Do you want to add natural sunlight to a room and help make it more comfortable for all? While most people focus on windows and doors to enhance natural lighting, your roof can also be a great source. How? Through the use of skylights and solar tubes. Which is right for your home? Here's what you need to know about some of the biggest factors.
1. Installation and Budget
In general, skylights are more extensive and cost more to install than solar tubes. This makes sense, as one is generally larger than the other. In addition, the skylight often requires structural changes in the roof framing and interior finish work. Tubes are compact and need little interior work.
2. Energy Efficiency
Both skylights and solar tubes bring in additional sunlight during daylight hours. Therefore, they can both be good for warming up a room and reducing the need for artificial lighting.
However, a skylight lets in direct sunlight while the solar tube diffuses it. The larger skylight is also more exposed to the elements, so it allows in more cold or more heat depending on the temperature. That may mean less energy efficiency in harsher weather.
3. Impact on the Decor
As far as interior decorating goes, the choice between skylight and solar tube can be an easy one. A skylight has a big visual impact on the look of the room and can provide a great view of the sky. Solar tubes act more like ceiling light fixtures, providing light but no view.
4. Overall Longevity
Which roof element lasts longer and requires less maintenance? The good news is that modern technology has improved the performance of both skylights and sky tubes so that both will last a long time.
You may need to choose the most appropriate type of glass or acrylic for your weather challenges, though. And solar tubes need proper insulation to avoid condensation. But with good quality installation, both will last many years.
5. Effect on Home Value
Finally, which boosts the value of your property? This can depend on the quality of the installation and whether the fixture solves any obvious problems (such as brightening a dark room). However, the larger visual impression of a skylight means it increases home value whereas a solar tube may not.
Where to Start
Which type of roof addition is right for your home? Start by meeting with a residential roofing contractor to learn more about your options. With their guidance and your vision, you'll soon have a new feature that will improve your house for many years to come.