Solatube® skylight installation tips & safety advice

Solatube Installation tips

Solatube Skylight Tubular Daylight Devices Installation Advice and Tips

  • We suggest you allow at least 4 hours for the installation, particularly if this is your first skylight installation.
  • Ensure you have the appropriate size Solatube® Daylighting System; this will depend on the area to be lit and do also take into account the ceiling height — if it is higher than average you may need to consider a larger diameter system. Then measure the distance between the roof and the ceiling to determine the quantity of extension tubes required.
  • Try to avoid the tubes being routed through roof space areas with obstructions such as gas, water or drain pipes, air ducts, flues or furnaces, fixed storage tanks. If some obstructions are unavoidable, you can use the 0-90 adjustable angle extension sections to re-route the tube.
  • All reflective extension tube joints should overlap a minimum of 50mm and be fixed together using the aluminium tape provided. For very long or angled tube lengths, use the self-tapping screws provided to fasten the tubes together to give additional strength and rigidity.
  • You may choose to support any extension tubes with a wire or similar retainer fixed to the rafters if the extension tubes are particularly long or at a significant angle away from the vertical.
  • Ensure all protective film is removed before prolonged exposure to the sun as it may bond the film’s adhesive to the inside of the tube making it hard to remove.
  • All adhesives, seals and tapes should be applied to a dry surface.
  • Ensure your roof is in an appropriate condition to support the work necessary for a Solatube® Daylighting System installation without damaging its waterproofing properties.
  • Avoid roof dome locations shaded by trees, ridges and chimneys, or near water channels or valleys.
  • Ensure you understand and have adhered to any environmental legal requirements for your area, such as Bush Fire legislation.
  • Ensure you read all installation instructions including those for any accessories before starting installation to ensure the correct sequence of installation is followed.

Safety notices and advice

Solatube® Australia (or Premier Dealer) assumes no responsibility or obligation whatsoever for the failure of an architect, contractor, installer or building owner to comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, building codes, energy codes, fire and safety codes and requirements, and adequate safety precautions.

Installation of this product should be attempted only by individuals skilled in the use of the tools and equipment necessary for installation. The supplier accepts no responsibility for incorrectly installed or non-appropriate applications. Protect yourself and all persons and property during installation. If you have any doubt concerning your competence or expertise, consult a qualified expert before proceeding. Installation is at your own risk.

Installation may be dangerous owing to the location and nature of the work to be undertaken. The hazardous conditions include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • During installation, the Solatube® Daylighting Systems reflective tubes may focus sunlight potentially causing concentrated light and heat. Keep the protective film on the reflective tubing prior to installation and the tubing away from potentially flammable material.
  • Sheet metal edges may be sharp. Use protective gloves to avoid lacerations.
  • Installation requires climbing and working at dangerous heights, including on ladders, scaffolding, roofs and in attic spaces. Use extreme caution to minimise risk of accidental injury and property damage including, but not limited to, the points below:
  • Clear the area below your workspace of all people, animals and other items.
  • Avoid working on surfaces that are slippery or wet and use footwear with excellent traction.
  • Use only strong, well-supported and appropriate ladders.
  • Work only in calm, dry weather.
  • When in the roof space, ensure that your weight is supported at all times with structurally sound framing; plaster board material is not designed to carry a person’s weight.
  • Reduce the risk of fire, electric shock, and personal injury by following basic safety precautions when using electric tools; always wear safety goggles or other suitable eye protection and ensure the work area is clear of all electrical wires, gas pipes, water pipes and other obstacles.
  • When working in the roof space or other dusty areas, use of a mask or respirator is recommended to avoid lung irritation.
  • Roof spaces may be dark, confined, and subject to extreme temperatures.
  • Beware of sharp protruding objects. Do not attempt installation without having someone close by who can come to your aid if necessary.
  • Only suitably qualified persons should undertake any electrical wiring.

35 thoughts on “Skylight Installation Tips & Advice

  1. Peter Mucsi

    Hi Solatube Team,

    Could you please give me some advice? I tried to clean my skylight’s ceiling fixture (TierDrop) because some mosquitos stuck inside. I tried to turn it but didn’t move and I don’t want to destroy it. What is the best procedure to remove the plastic cover? Thanks, Peter

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Peter
      Remove the diffuser or decorative fixture by carefully twisting counterclockwise to separate it from the ceiling ring. To clean, wipe the diffuser or decorative fixture with a tissue or soft cloth. To reattach the diffuser or decorative fixture, simply align the tabs on the diffuser or decorative fixture to the ones on the ceiling ring and twist clockwise to secure.

  2. Peter

    Thanks, I nailed it!

  3. jason

    hello solatube.couple of questions for you please.i have an existing 410mm hole to fill in with a solatube .will one of yours cover it?.secondly do your diffusers throw the light differently e.g. optiveiw vs vision and what are differences between each if any.thankyou

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Jason,

      The larger model in our highest performing Brighten-Up series, the 290DS, requires a ceiling cut-out 375mm in diameter. In our mid-range Heavenly Intelligent series, the larger model HI400 requires a 415mm dia cut-out.

