home skylight showing blue sky

How To Repair a Leaking Skylight: Diagnosis & Repair

Into everyone’s life, some rain must fall…but what if it’s falling into your hallway, dining room, or bathroom? Skylights are a great source of natural lighting and letting in a little fresh air, but what happens when it leaks? With winter right around the corner, it’s not just rain you need to worry about. Sleet, ice, and snow are common sources for this headache.

When these windows leak, it’s usually because of poor installation techniques, including improper flashing and sealing. Sometimes you notice it right away, but other times it can take quite a while before the leak is apparent. Remember that, unless you built the window into your roof during construction, skylights rely on cutting holes into your roof.

How to Repair Leaking Skylights

Before you panic, take a closer look at your skylights. Is it actually a leak, or has condensation built up inside the window, like a car’s windshield on a cold day? Many skylights have a tray to catch condensate moisture, but it’s possible for this to overflow. If this doesn’t seem to be the problem, it’s time to take a look at the window’s installation.

Carefully get up on the roof if you’re able to do so safely, and have a trusted partner with you. Check the skylight, looking for:

  • Damages to the roof itself
  • Previous repairs that are now failing
  • Open seams
  • Flashing fails such as gaps, cracks, and pinholes
  • Signs that the window seams are failing, such as torn or worn seals

If it’s unclear where the leak is originating, you can pour water from a bucket or hose over the skylight and have someone inside see where the leak seems to be. Remember that water travels, however, and sometimes for quite some distance from the original leak source.

Let’s look at a few ways you can tackle a leaking skylight.

Clear Debris

Debris that has built up along the window can trap moisture, so make sure the roof is free of leaves, moss, and branches.

Cement Roof Flashing

Cement roof flashing will help repair the damaged existing flashing around the skylight. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper application.

Spray Foam

This is always worth a try, but again, may only be a temporary fix. Spray foam expands and hardens, making the skylight more leak resistant. Apply it at the base of the window from the outside, and add a bead inside around the window for good measure.

Replace Missing or Damaged Shingles

If the skylight’s surrounding shingles are missing or damaged, the gaps around it will increase and allow water to come in. If this is the case, you can replace the surrounding shingles and the flashing, but again, this is only a temporary fix. Missing shingles can also mean damages to the roof’s structure as well, and you may need to have that section replaced and the window reseated.

Check for Interior Issues

If you can’t locate the source of the leaking, there’s a possibility that there’s a problem with the drywall around the skylight. If this wasn’t properly insulated when the window was installed, it could be letting water in. Expose the area behind the drywall, and use your expanding spray foam in this area. 

Call the Skylight Pros

Unfortunately, the fixes we mention above are only temporary and in time, you’ll have the same problems you have now. Ultimately, a professional needs to come and look at the skylight’s installation and recommend permanent repairs. These can be difficult even for the best roofing contractors. In certain situations a complete uninstall and reinstall of the window may be necessary.

Contact us now so we can keep the winter moisture outside your skylight, where it belongs.

skylights in kitchen

The Beauty & Benefits of a Skylight

Few architectural details are more beautiful or inspiring in a private home than a skylight.

A well-chosen, an expert skylight installation not only brings approximately 30% more natural daylight into your living space, it can even save you money on heating and energy bills. Some are designed to give your home better ventilation, drawing warm air up to vent through and cooling a room to bring in fresh air.

Thinking about installing one is exciting and inspiring, but it also should also give you pause. After all, you’re contemplating having a hole cut in one of your home’s most expensive and important features—the roof. You can count on us to help you get it right…the first time!

The most important thing you can do to guarantee a pleasant process and a positive outcome is to hire a reputable company that uses quality materials to do the work. It’s far easier to get the work done right the first time than to try to address damages or recoup lost fees when you’re dissatisfied, so choose wisely.

Here are four considerations you should think about and discuss with your contractor:

Location

Exactly where your skylight is installed within your home’s footprint determines how much benefit you derive from it. Your rafters have a lot to do with placement, too. Securing a blueprint of your home will help you and your contractor select the best spot for your skylight.

