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Old 07-10-2012, 01:15 PM   #1
A1an
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Default Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

We need to put a new roof on our house. Currently we have two solar tubes to provide natural light to an interior bathroom and bedroom/office that have no windows. Both have leaked at some point. I am going to eliminate the tube to the bathroom but we still need one in that bedroom/office to eliminate the dungeon feeling since it has no windows.

Does anyone have any experience with specific manufacturers that make a quality solar tube? Looking for quality units that resist leaking in the long term. Prior owners installed these back in the mid to late 90s and there is evidence of really old leaks. Guessing they probably didn't go more than 10 years before they first started leaking. I want to avoid that if possible.
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

We sell these at work and have had good luck with 'em.
http://www.veluxusa.com/consumer/pro...nel_skylights/
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

We have a Solatube brand and have had zero problems with it. Has been in place for five years.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:39 PM   #4
theoldwizard1
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

Dad had a Solatube in his trailer in FL.. Worked good !
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:10 PM   #5
55bigblockcid
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

I have two 10 inch in my living room for 12 years now with no problems at all.I wish I would have put more in when I did the 1200 ft add on.Would definitely recommend .
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

Have had two Solatubes for 9 or so years, very happy. Both are in bathrooms, both have exhaust fans built in and they are quiet.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

I just installed one in our bathroom.....we lost the window due to our 2-story addition...

I got mine from a company in AZ....Skylight Guys

They carry 2 brands...Velux and Natural Light...I got the natural light....in talking to the guy his comment was "We never have to go back to fix anything with the Natural Light brands."

Based on the size of the flashing....the only way that bitch is going to leak is if the install is done wrong.

We are extreemly happy with it....my wife's comment "Why didn't we do this 10 years ago.

I'm getting ready to order another light tube from them as well as a Velux skylight. I'm not one to push a paticular company...but this is one of those mom and pop stores that has been around for awhile and take the time to talk to you....and their prices are about as good as you can get.

FYI...I paid $200 for the 10" tube.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

Yes, we have the Solatube brand for about 3-1/2 years now; one large one with the light kit in the kitchen, over where we installed the island when we remodeled the kitchen 3 years ago, and a small one in an interior hallway. We bought ours during a 'energy rebate' time, so that helped a little. We went with the local dealer, and the installer did a great job!! Yes, I could have done it myself, but at 1/4 the speed and 3X the aggro. Make that 4X the aggro.

Yes, love them. No regrets about putting them in. None.

6 months ago we had our roof done; full tear-off of 2 layers and haven't seen any problems; the crew & leader expressed no issues dealing with the tubes; they have been around them before, so it wasn't a surprise.

If you're going to contract the roof, make sure your contractor has experience with the brand you have. If I was in your shoes, I'd get them both out there at the same day to do their work. Some things I like doing myself, but roofing and Solatubes are special enough, even within their industry, I'd find a real pro.

My $.02 worth.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

Thanks for the info so far.

We are in the process of getting quotes on the roof and the solar tube will certainly be one of the topics we discuss with them.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

we have a ton of the SOLATUBE brand ones on the buildings at work.
I have had zero trouble with them

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Old 07-10-2012, 09:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

It is not so much a brand name problem as it is a install workmanship problem.

As long as there is a way to take care of the humidity problem in a bathroom I have not seen much difference between brands.
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:16 PM   #12
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

I put one in our last house which is a rental now. Picked it up at Lowes. Leaked on the 3 rd year. I installed it per the instructions when I redid the roof. The supplied caulk used to seal the aluminum ring around the top lens shrunk and cracked. The space between the lens and the ring catches water and directs it into the tunnel. A better designed unit should have been sourced.
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:17 AM   #13
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeGyver View Post
I put one in our last house which is a rental now. Picked it up at Lowes. Leaked on the 3 rd year. I installed it per the instructions when I redid the roof. The supplied caulk used to seal the aluminum ring around the top lens shrunk and cracked. The space between the lens and the ring catches water and directs it into the tunnel. A better designed unit should have been sourced.
I like the design our our sun tube....here is a pic of the flashing....assuming you put the tar paper down right....it will not leak....and no way for water to get into the actual tube.



Here is a before and after pic.....



After.....in order to 'try' to make it an accurate reference, I had the flash off....you can tell how the camera tried to adjust the exposure by the amount of light coming through the window....



Damned thing works so good that on a clear night with the moon up, it acts like a night light...
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:46 AM   #14
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

^ That looks very nice compared to the garbage we have on the roof. Going to show this to my wife later tonight. The more I think about it the more I think I may keep a tube in that bathroom. It is a spare/guest bathroom that never really gets used, but as I sat in there this morning for my daily meeting with American Standard I thought about how dark/depressing it would be without that natural light.

Last edited by A1an; 07-11-2012 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:47 AM   #15
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

Our company and our product are mentioned in the thread, (skylightguys.com) so I thought I would chime in....There are about 12 manufacturers out there, some are good and others aren't so stick with the well known brands. The Natural Light unit is built like a tank, comes with an all Florida approved impact dome and has a 25 year warranty with solid aluminum construction and no plastic components. The seamless aluminum flashing offers a nice wide flashing and they are very easy to install and forgiving as it allows some room for "instalaltion errors". Here is a link to the installation instructions if you want to read about what is involved:
http://skylightguys.com/media/produc...structions.pdf
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:47 AM   #16
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

Figured I would finally update. After a lot of research we ended up with a couple tubes from US Sunlight. They have a much lower profile to them and the flashing is HUGE.

It took the guys 7 days to finish the roof due to weather issues. We went with the GAF lifetime three dimensional shingles in black. Glad to finally have it done and the house looks so much better now (although the landscaping is terrible...that is next). When I get a moment later today I'll try to snap some photos of the units installed on the roof. Was trying to beat the rain when I snapped this one yesterday:

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Old 08-14-2012, 09:25 AM   #17
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

im really wanting some of these for my house.....
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:41 PM   #18
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Default Re: Anyone have experience with solar tubes?

Very pleased with my Velux sun tunnel I installed a few years ago.
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