Category: Doors & Windows


How To: Install a Deadbolt

The easiest and cheapest way to improve the security of your home is to install a deadbolt. With the right tools, even the average homeowner can get the job done with relative ease. Here's how.

How to Install a Deadbolt

Photo: shutterstock.com

Automated security systems are nice to have, but the easiest and least expensive way to improve the security of home is to install a deadbolt lock. Even a high-quality lockset isn’t enough to keep out an experienced burglar; you’re a lot better off with both a lockset and a deadbolt. Since you really do get what you pay for, it’s best not to scrimp here. You’ll save on installation, because it’s so easy to install a deadbolt, you can do the job yourself within a couple hours. Here’s how.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS:
- Deadbolt
- Drill/driver
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Tape measure
- Speed square
- 1″ chisel
- Marking pencil
- 2-1/8″ hole saw
- 1″ spade bit

STEP 1
Determine the ideal location for the deadbolt. Typically, a deadbolt lock appears 6″ or 12″ inches above the key lock (roughly 44″ from the bottom of the door). With help from your tape measure, pick your spot and mark it on the side of the door (the part through which the bolt is going to extend). Now break out your speed square and pencil a straight line at the mark point; it should extend all the way across the door’s side. Next, again use the speed square, this time to help you continue that line onto the front and back sides of the door. You should end up with a single line that runs continuously, at uniform height, around the door.

How to Install a Deadbolt - Drilling Door

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
On each side of the door, mark the point 2-3/8″ or 2-3/4″ from the edge (the measurement depends on the length of your latch bolt; for specifics here, refer to the template provided by the manufacturer of your chosen lock). Meanwhile, on the edge of the door, mark the midpoint. The three marks you’ve made represent where you’re going to drill. First up is the hole for the lock cylinder. Having attached the 2-1/8″ hole saw to your drill, address the mark on the front of door. Rather than drill all the way through, go about an inch deep, then move over and drill through the other side. The result should be a clean, circular hole through which you can easily see the other side. Finish with the 1″ spade bit; drill through the marked point on the side of the door, continuing until this hole meets the other.

STEP 3
Choose the faceplate from among the lock parts supplied with your purchase. Match the hole in the faceplate with the hole you drilled on the door’s edge. While holding the plate in position, trace around it with your pencil, marking its silhouette. Having done so, use a 1″ chisel to create a 1/8″-deep mortise within the tracing. The faceplate and bolt are likely attached, so you must install both simultaneously. After confirming which is right side-up for the bolt, slide the bolt through the latch hole, bringing the faceplate flush with the edge of the door (assuming you’ve mortised correctly). Secure the plate with the mounting screws provided before moving onto the key cylinder. When sliding the cylinder into place through the larger hole on the face of the door, be sure to fit the tailpiece of the cylinder through the corresponding holes on the bolt. Once it’s correctly positioned, screw the cylinder onto the door. Then repeat with the other half of the cylinder: Slide it into the door, join it to the bolt, then screw it in.

STEP 4
The hard part is over. After locking and unlocking the mechanism a few times to test its functionality, activate the bolt and shut the door as far as it will go. On the doorjamb, mark the point where the bolt hits. Here, using the 1″ spade bit, drill a hole to accept the bolt. Now look over to the unused lock parts you have left; the strike plate should be among the last remaining. Fit it over the hole, then trace around it with your pencil. As you did for the faceplate in step 3, proceed to chisel out a 1/8″-deep mortise. Once finished, set the strike plate into the mortise, making it flush with the jamb, then secure it in place with screws.

Test the door to be certain that it’s working properly. Assuming it is, you can now rest easier, knowing the average burglar would have a much, much harder time gaining entry to your most valuable investment—your home.


Bob Vila Radio: Fast Fixes for Sticky Double-Hung Windows

Do you work up a sweat wrestling with sticking windows? These time-tested tricks can help you get those slashes sliding freely up and down again.

Sure, you love your old wooden double-hung windows. But sometimes—after raising and lowering them—do you feel like you need a visit to the chiropractor? Here are some tips for freeing up those sticking windows.

Sticking Windows

Photo: shutterstock.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON STICKING WINDOWS, or read text below:

First, if the windows have been painted shut, use a hammer and stiff putty knife (with a blade at least 4″ wide) to work your way between the window sash and the moldings. Holding the putty knife parallel with the glass, gently tap the corner of the blade between the molding and the sash. Once you have the blade partly in, wiggle it around to loosen the paint. Repeat the process around any areas of the sash where it appears there could be binding.

