How to Install a Tubular Skylight

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required
  • Ladder
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Flat pry bar
  • Compass or drywall saw
  • Power jig saw
  • Drill/driver
  • Razor knife
  • Caulking gun
Materials Required
  • Duct tape
  • Roofing nails
  • Felt (tar) paper
  • Asphalt roofing cement
  • Tubular skylight

Before You Begin

This installation sequence is typical for a 10- to 14-inch diameter tubular skylight, which does not require joist or rafter cuts in a home with 16-in. on-center framing and the roofing is asphalt or wood shingles with adequate pitch (more than four inches of vertical rise per horizontal foot). For other situations, refer to specific directions provided with the unit. Optional flashing collars are also available from the manufacturers for different types of roofs, such as Spanish tile or slate.

Don't want to do the job? Click here to get to Home Advisor and it will open in a new tab and you’ll have to answer some basic questions about your job followed by Window Contractors in your area.

  • Step 1 : Locate the light

    Choose the location you want for the interior diffuser end of the skylight assembly. Tap the ceiling or use a stud finder to be sure you're not directly below wood framing. Next, drive a nail or drill a small hole through the ceiling at this point. Stick a piece of wire up through the hole.

  • Step 2 : Locate opening in attic

    Go into the attic and find the wire. Your chosen location must be directly between the ceiling joists to ensure adequate clearance for the unit's tubular tunnel. Clear away any insulation, and adjust the position of the hole if necessary. You don't need to be directly below an opening between the roof rafters because the tunnel is adjustable. Some manufacturers provide solid sectional tunnels that can be twisted into position, while other units have flexible tubing that bends around obstacles.

  • Step 3 : Mark hole in roof

    While you're in the attic, choose the location for the skylight roof dome. The most direct route is recommended, and it should not exceed 10 feet from diffuser to dome. Keep in mind that shorter, straighter tube runs work better, and if you have a choice, always pick a southern location for the dome for maximum light. When you decide on your location, make a small hole through the roof, centered between two rafters, and insert a wire to help you find the spot when you go outside.

    Page 1 of 2
    Go To Page 2