How to Make a Solar Tube Mirror Pipe

Written by andrew latham Google
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How to Make a Solar Tube Mirror Pipe
Solar tube mirror pipes allow you to channel sunlight to areas where installing a skylight is not practical. (skylight image by Scott Williams from

Daylight systems can save you money by lighting your home with natural sunlight during the day in areas where a conventional skylight would be impractical. These systems channel daylight from your roof and reflect it into your home. This creates a unique architectural effect and allows you to light up utility rooms, hallways, closets, dining rooms, kitchens or any other space in your home. The key element of these systems is a highly reflective tube designed to trap sunlight and concentrate it onto a lens, which diffuses the light into your home. You can make your own solar tube mirror pipe, which although not as reflective, will be much more affordable.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • PVC pipe
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Self-adhesive industrial mirror paper
  • Scissors
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Measure the distance from your roof to the spot where you wish to place the skylight output. If your installation requires a diagonal angle for your mirror pipe, measure this distance or your pipe will be too short.

  2. 2

    Cut your PVC pipe to your required length. Sand down the edges of your pipe to guarantee a good seal when you connect it to a lens and to your roof's sunlight dome.

  3. 3

    Calculate the perimeter of your pipe. Multiply its diameter by Pi, 3.14. If your pipe is 10 centimetres wide your perimeter would by 31.4 centimetres.

  4. 4

    Cut a section of industrial mirror paper that is as wide as the perimeter of your pipe and as long as length of your pipe. Remove the backing of the industrial mirror paper and insert with care into the pipe.

Tips and warnings

  • An alternative, and more expensive method is to use a polished steel tube and spray the interior with reflective paint. Note that either of these methods will not replicate the reflection rates of a commercial solar tube mirror.

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