You can also try using a hammer to drive a block of wood into the window tracks, as near to the sash as you can. The wood should be about 1/8″ wider than the tracks. The idea is to spread the tracks just enough to ease the binding. Finally, rub a little candle wax into the tracks. That’ll help keep those sashes sliding!

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


What Would Bob Do? Repairing a Door That Sticks

Wood doors can be sticky, but the repair doesn't need to be. If your doors have been a little temperamental lately, try one of these fixes to get them opening freely again.

Photo: shutterstock.com

In my house, several of our wood doors keep sticking. I’ve tried candle wax and have made sure all the screws in the door frame are tight, but the doors are still sticking. Any advice on how to fix a sticking door would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

How to Fix a Sticking Door - Panel

Photo: shutterstock.com

In a situation like this, sometimes the door itself is to blame. Over time, joints in a wood door relax, causing the construction to sag and stick against the jamb. A more common cause is a hinge or strike plate that has become loose. But you’ve mentioned that the screws are tight, presumably in both the door and the jamb. So, although failing hardware is typically the first thing to check when a door is sticking, that doesn’t seem to be the cause of your predicament.

I’d speculate that humidity is the issue. Doors usually stick in summer, when relative humidity is high. The moisture expands the wood, making your doors too tight in their frames. In the winter, humidity levels are usually lower, because cooler air cannot hold as much moisture. If you have better luck with these doors in the cooler months, it’s simply because environmental factors are not causing them to swell.

What you should do is buy a hygrometer and take a reading of the relative humidity indoors. Common causes of high humidity include wet basements and improper use of the bathroom or kitchen vents when bathing or cooking, respectively. If you happen to have a lot of houseplants, that too might add to the humidity, particularly in combination with other factors. So check the hygrometer reading, and if the reading comes in at over 70 percent, there’s your explanation. Get the humidity down, and you’re likely to find that those annoying doors finally unstick on their own.

If getting the humidity down isn’t in the cards, then you can always trim down the door panel. Concentrate on the problem edge, the one that rubs against the jamb; you can usually identify it by the worn finish. Ultimately, the space left between the door and jamb should be about 1/8 inch wide, or roughly the thickness of a nickel. Follow these steps:

• As a test, open and close the door with the aim of identifying the precise area where the problem’s occurring. Use a sharp pencil or carpenter’s compass to scribe the panel where it rubs against the side or top of the jamb. Having drawn a line on the door, proceed to take it off the hinges and carry it somewhere you feel comfortable kicking up a little sawdust.

• Next, use a hand plane, power planer, or belt sander to shave off the excess material. Remove only the minimum required for the door to close. (When the panel shrinks in winter, you don’t want there to be a big gap between the door and jamb.) Now put the door back into place and check the fit. A certain amount of trial and error is almost inevitable with this task, even for people who’ve done it before. You may need to remove the door again in order to sand off a little more. Keep at it until you’re satisfied.

• Once the door fits well and you’ve managed to achieve an approximately 1/8-inch reveal, you’re ready to refinish the part of the door that you’ve planed. You can either remove the door or finish it in place, but time is of the essence. The door wants to swell up again; refinishing limits its capacity to do so.

If the humidity is under control and you’ve already tried trimming your doors, then it’s possible you’re seeing a symptom of foundation settlement. Unfortunately, foundation problems are not DIY-friendly repairs. Consult with a foundation repair specialist. Fair warning: Foundation repair work is rarely cheap, but it’s in your best interest to understand precisely what problems, besides sticking doors, your foundation may bring about in the future.


Bob Vila Radio: Screen Repair Made Simple

Holes in window or door screens are not only unsightly, but they also invite flying insects into your home. Fortunately, it's a simple fix, whether your screens are metal or fiberglass. Read on to learn how it's done.

Ever notice how pesky bugs manage to find their way through even the tiniest holes in your screens?

How to Fix a Window Screen

Photo: shutterstock.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON SCREEN REPAIR or read the text below:

No need to fret. Repairing the little holes is easy, especially if you catch them before they grow into big holes.

For metal screens, make a patch (using the same screening material) that’s about an inch larger than the hole. Next, unravel about a half inch of fringe around the edge of the patch and bend it at a right angle. Place the patch on the hole, push through the fringe wires, then bend them back to secure the patch.

For fiberglass screens, push the fibers of the screen back toward the middle of the hole, then apply a bit of clear nail polish to bond the fibers together.

