Solar Gadgets Information

ODL tubular skylight with aluminum flashing Installation tips

by max barcalounger
(Oakland CA)

Background: I purchased the ODL because I felt the solid tube (vs. flex tube) would better reflect/transmit light to the kitchen. I also wanted a metal flashing. Price was in the same ballpark as others, perhaps a bit better. With a low-pitched (4 in 12) hip roof hip rafter right through the center of the room, I had to work around this obstruction, so adjustable sections were a requirement.

Results and Comments:

1. It puts a lot of light into the room when the sun is shining directly onto the top dome. Shading will cut the light substantially. There is certainly adequate light during times the roof dome is receiving direct sunlight. I'm glad I bought the 14" version (vs. 10") even though the room is small--it is not too much light.

2. An inadequate amount of metal-film sealing tape was included with the skylight. The amount included was just enough for a little more than half the job. This tape is not cheap, but better plan to buy more.

3. The metal tubing is very thin--expect some minor dents in the tubing as it comes out of the box. The tubing inside is very reflective, so minor dents shouldn't affect it much, as long as fit isn't compromised.

4. In order to adjust the angled sections, one MUST remove the protective plastic adhered to the surface at the joints. The good news is the joints are so loose that they easily pop apart and one can extract the plastic from the adjustable joints. The bad news is the joints are so loose that it is impossible to adjust the pieces in place without them coming apart. One must substantially tape up the joints to keep them together (use regular cheap duct tape for these trials), make a trial fit, remove the tape and readjust, etc. Pain in the neck. The plastic should be pre-removed from the joints at the factory, and the joints made much more secure, IMO.

5. The storm-rated spun aluminum flashing has instructions applicable to a flat roof, even though it is sold for use with pitched roofs also. It turns out that the only option is to have the dome evenly mounted onto the flashing, so that on a pitched roof the dome is sloped the same as the roof.

6. It would be useful to have tables showing ceiling to roof clearance at ceiling lenses centerline for various pitches along with relative range of positions of the spun aluminum roof flashing above. Installation positions which are feasible with the adjustable-angle pieces provided would be good.

Straight up is fairly straightforward (and of course what is shown in the drawings, which show the plastic flashing), but when the aluminum flashing is used, the top tube piece must be perpendicular to the roof slope, whilst the bottom tube is perpendicular to the ceiling. Figuring this out before cutting holes takes either serious CAD work or lots "paper doll" patterns to determine what will work.

7. If you have a pitched roof and aren't real handy and skilled at "making things work" (I'm an engineer and contractor), I'd stick with the plastic-flashing models, or get someone skilled to install it. (I have no experience with the plastic flashing models, so don't know what issues might be involved there. But at least you won't have to deal with the roof angle vis-a-vis the tube sections.)

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