      When upgrading to a 290DS, patching-up that part of the ceiling with new plaster is ideal, however when this is not possible, Solatube installers often use a white dress ring to conceal the gap.

      As far as the different diffusers are concerned, the ones you mention are only applicable to the Brighten Up series, and yes, they do have slightly different characteristics, although much of the choice is purely aesthetic. Some diffusers fill the room with light better (OptiView, TierDrop) and some are better at softening light and reducing glare (TierDrop, JustFrost). JustFrost and Vusion are great all-round diffusers that look neat on the ceiling. The Brighten-Up series also has a number of effect lenses (these are standard inclusions, and sit above the diffuser in the tube) that can further enhance how natural light enters the interior.

  4. Ricardo

    Have two solatube 290DS installed on concrete tile roof, some 21Deg pitch. These in 4/12 and 1/14 (Sydney). The older one start to drip due to tree leave accumulated, I cleaned by lifting tiles around and ok for a while. I notice the flashing ending under the edge tiles do not have an edge protection bent so water penetrates easy. I have being using some foam filler around to stop leaves accumulating. Is there a different solution to this problem?. Other than that yhey are great for the job they do. Thanks

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Ric

      The Solatube tile flashings have ridges to allow water to run away and prevent water from going across the flashing edge. As these ridges are under the next laid tile, water should not be entering this area in a standard application. When in areas of heavy leaf build up regular cleaning is required to prevent a dam effect where water is not being allowed to flow naturally.

      If a representative of Solatube home is needed to attend site and meet with you they are happy to do this, and can be contacted on 9725 5433.

  5. Cynthia

    we have one of your solar tubes with light and fan – at least 10 years old . The inner tube measures approx 240 while the outer measure of the whole decorative fitting is approx 400. The vent fan has failed – would this be a generic replacement fan motor that my electrician can replace or is it OEM.
    Will need part number if oem.
    PS very impressed we got over 10 years without a problem.

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Cynthia,

      This can be sourced through the local Premier Dealer, if you type in your postcode on the locator page from this link will bring up their contact number to obtain.

  6. Paz

    to what length is the solatube brighten up series sun tunnel effective in providing adequate light? We are considering using a straight line tunnel from the roof, via a wardrobe on the 1st floor to the ground floor on a double storey home?

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Pourya,

      Solatube dealerships routinely install Brighten-Up to lower floors in multi-storey homes. Spectralight® Infinity tubing in the Brighten-Up series is unique for this type of application. All other tubular skylights on the market will general max out at about 2 meters, and most lower grade tubes typically at less than 1 meter.

      There are some variables to this, we can provide you with further technical information, but we rate the smaller 160DS model to still be very effective over 6 meter lengths, and the larger 290DS over 9 meter lengths. These lengths are based on the ability for the tubes to transfer at least 80% of captured light through to the ceiling location inside the home.

  7. Robyn Drake

    I have a solartube 290 DS skylight, I want to change the globe, I’ve taken off the outer cover by turning it anti clockwise, but there is another cover that has to be removed so I can change the globe, I unscrewed the 4 screws which hang in there, but I can’t seen to remove that inner cover, I don’t want to force it, can you tell me how to do it.

  8. John

    Hi guys,
    We had Solatubes installed 2 years ago and we have dead mozzies in the fitting.
    I’m aware of how to remove the diffuser, but there is a secondary clear section and need to access that to clean them out. How do I do it, the unit is secured with screws.
    Regards John

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi John

      We have suggested to other customers, to blow air through the small gap or piece of paper to dislodge. If this doesn’t work best to speak with the local Premier Dealer who installed to see what alternatives you have.

  9. Craig Alger

    Hey Solartube,
    you say, “Avoid roof dome locations shaded by trees”.


    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Craig, if less sunlight lands on the roof dome, less will be transfer to the interior of the home. Our general advice is to locate the dome on the roof where it will get as much sun as possible. In the Australia in the southern hemisphere, this is typically on the north side of the roof and away from shadow, be it from neighbouring buildings, the home’s own roof structure or vegetation. Unlike less advanced tubular daylighting systems, Solatube offers a greater amount of flexibility for roof dome locations in relation to where the light output is positioned on the ceiling inside the home. Solatube can transfer light over much greater distances without losing that light along the way, so the roof dome can be located quite a distance away to reach that sunny spot on the roof. We also have customers that prioritise the location of the roof dome to suit specific applications, for example they may choose to collect more of the eastern sun in the morning to illuminate an area above the breakfast bar in the kitchen.

  10. Craig Alger

    I understand more light will be transmitted from a sunny location. I also understand Solartube can transfer the light from greater distances. I have two in my winter home. However, are you saying, don’t waste you time and money in placing a Solartube in a shady location? In my particular situation, a shady location is the only option.

