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A Guide to Choosing Between Skylights and Solar Tubes

Skylights and solar tubes do a great job of letting natural light in your home, but which one is better given your specific lighting needs? Our roofing and siding replacement experts give you a rundown on which option works for certain conditions.

The View

Both skylights and solar tubes do a great job of bringing natural light indoors. That said, how the light travels through them is very different. A skylight works pretty much like a regular window, so you can actually see the sky when looking at it. Solar tubes direct light through a series of reflective mirror panels, so the view is barely – if ever – visible. Pick a skylight if you want to be able to see what’s directly over your home. Otherwise, a solar tube is good enough.

UV Protection

Natural light is good, but ultraviolet rays can cause fading in your furniture and carpet (not to mention cause skin problems). A skylight will let more UV rays pass through than a solar tube would, but roofing and siding installation experts say that skylights can also shield from UV if installed with the right protective coating.


Humidity can be an issue when it comes to anything related to the roof. That being said, skylights do a great job at preventing moisture from getting trapped underneath the panels because they have fewer spots where water can accumulate (provided that the seal is watertight). Solar tubes are more prone to condensation inside its structure, but it can be addressed with help from a professional.


A roofing and siding contractor can also install skylights designed to provide both natural lighting and ventilation without too much problem. Solar tubes don’t have that option, but they are more affordable so you can probably spend more on dedicated roof ventilation. This boils down to personal preference, although many prefer the skylight since it’s easier to integrate both functions.

Get more natural lighting for your home with help from our team of experts. Contact us at (503) 334-0733 or fill out our contact form to get a free quote. A Cut Above Exteriors is the leading roofing and siding contractor in Portland, OR.

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Category: Home Remodeling