Even if you would never personally choose to install a skylight, you can end up inheriting one or more of them when you purchase a home with skylights already in the roof. While these features certainly provide natural lighting, they can cause roof problems as well.
Whether you choose to put in a new skylight or simply close up the opening in the roof, you should consider removing your older and aging skylights for these five important reasons.
Risks of Leaks
Skylights can cause leaks directly, but they can also worsen secondary roof leaks that are far away. When water penetrates through flashing or missing shingles, it can travel along the wood deck of the roof until it reaches the skylight and uses it as a path to the interior of the structure.
If the skylight itself causes a leak, it could be from any part of the feature that has a leak. The seal around the glass can fail, the flashing around the base can have improper installation or rust away, or the curb supporting the skylight could develop a crack in it due to the natural swelling and shrinking of wood.
While your overall roof may be able to go years without maintenance as long as the shingles are in good shape and it has no leaks, skylights need annual inspections to catch the early signs of damage and leaks. If your skylight has gone a few years without maintenance or has an unknown history from a previous owner, have a roofing expert inspect it as soon as possible.
Even if you plan to simply remove the skylight, you should know what condition it’s been in for the past few years to find any damage it might have caused. And, the cost of removing a skylight will likely pay itself back within a few years after you eliminate the recurring inspection cost.
Today’s skylights are of much higher standards than those from the 1970s and 1980s. New skylights feature stronger seals that take longer to fail and start leaking, and installation methods are much less likely to cause roof damage than previously used practices.
If you love your older skylight but know that it’s aging, replacing it with a new model makes more sense than trying to maintain a poorly designed older unit. Upgrade to prevent future leaks and to enjoy your skylight for years with minimal maintenance repair costs.
Brand-new skylights aren’t just built better after years of real-world experiences, they also tend to include far more advanced features than you find in an 80s or 90s model. Vented skylights aren’t new, but reliable auto-openers are a relatively recent development. Some auto-opening systems even include moisture detectors to close the skylight if a rainstorm comes while you’re not home.
If you find the natural light from your current skylight too intense and glaring during certain parts of the day, automatic shading glass is a great option. Just like with shade-changing glasses, these skylights feature films that darken in direct light to prevent unwanted heating and glare in the room below.
Finally, many skylights are in areas that are difficult to access for maintenance or that increase the likelihood of leaks. Skylights should only be on medium to high slopes, but many homeowners still find older ones attached to low slope areas where pooling water can quickly find a way in.
Poor placement also leads to excessive light in unwanted areas or natural lighting in a rarely used room, defeating the purpose. Since older skylights often have poor insulation, poor placement can make a room colder than what’s comfortable even when the heat is on.
Let us here at Seagate Roofing and Foundation Services assess the health of your roof, including any older skylights, and make recommendations on the best course of action for stopping current leaks and preventing future ones. As a certified and preferred Velux installer, we have the experience and resources to provide you with the best skylights for your home.