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Should You Install a Rigid or Flexible Sun Tunnel?

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If you want to install a skylight to get some light into a dark area of your home, then you may have started by looking at window options. If this isn't feasible because the area you need to get light into is too far from the roof, then you may have decided to use a sun tunnel instead.

Sun tunnels use small skylights to channel light from your roof down through a reflective tube into a diffuser. This diffuser is usually installed in the ceiling of a dark area of your home, such as a hallway, bathroom, clothes closet or alcove. You can use a rigid sun tunnel or a flexible one. Which is best?

What's the Distance?

The distance between the skylight in your roof and the place where the tunnel will end matters here. Both rigid and flexible tunnels can deal with short distances; however, they can't both cover longer ones. If the tunnel will have to extend for a longer distance between the roof and the diffuser light, then a rigid tunnel is usually the best option.

Are There Any Obstacles?

Your sun tunnel may not have an unobstructed path from the roof to its final light diffuser. If you have obstructions in the way, like beams or joists, then a rigid tunnel may not work for you. However, a flexible tunnel can be set up to bend around obstructions.

How Much Does Light Matter?

Getting any natural light into a dark area or one without a window brightens things up. However, the type of sun tunnel you choose makes a difference to how much natural light you can bring in.

Typically, rigid sun tunnels diffuse light more effectively. The light comes through the skylight in the roof and passes straight down the tunnel to the diffuser.

Flexible sun tunnels aren't always able to produce as much light as rigid models. If they are shaped around obstructions, then the light that comes in through your roof has various surfaces to bounce off before it hits the diffuser area. The light doesn't have a clear reflection path and may be slightly dimmer.

At this stage, you may not be sure where to put your skylight and how to install its sun tunnel most effectively. To get expert advice, talk to your roofing contractor. They can assess your options and help you find the most effective way of getting the most light into dark areas of your home.