Sun tunnel guide: what are they and how do they work?

A well-placed sun tunnel brings plenty of light to areas of your house where windows cannot be fitted

VELUX sun tunnel
Published: January 25, 2022 at 12:01 am
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Lightening up a dark corner of your home can be tricky if the space is limited in natural light. Hallways and storage rooms that have been converted into bedroom or office space are particularly susceptible to this issue, as they are often small and built without windows. One savvy solution that could work for your home is a sun tunnel - a special glass window that projects light down a reflective pipe to where it is needed most.

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We spoke to Scott Leeder, Market Director for Great Britain and Ireland at VELUX, to find out more and answer your questions about sun tunnels...

What is a sun tunnel?

If you’re struggling to add daylight into areas, such as dark hallways where the installation of a window isn’t possible, it’s worth considering adding a sun tunnel as an effective way to add natural light to areas that need a brighter, more vibrant appearance.

A sun tunnel is a toughened glass window that works by reflecting light down either a flexible or rigid sheet metal tube that has a polished interior - this then acts like a mirror and projects the light into the areas of your home that need it most. The pipe can go through to the loft then into the ceiling.

Sun tunnels are available for both flat roofs and pitched roofs, and can instantly bring your indoor space to life, allowing you to experience the natural dynamic that daylight brings to your indoor space. Our new VELUX sun tunnel also comes complete with EdgeGlow, a ring of clear polycarbonate that gives a better spread of light throughout the room, letting you experience the changing light of day.

Do you need planning permission for a sun tunnel?

Sun tunnels do not normally need planning permission. However, it’s always best practice to check this especially if living in a listed building.

What size sun tunnel do I need?

The size of your sun tunnel can vary depending on the type of roof, and the space between your roofing timbers, specifically the ceiling joists. Modern roofs using smaller timbers will usually have joists spaced at 400mm from centre to centre, leaving approximately 350mm between them. Here you would need to choose the 10-inch rigid tunnel which requires a 305mm diameter hole in the ceiling for the diffuser.

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Roofs which use heavier timber may have the joists spaced at 600mm from centre to centre, and here you could choose the 14-inch rigid or flexible sun tunnel, as there will be sufficient space for the 410mm diameter hole required for the ceiling diffuser.

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