For larger holes, head to the hardware store and pick up a self-adhesive patch that’s a snap to apply.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


The Economical, Environmental, and Emotional Benefits of Tubular Skylights

Rooms filled with natural daylight offer many benefits to your health, mood, and pocketbook. Learn how today's tubular skylights are bringing light to almost every room of the house.

Solatube Daylighting Skylights

Photo: Solatube International

There’s no substitute for natural light. In comparison with the artificial variety, it’s better for your health, the environment, and your electric bill. So figuring out how to get more daylight into your home is a worthwhile endeavor, to say the least. For rooms with an exterior wall, the solution is simple—add a window. For interior spaces where windows aren’t an option, tubular skylights are a smart alternative.

Unlike traditional skylights, which require a direct line of sight from the roof to the light-deprived room below, tubular skylights can deliver natural daylight easily to virtually any area of the house. Factor in the economical, environmental, and emotional benefits they offer, and it’s not hard to see why tubular skylights have become a popular choice for a multitude of today’s residential and commercial daylighting applications.

What are tubular skylights?
Tubular skylights, also known as “solar tubes,” “sun pipes,” “light tunnels,” and “tubular daylighting devices,” typically use a rooftop dome to capture the sun’s rays and then transfer the light indoors through a highly reflective tube. The modular design allows them to be customized to whatever length may be required—up to as much as 40 feet in some cases. Because the tube itself is compact and available in adjustable and flexible designs, it can be configured easily to avoid attic obstructions for fast installation. The result is a more versatile skylight that can carry natural light into interior spaces where traditional skylights and windows can’t reach, spaces like closets, bathrooms, and hallways, to name just a few.

Solatube Daylightig Diagram

Photo: Solatube International

Economic Benefits
One obvious cost-saving benefit of installing a tubular skylight is that daylight is free. Once the device is installed, your dependence on electricity is reduced, and so is your utility bill. Tubular daylighting devices, like those from Solatube International, Inc., are also more affordable and less costly to install than traditional skylights. In most cases, they can be installed in a matter of hours, requiring no construction, drywall, or repainting. Solatube Daylighting Devices are designed with a patented light-capturing dome that redirects low-angle sunlight and rejects overpowering midday summer sun. They also minimize heat gain and loss for added savings on heating and cooling.

Environmental Benefits
Skylights harness one of our most coveted natural and sustainable resources—light from the sun. So putting them to work at home not only lessens reliance on electricity, but also reduces energy consumption from power plants. When we consume less, we conserve more natural resources and help limit greenhouse-damaging gas emissions—a win for us and the planet. For added earth-friendly benefits, Solatube’s manufacturing plant recycles its excess production materials, making their products both clean and green.

Solatube Daylighting System

Photo: Solatube International

Emotional Benefits
It’s no secret that natural light, or the lack thereof, affects us on a physiological level. Consider the existence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a state of depression that can occur when one doesn’t get enough exposure to the sun. Sunlight plays an important role as a mood elevator by triggering the production of serotonin. It is also a key contributor of heart-protecting vitamin D. And it helps regulate circadian rhythms, which contributes to healthier sleep cycles. Sunlight also heightens energy levels and concentration, making you more productive and naturally alert. In short, daylight is a staple of our existence that we rely on for emotional balance.

In addition to the many economical, environmental, and emotional benefits of tubular skylights, Solatube has created an innovative hybrid that combines daylighting with LEDs. When there’s plenty of sunlight, the Smart LED System delivers natural light. At night, energy-efficient LEDs automatically turn on. The result is a seamless blending of natural and LED light throughout the day and night so that you’re never kept in the dark.

 

This article is sponsored on behalf of Solatube International, Inc. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com


What Would Bob Do? Installing a Screen Door

A screen door is a great thing to have. It lets in cooling breezes in the summer and protects your front door from harsh weather in the winter. If you're in the market for a new screen door, or just want to replace the one you have, here are some tips on purchasing the right door for your house.

How to Install a Screen Door

Photo: smithandvansant.com

I’m going to install a new screen door. Any advice or time-saving suggestions on how to go about it?

It’s relatively easy to install a screen door, but to avoid hassles it’s imperative that you choose the right kit (these are commonly sold at brick-and-mortar home centers as well as through online suppliers). But of all the many screen door kits on the market, how do you know which one is right for your home?

