Many homeowners love the look of skylights — they let in plenty of natural light, even during the darker months, and they go a long way to bring nature into your home. That said, homeowners are also wary of skylights, because of the reputation they have for developing costly roofing leaks.
Here at Werner Roofing, we install quite a few skylights a year, and we’re happy to say that when installed and maintained properly, a skylight can last you just as long as the roof itself. But, if you’ve recently moved into an older home, or if your roof and skylights are getting a little bit older, you still might experience a leak or two. If you do, here’s how to take action to keep your roof, your home, and your family safe:
First, Rule Out Condensation
If you suspect your skylight is leaking, first take a good look at the leak, and observe exactly when you’re noticing the leak happen. Is it just when it’s raining or snowing, or do you notice it happening a lot in the winter, too?
Sometimes, a skylight that’s been poorly insulated will collect condensation due to the differing temperatures between your house and the cold or humid outdoors. If condensation is the problem, and not a true leak, you probably don’t need to call a roofer. Instead, you’ll need to install more insulation around the skylight on the interior, ceiling side.
Inspect the Source of the Leak
Once you’ve ruled out condensation, it’s time to figure out where the leak is really coming from. In general, there are two major culprits:
There’s a leak between the glass and the skylight frame
If water seems to be seeping through between the glass of the skylight and the skylight window frame, then your roof probably isn’t the problem. This is more likely due to the age of the skylight itself. As skylights age, sometimes their weather seals dry out and crack, and over time general wear and tear can cause them to pull away from the glass.
If this seems like the type of leak you have, you might try caulking around the glass with clear, silicone caulk. It’s good to know that you should try and wait for a very dry day when there’s no water in the window. When water becomes trapped in between the panes of glass and the weather seal, your skylight could look permanently foggy because of the moisture that’s stuck in there.
If water does become trapped in the skylight following your caulking attempt, the only way to fix the fog is to replace the skylight.
There’s a leak between the skylight frame and the roof
If you’re noticing water seems to be leaking from your skylight, but the ceiling around it is a little damp too, then you’re probably looking at a leak that is the fault of the roof. Most of the time, these leaks happen when the flashing on the skylight and the roof around the skylight wear out, but they can also happen if the skylight was improperly installed.
In this case, your best bet is to call a roofer. Leaks like this are more serious because if they’re left unchecked they can grow to affect other parts of your roof.
That said, a skylight leak on the roof side is a fairly easy fix, especially if the flashing is to blame. When you call a reputable local roofer that you trust, they’ll come out to make an inspection, and let you know for certain what’s happening. If the flashing is to blame, they’ll tear off the existing flashing, and install new around the skylight.
If the skylight itself was poorly installed, the repair might take a little bit more work, but your roofer should be able to make the necessary adjustments to stop the leak.
In the end, nearly all skylight leaks are fixable, and most of them aren’t a big problem unless you wait far too long to address them. If you notice a skylight leaking, it’s always better to take action right away, rather than wait for the leak to get worse.
Do you have a leaking skylight? If you’re noticing a drip that you’re not sure how to fix, Werner Roofing is happy to help. Give us a call at 616-844-5382 or contact us online for your free estimate today.