In addition to the location on your roof, the angle or slope at which the skylight is installed will also affect the amount of light and solar heat absorbed into your home. A low slope typically admits more solar heat in summer and less in winter—which is the opposite of what most people want. Setting the skylight’s slope at roughly 10 degrees more than the geographical latitude of your home is often a good plan.

Glass

Skylights typically have tempered or laminated glass—which can break. If you have a lot of trees around your home, you need to understand that there is a risk of breakage to the skylight should a branch or bough fall on it. While tempered glass shatters into small, smooth pieces that fall to the ground, the film on laminated glass keeps the broken glass shards in place within the skylight’s frame—which is much less risky.

Mounting

Skylights can be curb-mounted or deck-mounted. Curb mounting requires a box structure for the skylight to be set on. If replacement is needed, curb-mounted skylights may not always need to be re-flashed, as long as flashing remains in good condition. Deck-mounted skylights have no box structure under them, giving them a lower profile that frequently results in greater energy efficiency

Features

Do you want to be able to open the skylight for ventilation? If so, would you like an electric, manual, or even solar-powered means of venting it? Are you concerned about letting too much passive heat and light into your home in the warmer months? You may want to consider factory-installed blinds over your skylight.

There’s a lot to consider, but a trustworthy, experienced contractor can help you through the process. Choose wisely, ask the right questions, make sound decisions, and prepare to enjoy the beauty and benefits of your skylight for years to come.

kitchen skylight

Skylights: Five Advantages You May Not Know About

Skylights are an attractive feature to add to a home for a variety of reasons. If you have been thinking about adding a skylight to your current home, or if you’re trying to decide whether it is worth adding one to a home you are building, the five advantages we have listed below may help you make up your mind.

#1 – Privacy Benefits

Wait a minute – how can punching a hole in your roof actually improve privacy? Well, it comes down to how you are going to access some natural light inside your home. Most people enjoy natural light, and if you don’t have a skylight, you will need to keep your shades open in order to let that light in. With a skylight, however, you can keep your shades closed and still have some nice light entering the space. This might not be as big of a deal in the living room, where the shades will often be open, but it can be great for bedrooms and bathrooms.

#2 – Environmental Benefits

We would all do well to use less electricity. By reducing our dependence on the power grid, we can do the environment around us a big favor. Toward that end, letting in natural light through the use of a skylight will allow you to keep the lights in your home turned off more frequently in the daytime. Adding just a couple of skylights isn’t going to dramatically reduce your power usage, but every little bit is a step in the right direction.

#3 – A Great Look

If you take pride in the way your home looks and you work hard to keep it in good condition, you may love what a skylight can add. The light they bring it can illuminate your home in ways that just aren’t possible with artificial lighting. Of course, if it is the aesthetic that you are worried about above all else, consider working with a professional designer to place your skylights in just the right spots.

#4 – Feel Good

Letting more sunlight into your home can improve your access to vitamin D, and vitamin D has been shown to boost mood in many individuals. If you live a lifestyle that has you inside throughout much of the day, it’s easy to feel a little bit down – even if you don’t know why. While adding a skylight certainly isn’t a guaranteed way to feel better, getting more vitamin D through sunlight access may be beneficial.

#5 – See Clearly

Do you have trouble seeing in parts of your home from time to time, even during the day? Depending on the design of your house, there might be some dark corners that are hard to illuminate even with artificial lighting. A skylight may solve this problem, at least during the daylight hours. As long as it is placed in the right spot, you can use a skylight to make it easier to see some of those notoriously dark spots in your house.

All You Need to Know About the Three Types of Skylights

house kitchen
If you are looking to bring natural light into a specific room in your home, a skylight may be the way to go. There are many benefits to opting for a skylight, as they can improve lighting, offer natural heating and cooling, and they can even make your room feel larger. Whether you are planning to sell in the near future or you will be living in your home for years to come, the addition of a skylight will add value to your property.