For one thing, the screen door must be the right size. If you are putting in a screen door where there wasn’t one before, you must start by determining the dimensions of the door opening. Measure the width and height of the space within the door trim; do so at a few different points along each side (chances are things are not perfectly level or plumb). Now select the standard door size that corresponds most closely to the smallest width and height measurements that you took. If there’s only a small deviation between the opening and the nearest standard door size, filler strips can help you achieve a snug fit. If, however, the door opening is 3/8 inch wider than the nearest standard width, or if it’s more than 7/8 inch taller than the standard height, you are going to need a custom door.

How to Install a Screen Door - Detail Door

Photo: maplestone.biz

If, on the other hand, you are installing a new screen door to take the place of an older one, there’s much less measuring to do. Confirm the dimensions of the door you’re replacing so that you know what size door you need to buy. Also, note the locations of the hinges on the existing door. If the latch is on the right side and the hinges are on the left (when you’re looking at the door from the outside), that means you have a right-hand door, also called a right-swinging door. The opposite, of course, is a left-hand door. Your new screen door should match not only the size, but also the door-swing direction of the panel you are replacing.

I highly recommend opting for a screen door that comes preassembled. Installing these novice-friendly designs requires only basic tools and a minimal investment of time. The popular manufacturer Andersen, for example, estimates it would take the average do-it-yourselfer in the ballpark of one hour to install its “rapid-install” series 3000 preassembled models.

Here’s another tip to help you save time: Choose what’s known as a self-storing door. These designs greatly simplify the twice-a-year task of exchanging the screen for a glass panel and vice versa. In the manner of a triple-track storm window, the door integrates both screen and glass panels; you can easily slide one or the other into use as the season requires.


Tubular Skylights: Natural Daylight Where You Least Expect It

While windows provide natural light to many of the rooms in your house, there are still others shuttered in darkness. With the advent of tubular skylight technology, you can now easily add daylighting to just about any area of your home.

solatube light-diffusers-natural-lighting

Photo: Solatube International

Every room benefits from natural daylight.  The living room becomes more inviting and comfortable, the kitchen more suitable for cooking, dining and entertaining, the family room infinitely more enjoyable, and the bedroom and bath—light-filled sanctuaries and retreats.  But what about the interior rooms and areas of your home that don’t have the benefit of even a single window: hallways, laundry rooms, stairwells, bathrooms and closets?  The fact is, up until recently there was very little you could do short of flipping a light switch. Today, there are tubular skylights to bring natural light to just about any area of the house.

Solatube Daylighting

Illustration: Solatube International

Tubular skylights, also known as solar tubes, light tunnels, daylighting systems, are affordable, high-performance lighting solutions that bring daylight into interior spaces where traditional skylights and windows simply can’t be installed.  Using a rooftop dome to capture the sun’s rays, a highly reflective tube transfers the light indoors where it is dispersed through a ceiling mounted diffuser.

Unlike traditional skylights that need direct line of sight, tubular devices can be configured easily to avoid attic obstructions and deliver the light where it is needed—in some cases, as much as up to 40 feet with products from Solatube Interational, Inc. Since the tube itself is compact and, depending on manufacturer, available in rigid, adjustable and flexible designs, it is also more affordable and less labor-intensive to install. That means areas lacking natural daylight today can be flooded with light tomorrow—actually within a couple of hours for Solatube Daylighting Systems.  And, since natural light reduces the dependency on electric, installing a tubular skylight also results in energy savings.

So, where can you benefit from more natural light?

CLOSETS
In addition to never being quite large enough, closets are intentionally made without windows, making the hunt for the right shirt, pants, shoes and belt more challenging.  Even with electric lighting, the true colors can be visually altered, making your navies look black and maroons look burgundy. The Solatube Daylighting System produces perfect color rendition so you can see with more clarity and accuracy.

solatube_03

Photo: Solatube International

LAUNDRY ROOMS
While laundry rooms are no longer relegated to the basement or mudroom, they are still often tucked into small, windowless areas of the home—from the kitchen pantry to the upstairs hall closet. Dim conditions not only make it difficult to perform necessary laundry tasks, but make the job that much more undesirable.  Bright, natural light from a tubular skylight will not only make sorting, folding, treating stains, and pairing random socks easier, it will make the room feel less cramped.

HALLWAYS
Despite being well-traveled passages, hallways are notorious for being dimly lit. If you have a narrow hallway with no natural light, you probably find yourself flipping on your electric lights frequently—even during the day. With a well-placed Solatube Daylighting System, bright, natural light can be delivered easily to hallway interiors. And, since the device is designed with a patented, light-capturing rooftop dome that redirects low-angle sunlight and rejects overpowering midday summer sun, you can also be assured of consistent natural illumination throughout the day.

