Let's say that you can't afford the cost to have a skylight installed. Or, a closet or narrow hallway needs to have some natural light. You can effectively light these areas by using products that pipe sunlight into your home.
There are many of these products on the market. All try to channel sunlight through highly-reflective pipes or square conduits. Some of the products are made from steel or aluminum pipe, while others are made from cardboard covered with shiny metal.
Sun tubes are metallic pipe systems which can supply natural light in lieu of using a traditional skylight. These tubes can be installed, in most cases, in 4 to 6 hours. The manner in which they work is somewhat unusual. Highly reflective sheet metal piping is used to direct sunlight down to a translucent ceiling diffuser. The sunlight enters the pipe through a clear acrylic dome up on the roof.
These alternative skylights all come with pre-engineered flashings just like their big brothers. When installed correctly, you should not experience any leakage.
If you have limited time and money, these devices should be given serious consideration. Good luck on your upcoming skylight project. Call me if you need help.