When the time comes to pick a skylight, you will need to sort through three options. The three types of skylights commonly found on the market today are fixed skylights, ventilating skylights, and tubular skylights. Below, please find more information on each of these three possibilities.

What is a Fixed Skylight?

When you picture a skylight in your mind, this is probably what you are seeing. A fixed skylight is the most common option, and it is also one of the best ways to go when seeking additional light. As the name would indicate, a fixed skylight does not open – it is simply a window in the ceiling. You may choose to add a fixed skylight in your attic, or maybe even a stairwell. The installation process for this kind of skylight is relatively simple and straightforward.

Feel the Breeze with a Ventilating Skylight

It should be no surprise that a ventilating skylight is a unit which can be opened to allow air into your home. Frequently these kinds of skylights will be used in areas of the home which are in need of air flow, such as the kitchen and the bathrooms. Of course, since skylights are often out of reach, many modern models are operated with a remote control. Or, you could have your skylight controlled by temperature, as the unit itself will respond to the temperature in the home and open or close accordingly. Picking a ventilating skylight is not going to be the right choice for every situation, but this option may be perfect in certain areas around your house.

Tubular Skylights are an Innovative Option

To bring light down into a relatively compact space, you may want to turn to a tubular skylight. Again here, the name says it all – these units are tubular in shape, as they stretch from the ceiling of the room in question on up to the roof of your home. When installed properly, the effect of a tubular skylight can be impressive. You will be able to light up a room just as you could with electric lights, except all of your switches will be off. As an added bonus, tubular skylights are relatively affordable and they are rather easy to install as well. Although they do not look the part of a ‘traditional’ skylight, they certainly have a lot to offer in the right situation. Before you proceed with a skylight installation, be sure to consider tubular options along with the fixed and ventilating models.

Six Benefits of Installing Skylights in Your Home

kitchen roof opening
If you have been thinking about ways to breathe some new life into your home – without having to move – you may want to consider a skylight installation. There are a number of ways in which these structures can help you enjoy living your home, and you might be surprised to learn just how quickly and easily one can be installed. Consider the following six benefits!

#1 – Add Daylight

Obviously, one of the biggest benefits to adding skylights is the natural daylight that you will welcome into your home each day. Rather than having to keep your lights on all day to see inside the house, allow the sunlight to come in and fill up your spaces. Even if you spend most of the day inside, you will feel as though you have been out thanks to the sun that comes pouring in.

#2 – Energy Efficient

As you already know, there is more and more attention being paid to energy efficiency these days. If you would like to lower your utility bill each month – and lessen your impact on the environment – consider adding a skylight or two to your home. These “openings” in the ceiling will let you keep your interior lights off more frequently, and you may gain some heating benefits as well.

#3 – Ventilation

Some skylights include the ability to vent to the outside, meaning you can take advantage of some natural air conditioning rather than having to use your appliance to do the same thing. This is another way that you may be able to save energy, and it can also introduce some fresh air into your house as well.

#4 – Save Money

This point goes along with the point regarding energy efficiency. When you use less electricity and other forms of energy, you will have lower bills each month – and everyone loves lower bills. Also, you may even be able to qualify for some tax credits thanks to the positive impact you are having on the environment.

#5 – Brighten Up a Small Room

If you have a few small rooms in your home – such as a hall bathroom – you may find that those spaces are uninviting due to their closed in, dark feeling. Rather than trying to expand the space, consider adding a skylight to make the room feel larger and more open. You won’t have added a single square foot to your home, but those small rooms will suddenly feel quite a bit bigger.

#6 – Privacy Benefits

Is your house within close proximity to your neighbors? If so, you may want to opt for skylights as a way to introduce daylight without a loss of privacy. It might not really be practical to install a big floor to ceiling window in your bathroom, for instance, but there should be no problem with bringing in a lot of light through the roof instead. Adding daylight to your home without sacrificing privacy is the best of both worlds.