STAIRWELLS
Stairwells that lack adequate lighting can be dark and dangerous. Tripping on a step or missing a handhold on the railing can lead to serious falls. Depending on its location and design, you could also be missing an opportunity to highlight one of the most interesting architectural features in your home. A tubular skylight can flood the space with natural daylight, dramatically improving visibility and appearance.

BATHROOMS

Res_Daylighting_Hero1_3

Photo: Solatube International

If you have an interior bathroom with no access to windows, you already know the issues it presents—and the dependency on electricity it requires.  In the bath, tubular skylights not only provide a smart daylighting solution, they can be outfitted with a variety of flat-, recessed-, and decorative-mount ceiling fixtures, as well as warming and softening lenses, ventilation, dimmers and occupancy sensors.

Of course, tubular skylights, like traditional skylights, do share one problem. When night falls or clouds pass overhead, the light disappears or fades. Solatube International, a leading manufacturer and innovator of daylighting products, offers an inventive solution with their Smart LED technology. When there’s plenty of sunlight, the tube delivers natural light. Too much light, an optional motorized baffle dims the output. At night, energy-efficient LEDs automatically turn on. The result, a seamless—and energy efficient—blending of natural and LED light throughout the day and night.

 

This post is sponsored on behalf of Solatube International.  Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com

 


What Would Bob Do? Unsticking a Double-Hung Window

When a double-hung window just won't open, the most likely culprit is a bad paint job—but there are other possible perps. Here's how to get the window unstuck and figure out who done it.

How to Open a Stuck Window

Photo: prweb.com

My wife and I recently moved into a rental house, and we cannot seem to open the double-hung windows in the bedroom. That was just fine with us during the winter, but now that it’s warm out, we really want to let in some fresh air! Suggestions?

We’ve all been there: Try as you might to open the window, the sash refuses to budge. Almost invariably, sloppy painting is to blame. Double-hung windows are fairly complicated contraptions, and each part has its own name (even some professionals have a hard time keeping all the proper terms straight). Technically, a window ceases to operate correctly when paint enters and dries in the space between the sash—the movable part of the window—and the jamb stops and parting stops—elements that direct the sash’s up-and-down path. Fortunately, you don’t really need a vocabulary lesson to open a stuck window. All you need is a blade.

Photo: byroncompany.com

Run your utility knife along all the joints that surround the sash. And don’t forget to address the rear side of the top edge (you may need to climb up on a step stool in order to see what you’re doing up there). Now put the knife down and give the window a try. It should open—if not easily, then with a bit of fussing. Once you’ve got it open to the breeze, use the stub of a candle to lubricate the channel along which the sash travels. The wax doesn’t leave a mess and should make it much easier to operate the window in the future.

If doing the above makes no difference, I recommend removing both the upper and lower sashes. They need more attention than you can safely administer while they’re in place. Furthermore, the issue may be something more serious than mislaid paint. To be certain, though, you’ll want to get a good look at the thing.

Removing the sashes involves a handful of steps. Start by taking out the screws in the interior stops. Next, carefully pry the stop molding free from the lower sash. Proceed to pull out the parting strips—and sometimes that’s easier said than done. If the strips have been painted and are stuck, reach again for the utility knife. Score the joints that surround the strips, then pull—hard if you must, but carefully. Once those parting strips are out of the way, both sashes (the upper one first) should come out rather easily.

Closely inspect the sashes. If they are damp and the wood appears to have swelled, then paint isn’t your problem. The most likely explanation is that missing or poorly installed flashing on your house’s exterior is allowing water to soak the window frame when it rains. Flashing repair typically involves limited removal of house siding. The best thing is to get a professional’s opinion before deciding what to do next.

What if your inspection of the sashes doesn’t reveal any water damage? My suggestion is to scrape the window and sand it down, more or less, to bare wood. Add a coat of primer and then a fresh coat of paint, being careful not to leave any areas of buildup. Let the paint dry and then reassemble the window.

When doors become stuck, high humidity is often the cause. Although that’s rarely the case with double-hung windows, it’s not out of the question. So if you live in a very damp home, consider running a dehumidifier in the room that has the stuck window. By the same token, if it’s a bathroom window that’s giving you trouble, run the exhaust fan during and after your showers. Similarly, a stubborn sash in the kitchen may be aggravated by stovetop cooking; run the exhaust fan during meal preparation and see if that helps.


