall contractor would then be able to close up the tunnel between your ceiling and the new plywood on your roof.

It’s our mission at IBEX Roof to offer the best customer service within the roofing business. From using only quality materials to following high roofing standards, we only deliver the best and are here to service your roof for the long-term! To learn more about skylight installation or our other roofing services, give our office a call today at (360) 836-0535.

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