What You Need to Know Before Installing a Skylight
Wishing you could add more natural light to your home? Then you may be considering a skylight!
Skylights are a great choice to brightening up a space, but homeowners should be beware of some things before putting one in.
1. All Skylights Leak is a Misconception
Skylights have a bad reputation for always leaking. They get this reputation because a lot of installers fail to follow the installation instructions.
As long as your roofing contractor follows the manufacturer’s installation instructions, your skylight won’t leak as long as the materials hold up (up to 20 years). If your new skylight gets through the first rain without leaking, you’ll know it was installed properly.
On the other hand, if your installer doesn’t follow the instructions, you’ll have a leak coming directly from your skylight next time it rains. This makes proper installation crucial to your skylight investment.
2. Be Sure Your Contractor Has Installed Skylights Before
Remember, your installer must follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions to make your skylight leak-free. Wouldn’t it make sense to hire an installer with a history of following these instructions?
When investing in a skylight, it’s crucial to hire a local contractor who has experience installing skylights.
3. How long will you skylight stay leak-free?
Remember, your properly installed skylight will stay leak-free as long as the materials hold up. But how long until your skylight’s materials fail?
As long as your skylight is properly installed, it’s going to easily make it through the 10-year warranty and stay leak-free up to 20 years or until the materials fail. The materials fail when the factory seal between the glass and metal cladding is compromised, and water is getting in.
To keep an eye out for failing skylight materials that could lead to a leak, it’s crucial to have your skylight inspected as part of your annual roof maintenance inspection.
4. Know when to replace your skylight
Replacing your skylights at the right time can save you from a costly leak. If your skylights are around 20 years old, it’s a matter of time before the materials fail.
Even if they aren’t leaking yet, when you get a roof replacement we recommend replacing your aging skylights at the same time. If your skylights were installed 2 to 5 years ago, they shouldn’t need to be replaced.
Remember, your skylight should stay leak-free for its lifespan as long as it’s properly installed.
Energy efficiency, water tightness, sound reduction and other factors such as load and wind resistance are important considerations.
Explore additional options such as shading, UV coatings and ventilation.
6. The two types of skylight installation methods
There are two skylight installation methods, deck mounted and curb mounted. Both are good methods, but each is right for a specific situation.
A deck mounted skylight is made in a factory and is ready to go in the fitted opening as soon as you open the box. It’s installed by screwing down the skylight to your roof’s decking over the cutout opening, putting down protective ice and water shield, and finally installing the skylight’s specific flashing kit.
A curb mounted skylight is built on-site and is (usually) retrofitted to an existing opening. Your roofing contractor will have to build (out of plywood) the curb to fit the specific measurements. They do this to make the curb fit the existing hole inside and fit the skylight on the outside.
Once it’s built, your contractor will install your skylight to the curb. Unlike deck mounted, curb mounted skylights don’t always have a specific flashing kit. Be aware, your roofing contractor might have to make their own flashing to keep your skylight leak-free.