Bob Vila Radio: Pivot Doors

Pivot doors offer a dramatic passage that blurs the line between indoors and out.

With the season of outdoor living upon us, homeowners may be looking for new solutions to patio or backyard access. The old standby—sliding-glass doors—provide lots of sunlight, but only half of the doorway’s width is usable entry space. French doors are an elegant solution but can take up a lot of floor space when they are both open.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON PIVOT DOORS or read the text below:

Pivot Doors

Photo: houzz.com

A unique and high-style alternative for wide openings is the pivot door. A pivot door is not hinged at right or left; it rotates on pins in the floor and ceiling like a swinging door, only the pin is not up against the door casing.

Pivot doors can swing from the center or from a point off center, and they allow clean elegant sight lines that are truly beautiful when they open onto a garden, pool, or other outdoor space.

Pivot doors can be made to fit anything from a single, wide doorway to an entire wall, with the latter having the dramatic effect of combining indoor and outdoor spaces into one. The pivot style distributes a door’s weight, allowing you to install a single door in a wide space where a traditional door would be too heavy to hang from a hinge.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Tubular Skylights 101

While bringing natural light to interior spaces of a home was originally limited to costly, difficult-to-install, and problem-riddled traditional skylights, today's tubular devices are lighting up interiors with smart and sophisticated style.

Solatube Daylighting

Solatube International Tubular Daylighting

Bringing natural light into a home is a relatively easy prospect, provided the room is adjacent to at least one exterior wall. Windows and glass doors have been flooding interiors with light for centuries. But when an interior room is in need of daylight, the options become far more limiting—namely skylights. Since the 1980s, tubular skylights (a.k.a. solar tubes, light tunnels, daylighting devices) have been gaining popularity as an easy way to bring natural light into just about any room of the house. More compact, less expensive, and easier to install than their traditional counterparts, they are lighting up today’s homes in a much smarter and more efficient way than ever before.

What are tubular skylights?
Tubular skylights, like the name suggests, are tube-shaped devices that, through a rooftop lens and reflective-lined tube, capture sunlight and deliver it to the interior space of a home or office. Consisting of three main components—a dome, a tube, and a diffuser—they are more compact than standard rooftop skylights and, as a result, more affordable and less labor-intensive to install. With designs that feature rigid, adjustable, and flexible tubing, they can also be configured for spaces where a conventional skylight is not feasible.

Illustration: Solatube International

How do tubular skylights work? 
A tubular skylight uses a rooftop dome to capture the sun’s rays. The light is then transferred indoors through a highly reflective tube-shaped duct. A diffuser mounted in the ceiling disperses the natural light to the room below. Unlike traditional skylights that need direct line of sight, tubular devices can be configured easily to avoid attic obstructions and deliver the light where it is needed—in some cases, as much as up to 40 feet for Solatube products. Installed in hallways, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and walk-in closets, tubular daylighting devices not only help lighten interiors, but save on electric costs.

Of course, tubular skylights, like traditional skylights, do share one problem. When night falls or clouds pass overhead, the light disappears or fades. Solatube International, a leading manufacturer and innovator of daylighting products, offers an inventive solution with their Smart LED technology. Winner of the 2013 LightFair
International Innovation Award, it combines daylighting with LED lighting. When there’s plenty of sunlight, the tube delivers natural light. Too much light, an optional motorized baffle dims the output. At night, energy-efficient LEDs automatically turn on. The result—a seamless blending of natural and LED light throughout the day and night.

Photo: Solatube International

What to look for when shopping for a tubular skylight?
Though the parts may appear similar from system to system, not all tubular skylights are created equal. Technology makes a big difference in lighting performance.  You’ll want a product that delivers the full spectrum of light, so that you get the brightest and whitest natural light possible. Look for a device that is suitable for your roof style and manufactured with built-in, leak-preventing flashing. Also, choose one that offers adaptability in terms of tubing configuration and carries the Energy Star label, guaranteeing thermal performance and efficiency.

Solatube Daylighting is designed with a patented light-capturing dome that redirects low-angle sunlight and rejects overpowering midday summer sun to deliver a consistent natural illumination throughout the day. The Spectralight® Infinity Tubing promotes maximum sunlight transfer with pure color rendition. And, the products can be outfitted with a variety of flat-, recessed-, and decorative-mount ceiling fixtures, along with warming and softening lenses, ventilation, dimmers, and occupancy sensors.

To learn more about tubular skylights, watch the video below.

 

This post has been brought to you by Solatube International. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.