PDA

View Full Version : Solar Tubes - Done it Yourself?


Rebel Pirate
01-23-2013, 04:48 PM
Has anyone installed their own solar tubes? I'm an avid and accomplished DIY-er and am interested in learning from the experience of other TOTV-ers. If you have installed your own:
Where did you buy your materials?
Were you happy with the materials supplied?
Would you recommend that supplier?
How would you rate your DIY skill level?
If you could go back and reconsider, would you again DIY?
Thanks! :posting:

JAV0108
01-23-2013, 05:18 PM
No, didn't install it ourselves as avid DIYers also, but after watching it done by having one installed at our house, if you can get access to your attic in the place you want it installed it looked pretty easy.

Rebel Pirate
01-23-2013, 08:35 PM
No, didn't install it ourselves as avid DIYers also, but after watching it done by having one installed at our house, if you can get access to your attic in the place you want it installed it looked pretty easy.
Thanks...yes, the actual project must be very simple. But, I understand many/most homeowners might shy away from this DIY project because they want someone else (i.e., the professional installer) to shoulder the liability associated with leakage due to roof penetration. (So, from a purely economic perspective, as consumers we are paying a substantial premium for the installer's business insurance...a sales premium for their marketing reps...and a minor fee for the actual laborers.) Unless someone is really ham-fisted, I believe the system/materials must be the most important variable in retaining waterproof integrity of the roof. That's why I'm hoping someone who has already done it can advise about their source of supply. My plan was to allow the roof to "weather in" for a couple years to ensure there are no leaks and then install a few solar tube/lights myself, but I'm anxious to learn from anyone who may have already been down this road.

jimbo2012
01-23-2013, 09:40 PM
I wouldn't wait for the shingles to "weather in", the newer they R the easier they R to bend up around the flange.

HD sells a good one I'm told, it is very easy for a DIY'er

check Utube for pics

Rebel Pirate
01-23-2013, 10:32 PM
I wouldn't wait for the shingles to "weather in", the newer they R the easier they R to bend up around the flange.

HD sells a good one I'm told, it is very easy for a DIY'er

check Utube for pics

Good point about not waiting to weather in...need to think about that one since I won't really "be" there until summer'14, except for short visits. Duh...Solar Tube on You Tube...great idea!...thanks again! :ho:

tommy steam
03-01-2014, 05:44 PM
You could have a licensed roofing contractor install the top part of the tube in the roof, than you could install the rest.

2BNTV
03-01-2014, 06:23 PM
I persoanally had The Solar Guys do mine. I'm glad to hear your an avid DIY type person, but at my age, I wouldn't want to take a chance of falling from such a height. It's much easier, to write a check.

Since your paying for the substantial insurance premim, it is worth the difference in having a professional do it? Solar Guys used top notch materials and some solar lights can be connected to existing electricity, for night time use. Would you be doing the electrical work too?

If it's something you want to do, I wish you much success.

Canabarrybarb
03-01-2014, 07:06 PM
I did it myself with a kit purchased from a local big box hardware store. Kit seems to be high quality and it has worked fine for several years now.

I bought special carborundum blades for my jig saw since cutting through shingles is hard work.

The hard part is working in the tight spaces in the attic. Although it is not a difficult job, the fun of working in the insulation over a drywall ceiling makes hiring someone almost worth it.

shcisamax
03-01-2014, 07:55 PM
I would just always be concerned I did something wrong.

jmac1031
03-01-2014, 08:15 PM
Why cut a hole in a perfectly good roof?

getdul981
03-01-2014, 08:42 PM
I can and will do a lot of things myself, but I don't like ladders. I have a couple, but I don't like them. I'm not afraid of falling, but it's that sudden stop at the end that has me wary. I had a boss once that LOVED to play golf. He was also kinda frugal. He decided one day that he was going to clean out his gutters or paint them or something like that, so he got his ladder out and proceeded to do the job. He fell off the ladder and broke his shoulder and as a result could no longer play golf. Some times it's not just about the money. If you have been climbing around on roofs and crawling around in attics most of your life and are very secure in doing that sort of thing, I say, "Go for it". If you aren't experienced with this sort of thing, write a check to the folks that do have the experience.

2BNTV
03-02-2014, 05:59 AM
Why cut a hole in a perfectly good roof?

Solar tubes installed properly, lights up the home. I went all day yesterday without having to turn on a light, and always feel the light coming in, makes the home feel more comfortable. I still check once in a while, as I think I might have left a light on. One of my solar tubes is wired to existing electricity, for lighting at night, when needed.

