Tubular skylights shed some light on dark rooms

  • Story by Victor Balta / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, April 13, 2005 9:00pm
  • Life

Not to be grandiose, but when you say, “Let there be light,” Tore Dahl and her crew can do something about it.

She’s a co-owner of NW Natural Lighting, which specializes in installing tubular skylights that help brighten up those dark rooms in your home.

Dahl started the business in 1994 with her husband, Brad Dahl, and brother John Sagvold.

The Lynnwood-based company is one of the many vendors that will be at the Everett Home &Garden Show this weekend.

The Dahls saw the light about 11 years ago, when Brad Dahl was working as a contractor. A customer had heard about the SolaTube tubular skylight and asked him to install it.

“He said, ‘This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,’” Tore Dahl recalled. “It went in really quick, produced an awesome amount of light. … We said, ‘We’ve got to look into selling this.’”

Since 1994, NW Natural Lighting has been outfitting homes in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties with the skylights and has added other products, such as retractable screens and aluminum railings.

But the skylights still attract the most customers.

In about two hours, a crew can be in and out, leaving behind a freshly illuminated room. The most common skylight is a 10-inch diameter light in the ceiling that is connected to a tube that extends through the attic or crawl space up to the roof, where a small dome sits.

The dome brings the light into the tube, which is lined with a highly reflective material. The light bounces down toward the opening in the ceiling, where a diffuser spreads the light around the room.

The dome at the top cuts out nearly all of the ultraviolet rays and has a flashing on the roof that’s all one piece, preventing leaks.

A 10-inch skylight can illuminate a 10-by-10-foot room, Tore Dahl said.

“It’s a fun product,” she said. “People think of it just as a tubular skylight, but the impact it makes for people in their home is huge. If there was a dark room they had, sometimes they just call us and say they should have done it years ago.”

The skylights are popular for closets, kitchens, bathrooms, hallways and laundry rooms, said Dahl, who has three in her Bothell home. The price for a 10-inch SolaTube light, installed, starts at $449. Other sizes include 14 inches and 21 inches.

Because the natural glow only comes through during the day, an electrical light kit can be purchased for about $75, but must be installed by the customer or an electrician.

In just more than a decade, the company has sold thousands of the tubular skylights, overcoming initial uncertainty.

“When we first came out with it, I think that probably people were inclined to be a little skeptical,” Tore Dahl said. “But now it’s been around long enough. Sometimes people think they’ve never heard of it and the more they talk to us, they start to think of people they know who did it.”

Reporter Victor Balta: 425-339-3455 or vbalta@heraldnet.com.

NW Natural Lighting

Specializes in installing tubular skylights

19019 36th Ave. W., Lynnwood 888-246-6006 www.nwnaturallighting.com

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