Skylights are a great addition to any home. But just like everything else on your roof, there’s potential for problems to show up.
Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t know about these problems before investing in a skylight. They only learn about them when the problem actually shows up.
There are multiple reasons why a skylight could have a problem. However, there are a few I see frequently.
For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has educated homeowners on everything skylight related. So, whether you’re about to invest in a skylight or already have one, I want to help you understand potential problems.
Let’s take a look at 3 common skylight problems and how to fix them.
1. Skylight leaks
The most common and talked about skylight problem is leaks. Skylight leaks happen for a few reasons: improper installation, problems with the roof flashing, and waiting too long for a skylight replacement.
While they all occur, improper installation is the biggest cause of skylight leaks. Improper installation happens when a roofing contractor doesn’t follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
It’s pretty simple, but you would be surprised how many skylight leaks are caused by not following the instructions. Skylights also leak due to damaged flashing, the component that seals the gap between the skylight and the roof.
This could be because of extreme weather, general wear and tear, or the flashing has reached the end of its lifespan. Just like flashing failing at the end of its lifespan, waiting too long for a replacement also leads to a leaking skylight.
While this isn’t necessarily caused by anything, it does lead to a leak because the materials have aged to the point where they won’t hold up anymore.
How do you fix a leaking skylight?
The only way to avoid and fix issues caused by a leaking skylight is to hire a great roofing contractor. Hiring a roofing contractor with skylight experience will not only fix any leaks, but they’ll install a skylight correctly to help you avoid leaks in the first place.
Now for a skylight that reaches the end of its lifespan, the only thing you can do is replace it. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know when it’s time.
But as long as you get annual roof inspections, your roofing contractor will keep you updated on your skylight and when you should replace it.
2. Condensation forming on a skylight
The next problem is one that most homeowners with skylights even know about it until it happens. This problem is condensation forming on a skylight giving it the appearance of a leak.
Condensation forms on a skylight when the warm air rises in your home and meets the cooler glass. This can lead to mold or mildew around the framing, peeling or bubbling paint on surrounding surfaces, or water dripping down on valuables.
Condensation is considered an internal problem, but it can also be caused by cracks, holes, and damage to the flashing around the skylight. No matter what’s causing condensation to form, it will cause damage if left unchecked.
How do you fix problems from condensation on a skylight?
Sometimes condensation gives the appearance that you have a leaking skylight. But in reality, it’s simply built up to the point that it starts to leak.
Unfortunately, most condensation issues can't be solved by repairs from a roofing contractor, except if external problems cause it. However, there are a couple of ways to prevent condensation from forming on a skylight.
The first way is to ventilate the room and allow the open windows to circulate the air. The second way is to set up a dehumidifier to extract excess moisture from the air.
Both of these ways help avoid condensation, and it’s a good idea to try both solutions to find out which works better for your home. Either way, it’s still not a bad idea to contact a local roofing contractor to check things out to ensure the leak is from condensation.
3. The extra light and heat a skylight adds to your home
Skylights are a great way to add more natural light and brighten any room in your home. Unfortunately, sometimes they can let too much light in, especially if you get multiple skylights or choose a larger size.
More sunlight means more UV light is coming into your home. The increased UV rays can harm and dull colors on furniture, carpets, and any other cloth objects.
Skylights can also add heat in the summer and lead to heat loss in the winter. This results in poor energy efficiency, which leads to your AC or heating unit working more.
Poor energy efficiency and letting more UV rays in are obviously an issue, but it’s to be expected. After all, adding a skylight is just like adding another window.
What can you do about the extra light and heat from a skylight?
The only real way to help with this problem is by adding blinds as an accessory to your skylight. The great thing about this is that you add blinds when buying your skylight or after it’s installed.
Skylight blinds not only help reduce the amount of light in the room, but they also help keep it cool in summer and warm in winter. You’ll have a few different blinds to choose from: manual, powered, or solar-powered.
Which one you choose is really up to you and where it’s installed on your ceiling. Just know that you get a 26% tax credit on the skylight itself and what it costs to install when you get solar blinds.
What do you need to know about getting a skylight?
Now you know 3 common skylight problems and what to do about them. While these aren’t the only problems that can occur with skylights, they are the most common.
And remember, you can avoid most skylight problems as long as you hire a reputable roofing contractor to install your skylight. Understanding these potential problems is the best way to avoid future issues when investing in a skylight.
But potential problems aren't the only thing you need to know about getting a skylight. That’s why I wrote another article breaking down the 6 things every homeowner interested in a skylight needs to know.
Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality skylight services to homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. We’re even trusted by the leading skylight manufacturer, VELUX, to install and replace their products.