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How Does a Dome Skylight Work? A Skylight Guide

Image of a MaxLight Dome skylight showing the dome on the roof, the leakproof flashing and the mirrored tube going down to the ceiling.

The term dome skylight is a popular name for a tubular skylight that collects light through a dome on the roof. Skylights are a great way to bring in natural light and add character to your home. There are several main types of skylights so it’s important to know how they work before you purchase. In this guide, we explain important points about skylights to ensure you make the right choice for your home.

Main Types of Skylights

There are different styles of skylights available, and typically we think about three main common categories:

  • Fixed skylights: These are also referred to as ‘roof windows’ because they are essentially just a glass panel in your roof that acts like a window. It lets light in, and you can see through it at night. These are usually best suited for homes with a small roof cavity, or no roof cavity at all (in the case of sheds and garages).


  • Tubular or dome skylights: Very popular in the Australian market, tubular skylights feature a access point on the roof, the clear dome. This captures sunlight is captured from all angles. From there, a mirrored tube runs through your roof cavity to the diffuser. This is lens in the ceiling that transfers the light into the room.


  • Solar skylights: Rather than a traditional skylight design, solar skylights feature an LED light powered by a small solar panel on your roof. Versions are available with a battery, which allows you to enjoy free lighting day and night.

The type you choose depends on the available space in and on your roof, and of course, personal preference.


 How Does a Tubular Dome Skylight Work?

We’re going to talk about the MaxLight skylight, the Australian made tubular (dome) skylight manufactured here at SolarBright. This innovative design ensures quality natural light spills into your home without the additional heat that comes from some skylight varieties.

First, sunlight is captured from all angles via the clear dome installed on your roof. The sunlight then passes through a highly mirrored, anodised aluminium tube. The light bounces down through this tube, amplifying it until it reaches a triple-lens diffuser that’s installed in the ceiling. The diffuser spreads the sunlight throughout the room, giving you free, natural light.

To find out more, check out this MaxLight Skylight video.

Are Skylights Suitable for all Homes?

Yes, skylights are suitable for most homes. This dependant on your roof design which can limited the options you can choose. Fortunately, tubular skylights are suitable for almost every home, if there is space for the metal tube that runs from your external roof to your internal ceiling.

MaxLight tubular skylights can be installed in almost any room, and they don’t have to be located directly above a specific area of the home. The tube section of a tubular skylight can be manipulated to an extent, so you can enjoy light where you need it.

In those situations where a tubular dome skylight cannot be installed there is always the option of installing an LED solar skylight.

Tubular Dome Skylight Energy Efficiency

While tubular skylights are great for providing natural light, there are other benefits too. Since a high-quality tubular skylight installation reduces the need for artificial light, you’ll start saving money on electricity costs straight away.

More importantly the MaxLight tubular is energy rated. In summer a MaxLight dome skylight gives you plenty of natural light but won’t let in the heat. In contrast heat transfer through the glass is an issue with roof window type skylights and needs to be managed carefully.

If you are considering a roof type of skylight our advice is to install a remote-controlled blind on the skylight. These cost several hundred dollars per skylight. However it is the only way the to help alleviate heat transfer into the room on hot days.

Installation Advantages of Tubular Skylights

Ease of installation is major advantage of a dome skylight advantage.  A skilled installer only takes a couple of hours per skylight. Some tiles need be removed, or a hole cut in a metal roof to install the leak proof flashing. The dome attaches to this flashing as well as the reflective metal tube that transfers the light downwards.

A hole is cut in the ceiling to take the diffuser (lens). The metal tube is attached to this just above the ceiling.

Installing a MaxLight skylight only takes a couple of hours.

With a traditional style window skylight, a hole bigger enough to take the window needs to be opened in the roof. This needs to be framed to the right size to take the skylight. A hole the size of the skylight needs to cut and framed in the ceiling. Then an open light well, needs to be constructed from the room up through the roof cavity to the window in the roof. This light well needs to be framed up and then plastered to match the ceiling. After plastering it needs to be painted.

This involves the use of several different trades and takes some days. This can be spread over a couple weeks depending on tradie availability. It is much more expensive the installing a MaxLight tubular skylight.

Solar-Powered MaxBeam24

Thanks to SolarBright, you can now get a skylight that works both day and night. The MaxBeam24 system consists of a solar panel, battery, and a ring of LED lights inside your skylight tube. During the day, your skylight works as normal letting in sunlight while the solar panel collects energy to store in the battery. When the sun goes down, you can access solar power from the battery to power the ring of LED lights in the tube near your diffuser.

This system is completely independent of the power grid, so you can access free, solar-powered lighting 24 hours a day with a MaxLight and MaxBeam skylight installation.


Looking for the Best Skylights?

When you want high-quality skylight solutions for your home, look no further than SolarBright. Our MaxLight skylights feature cutting-edge technology that fills your home with natural light. We can even include the MaxBeam24 solar-powered lighting solution for evenings.

With these innovative lighting solutions, you can cut energy costs and enjoy beautiful, natural light in your home all day. To find out more, check out our MaxLight Skylights today.



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