Sun Tunnels vs Skylights

April 29, 2022

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.

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