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Tubular Skylights: Installation Basics


   
Tubular skylights bring natural light into rooms without major structural changes and minimal expense. The top and bottom of a tubular skylight do not need to be line up vertically. The angles on the reflector tube allow ample room for movement.

   

The shortage of natural light in hallways, foyers, bathrooms and kitchens is a problem common to many homes. With advances in tubular skylight technology, a dark hallway can be brightened with minimal cost and ultimate efficiency. Tubular skylights work on a reflective system that is located within the skylight dome. The dome redirects sunlight through reflective tubing, providing ambient light in an otherwise dark space. A 10-inch diameter skylight can light a space up to 100 square feet, and provide three times the amount of light provided by a 40-watt incandescent bulb

Most tubular skylight companies provide options like light kits that house an incandescent or fluorescent bulb within the unit. The bulb can be used during the day, alleviating the need for an additional fixture for evening use. For bathrooms and kitchens, units with exhaust fans are available.

Before you Begin
Once you have decided on an interior location for your skylight, it’s a good idea to take a look into the crawl space for air-ducts, clusters of wiring, or joist layouts that can make installation difficult. From inside the crawlspace you will also be able to determine if there are any obstructions on the roof itself such as hips, ridges, vents and dormers.


Step-by-Step    
   
  Step 1
Mark the location where you want the skylight to be located on the ceiling, making certain the area above is free of electrical wires, ductwork or other obstructions. Use a stud finder or hammer to locate an area between ceiling joists. Using either a screwdriver or drill with a 3/8th-inch bit, make a hole to mark the center of the skylight’s opening.
     


   
  Step 2
In the attic or crawlspace, remove any insulation and locate the hole from Step 1. Using the hole as a reference, locate the area on the roof sheathing directly above the hole in the interior ceiling. Drill a second hole through the roof sheathing to mark the center of the exterior skylight opening.
     


   
  Step 3
Tubular skylight kits come with a hole-cutting template. Using the template provided and a piece of chalk, trace the diameter of the outer hole. Use a jigsaw or reciprocating saw to cut through the shingles and roof sheathing. Begin the cut in the hole in the center of the marked circle.
     

   
  Step 4
Lift the shingles above and to the sides of the cut, leaving the lowest shingles flat on the roof. Apply roof caulking to the underside of the supplied roof flashing. Place the flashing with the shaft facing skyward under the lifted shingles, making sure the roof flashing lays flat against the roof surface. Apply a bead of roof caulking between the underside of the shingles and the top of the flashing. Make sure the only portion of flashing is showing is the lower section that shingles over the roofing.

Insert the first section of reflective tube into the roof flashing and install the transparent dome cover following the manufacturer’s instructions.

     

   
  Step 5
In the crawlspace or attic, use the hole-cutting template to mark the area to be cutout for the interior opening. Use a drywall saw or jigsaw to make the cut. From the interior of the home, install the supplied ceiling trim ring with drywall screws following the manufacturer’s instructions.
     

   
  Step 6
Install the reflective tube to connect the upper and lower openings. Each manufacturer provides different lengths of reflective tubing, and provides instructions for trimming them to the proper length. If the tube is over four feet long you made need a helper. Join and seal the tubing sections with reflective tape.
     

   
  Step 7
Install the ceiling diffuser with clips or screw following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
     

Credit: Renovate Your World