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wkearney99 06-08-2013 11:32 AM

Solatube vs Velux?
Our plans call for Solatube but the builder put in Velux. The downside is their flexible ducts. There's two of these into a master closet. Both are about 9' down from the roof to the interior drywall ceiling. One is only about 2' offset from the roof lens to the ceiling. But the other is another 6' farther away.

Both are using Velux flexible tubing to connect. The one 2' offset provides are somewhat reasonable amount of light. But the one 8' offset does not. Even at high-noon with direct light hitting the fixtures on the roof the 8' one puts out less light than even one of those green-glow nightlights.

So before I beat up the contractor, what's the consenus on Velux vs Solatube? If I'm going to have him change things to using the hard ducting would it really be that much better to use Solatub instead of Velux?

Anyone have direct experience here?

ddawg16 06-08-2013 12:18 PM

I have a couple of sun tubes in my house......but I used a different brand and they are straight shots.....and about par to having a 500w bulb on.....

Call these's a mom & pop setup in AZ. They guy will take the time to talk to you....if anyone knows the correct answer....he would.....

I went with the "Natural Light" brand not because of the warranty (less than Velux), but because the guy said "I never have to go back to fix anything." And I personally think it's a well made product....the bezel on the roof is metal....not plastic....

RWolff 06-08-2013 12:22 PM

I really like my two velux skylights, they have never leaked, were easy to install.

wkearney99 06-08-2013 12:59 PM

Yeah, I'm not so much concerned about leaks as most have this resolved these days. But more with the amount of light transmitted and the type of ducting used.

The closet is right in the middle of the house, with no windows or doors facing any. So maximizing the amount of light AND doing so evenly between the two would be ideal.

I either tell the contractor to switch to velux's hard tubes (and avoid roof work) or play hard-ball and rip it out to replace with what's on the contract. I could go either way. But won't swap brands if the velux hard tube will work as effectively. Because, clearly the flex does not.

AndyWRS 06-08-2013 01:42 PM

I prefer the solatubes, but i havent seen the velux or installed one.

I would suspect the Velux are a lot cheaper and this is why your builder choose them over the Solartubes.

Oso954 06-08-2013 02:07 PM

I would not beat up on the contractor, he may have had a reason for what he did. Even though it did not work out right, it may have seemed reasonable at the time. All you need is to reach agreement on is: the 2nd tube isn't working, and the contractor will fix it.

I would not tell him how to fix it. He can talk to the vendor, Mfg., etc. before attempting to fix it. If he installs your fix and it is not satisfactory, who pays for it, or the next fix ? Keep him on the hook !

wkearney99 06-08-2013 02:39 PM

It's a custom house, I'll beat up on him all that I decide is necessary thank you. Fortunately he's great at handling details or variations like this. He ought to be considering the GC fees involved. This is not a nickel-and-dime job, but I do appreciate the advice regarding that kind of problem. I'm not here to torture the guy, just to get the desired results. Thus I suggested here I'd be amenable to just making the change to hard tubes, not the whole shebang.

The likely reason for the wrong units is the salesman at the supplier tends to 'misinterpret' what gets requested. Been through that with a few other items. But this slipped by since the lens on the roof went in a while ago and it's only now that drywall was installed that the flex shows it can't handle the offset.

Other things like this I've caught before anything got installed. You'd think the GC would handle all of that, and most of the time they do. But there are some things that get very expensive to fix if you don't catch them early. Like the electrician's use of a whole house full of the wrong recessed cans...

ddawg16 06-08-2013 02:55 PM

This is a before and after pic of one we installed in the existing bathroom. With the addition going the back, we lost the window....flash was turned off.....

And this is the one in the master walk in closet...not as much obvious difference due to the poor reflection of light off the wood.

AndyWRS 06-08-2013 08:59 PM

I re-read your OP and imo they shouldn’t have used the flex, those types of tubes do not provide as much light especially on long runs that turn. I was thinking they just used the flex to get around some obstructions, but after re-reading your post it sounds like the entire length is flex. On a long run like that I would use the polished rigid tubes on all of it.

If the current flex is run relatively straight then you should get the Solatube rigid tubes. If they have it turning at sharp angles then they should try to straighten the runs and see if it improves the light transfer. This would be my first choice as it shows you’re willing to work with them, but if it doesn’t improve the light then you go by what’s on the contract...which is SolaTube.

wkearney99 06-09-2013 07:47 AM

Spot-on Andy. The question is whether to stick with the Velux product line and use their hard tubes, or make the switch entirely back to what was spec'd in the plans.

One wrinkle in the situation, I got up in the attic yesterday to eyeball what's going on. Turns out the flex tube wasn't quite long enough to reach the lens for the second light. This left it with an incomplete connection to it, losing quite a lot of light in the process. There isn't enough slack in the duct to make a proper connection so it'll have to be changed. Leading back to whether the Velux hard tube is going to be as effective as the Solatube.

AndyWRS 06-09-2013 08:27 AM

I would leave it up to the contractor as to the fix, but let him know if the Velux rigid tubing does not provide enough light, you will expect him to install the Solatubes as per the contract.

Option one would be to swap it all out to the Solar tube brand but that includes removing the roofing and the flashing ect. The most costly option for your GC.

Option two would be to install the initial connection on the velux using velux rigid tube. Most of the time each manufacturer has a there own type of initial connection, they are not all the same. But that inital peice would make the proper connection, then you run Solatube rigid tubing from the rest of the will need the ceiling ring and mounting ring from Solatube also. kind of mickey moused imo.

Option three is to just remove the velux flex tubes and install the velux rigid tubes. More than likely you will get the light you want. This option makes the most sense. The only hicup is if your not satisfied with the light your getting. The smart option, if this fails to provide the light your back to Option one. I do beleive this is the right way to go.

Also, check the type of ceiling diffuser being used, purhaps you need to swap out to one that will allow more light. I know the Solatubes have a ton of diffuser options, velux may also.

What size sun tunnels are you dealing with 14" ?

wkearney99 06-09-2013 08:07 PM

Yes, they're 14" diameter.

The other wrinkle is this is a master closet. I wanted the Solatube units for their UV blocking. I don't see that mentioned on the Velux website.

ddawg16 06-09-2013 08:10 PM

wk....give the guy I suggested a call tomorrow.....he will give you straight answers.

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