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Craig,

      We are confident that a Solatube daylighting system will harvest more light under the same circumstances than other similar products available on the market. Whether this is still worth pursuing is a value judgement. Our recommendation would be to start with your intended purpose for the skylight – how much light do you need/want in this space in the home. The answer may be different if you need natural light in a study/work space, then if it’s for a dark hallway that just needs a bit of extra light. Often you can compensate for a less than ideal roof location with a larger model, or by installing multiple units where one would have otherwise been perfectly adequate.

      Best idea would be to speak with the local Dealer to see what is possible for your home. If you type in your postcode in this link, will provide contact details to arrange a consult.

  11. Michael Gyler

    hi Solatube team, I am preparing to install a 160DS Solatube in our home office, that is on south side of home. We have sheet steel corrugated roof (19^ slope) & thus got the 250 corrugated flashing kit (beautifully made I will note). As far as lining up the roof penetration with the ceiling location (above my desk), can the centre of roof penetration be virtually exactly above the ceiling hole centre (so light tubing is dead plumb), or I see from side view drawing in install guide that the roof opening is slightly down-slope of the vertical plumb line. My goal is to place the Raybender dome as high on the roof as possible, as the roof flank being south side is facing due south, so want the dome as high as possible to acquire as much light available. Also the logic seems to have as little changes in light reflection as possible?

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Michael,

      You can aim to have the roof dome directly above your preferred location for the diffuser on the ceiling. Usually some sort of offset from vertical is required – beams, battens, rafters in the roof, or to run the tube to the sunniest possible spot on the roof – hence there is a level of adjustment on the two angles provided in the kit (0-30 deg), although you also need to account for the roof pitch in that range. Using the standard angles, there will be no impact on the amount of daylight transmitted.

  12. Brenda

    Hi I have a tube light installed by another supplier.,Stupid .
    I have one of yours also. The new one has a square glass and flexishaft , the light is only half what your one gives. My question can I change the flexishaft for rigid tubing , obviously done by your good selves


    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Brenda,
      Flexi shafts have very limited applications. Rigid tubes are much better, but even these can vary substantially between brands. In terms of changing the tubing in your skylight, this will depend on the diameters involved and how compatible they are with the rest of the skylight, namely the roof flashing, dome and the ceiling fixture. Have a chat with your local Solatube dealership, they’ll be able to give you the best advice on improving the performance of your skylight.

  13. Marilyn James

    Hello there,
    we have a flat, metal roof and wonder if we can have a simple skytube inserted without it resulting in leaks when it rains. I imagine metal roofs can be problematic regarding a perfect seal? I hope not!

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Marilyn,

      Metal roof installations are very frequent and Solatube’s roof components have been successfully used around Australia and internationally for over 30 years – from cyclonic areas in the top end, to colder southern states, both in commercial and residential settings. You are correct to point out that flatter roofs require additional attention over higher pitched roofs, but Solatube dealerships and their trained installers will be able to recommend the correct components and installations technique to suit your specific property, the actual pitch and the metal roof profile. As a base guide, corrugated and Trimdek roofs will have the most options for a correct fit with tailored flashing kits, however Klip-lok and other deck type profiles can also be catered for using over-flashing and dry-panning techniques. Our recommendation is to always use a trained installer to secure the correct product and matching installation warranty for your skylight.

  14. Brenda

    Is it safe to lay a layer of shade cloth inside the glass to prevent glare from the sun?

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Brenda

      It depends on the type of Solatube Skylights system you have, the best idea would be to speak with the local Dealer so they can identify the system you have and provide options/alernatives. If you type in your postcode to this link will give you the local dealer contact details.

  15. Adam Stitt

    Hi, I have completed a passive fire inspection and there are Solatube fire damper systems (407FD) installed in the ceilings.

    Do these require a mesh guard around them in the ceiling space? Could you please forward any installation specifications or test papers for this product. Thank you

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Adam

      Yes they do require a wire mesh around the tube section of the skylight, we will email you the test report.

  16. Rex Parkes

    Hello Solartube Team
    I have just removed the solartube diffuser Pt No 410320 for cleaning. An oil film is preventing me from cleaning thoroughly as the fixing rivets cannot be undone, there is no heads on them to get a firm hold on to turn them. The unit was installed 7 years ago. As we are repainting the ceilings we need to have the diffuser brought back to its new looking best. How much is a new diffuser if we cannot get it cleaned?

  17. Jumne Mclean

    I have several sky lights, great, but one of the covers flutters badly when its windy, any suggestions?

  18. Dennis Wilson

    I want to put a sky light in but where I want it I is directly under my solar panel. How far away can the roof dome be offset so as to have the diffuser where I want it.

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Dennis

      As far as you need to move it. We offer 90 deg bends and can take natural light further than any product available on the market. The length of tube will impact the cost by approximately $150 per Metre. If you would like to speak with the local Dealer to get some advice, please type in your postcode to this link and it will provide Dealer details.

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