Skylight or Suntube Which Is Right for You?



There is no debate that when it comes to lighting your home, natural sunlight is the king. It is cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and can even help to improve your mood. In fact, before the advent of electricity, houses were built to increase the flow of sunlight. Everything from the placement of windows to the inclusion of a sun room was done in order to maximize light.

Today, the two most popular ways of introducing more sunlight into your home are Solar Tubes and Skylights. Of the two, Skylights are more conventional. Essentially, they are windows built into your roof, allowing light to filter in.

Solar tubes (also called suntubes) are a little different. Made from sheet metal, the tubes create small, sealed tunnels in your roof, whose reflective interior draws the sunlight from air and into your home, through a little opening in your ceiling covered by a diffuser to create an even, gentle glow.

The difference might seem small in theory, but in practice they are quite different.


As you might expect, drilling a hole through your roof is hardly a cheap task. A single light tube can cost up to $1,000 if you choose to have it professionally installed, although there are kits for you DIYers from anywhere between $200 and $400.

The skylight, which is a more labor-intensive project, typically costs at least twice what a light tube would, and is not recommended to install one without the help of a professional company.


Skylights have a wide range of styles and aesthetics to choose from, no small boon considering that your roof makes up 40% of your home’s exterior. They can be simple utilitarian windows or stunningly beautiful accent pieces to your home?s interior. They can be a series of small windows, or a broad opening that allows you to enjoy the skyscape. You even have the option of installing skylights that can open, inviting in a cool breeze on a hot day.

Solar tubes have fewer options. They typically range from eight to 20 inches in diameter, and thanks to the diffuser, offer little in terms of scenic beauty. Thanks to their design, solar tubes do have one benefit over skylights: better light. Thanks to their reflective interior and domed light catcher, they are able to channel more light into your home, even with their smaller size.


Both skylights and solar tubes can be fitted to almost any roof, regardless of how pitched, or what type of roofing you have (shingles, concrete, even metal roofing). There are options available for all climates as well, even if you live in a hurricane zone.

Whichever you choose, increasing the natural light in your house is good choice for your budget and the environment.