So far, no leaks and or complaints. :smiley:

Awesome job by The Solar Guys, who advise you where to place them, and what size tubes will be appropriate. Still thinking about getting a third one.

2BNTV
03-02-2014, 06:05 AM
I can and will do a lot of things myself, but I don't like ladders. I have a couple, but I don't like them. I'm not afraid of falling, but it's that sudden stop at the end that has me wary. I had a boss once that LOVED to play golf. He was also kinda frugal. He decided one day that he was going to clean out his gutters or paint them or something like that, so he got his ladder out and proceeded to do the job. He fell off the ladder and broke his shoulder and as a result could no longer play golf. Some times it's not just about the money. If you have been climbing around on roofs and crawling around in attics most of your life and are very secure in doing that sort of thing, I say, "Go for it". If you aren't experienced with this sort of thing, write a check to the folks that do have the experience.

:agree:

Thank you for typing what I was alluding to, in a previous post. I'll speak for myself to say that at a certain age, one must have others do projects, as the mind is willing, but the flesh doesn't repond the way it use to.

Much easier to write out a check. Besides, there are done in three hours, for two solar tubes, How long would it take for a DIY to complete the same job?

I love my solar tubes installed by The Solar Guys.

I am not a rep for this company, but a very satisfied customer. :smiley:

jimbo2012
03-02-2014, 06:26 AM
solar guys have a good rep never heard anything negative.

But as a DIY project it is easy, provided you're not bothered by jumping up on the roof. HD sells them for under $200 I think.

I rate it on scale of 1-10 as a DIY a 6.

I was in a home with them and recall one issue, they lite up the area when you don't want it also?

getdul981
03-02-2014, 07:49 AM
solar guys have a good rep never heard anything negative.

But as a DIY project it is easy, provided you're not bothered by jumping up on the roof. HD sells them for under $200 I think.

I rate it on scale of 1-10 as a DIY a 6.

I was in a home with them and recall one issue, they lite up the area when you don't want it also?

I think there are baffles or dampers that can be had to eliminate unwanted light if you so desire. In our previous home, we had 4 solar tubes and 2 attic fans installed by The Solar Guys. The installer was there less than 4 hours and the cost was just under $3000. We loved the lights, but not sure about the attic fans, since we had them installed before we moved in and had nothing to compare them to. We have not had any installed in our new home yet, but it's on the list of "Things to Do" (which seems to get longer each day).

DangeloInspections
03-02-2014, 09:08 AM
As a person who climbs all over attics in The Villages every day, and inspects all aspects of the attic, including solar tubes, etc, please allow me to make a few short points.

1) Not all attic spaces in The Villages are the same. Some folks have attics that are huge and easily accessible. Other attics, particularly many Courtyard Villas have vaulted ceilings that are almost inaccessible in areas. Even in the bigger attics, areas close to the soffits are tight.

2) If you are having someone else install your solar tubes, make sure they replace the insulation around the tubes after the install. Many times I find the insulation moved away from the tubes and not replaced, thus causing an energy loss and a possible place where condensation and mold could occur in time.

3) Also make sure the installers pick up after themselves. I often find empty tubes of caulk, the "circle of drywall" ceiling thrown up there, etc.

I have seen enough issues in an attic caused by different types of aftermarket contractors that before the workers were done in my attic I'd hand them a digital camera and kindly ask them to take pictures of the area they were working in so I would know for sure they cleaned up, replaced insulation, did not cut support straps of the flexible ductwork, etc. I find all of these issues on a regular basis.....

Solar tubes installed correctly are a nice addition to some homes. I hardly ever find them causing leaks, which is a testament to the folks who install them daily that they seem to install them well around the roof. If one is comfortable on ladders and roofs and have a good knowledge base of proper flashing installation, etc, I think it would be a satisfying project for an Advanced DIY'er.

That being said, the biggest enemy of any home is moisture intrusion....so anything like this must be done properly....

Frank D'Angelo, ACI

villagetinker
03-02-2014, 12:25 PM
My neighbor (Sumter County), in the villages, just had one installed and the installer mentioned a $45 permit, you might want to check and see if permits are required for a roof penetration.

TheSolarGuys
03-11-2014, 10:51 AM
We sell do-it-yourself kits. They are not a difficult product to install, (if you're a handy person) only taking about 2 hours. You are always welcome to come by our local showroom on 441 and talk with us. We can show you the product and walk you through the installation process as well. Worst case scenario we generally have between 5-8 technicians working the villages that could swing by if you get in over your head. The Solar Guys (http://www.thesolarguys.com)