How are skylights repaired? Very carefully!
Updated: Mar 1
As great as skylights are for providing natural lighting to a building’s interior, they are a potential problem when it comes to leaks. Installing a skylight into a roof requires the roofing structure to be opened up, and even when this is sealed close, the seams created are vulnerable to leaking. If you notice leaking from the skylight, the first step is to figure out if it is the caulking. Caulking breaks down very quickly in Florida's harsh climate.
With caulking, you may be able to address the problem yourself, but anything else will likely require a professional.
Skylight Repair Tips
Serious leaks can be seen from the inside. Look for water stains around the skylight. Confirm whether the damage is from a leak or from condensation and try to see how deep the leak goes. You will have to cut into the drywall to do this to see if the insulation has been affected or not. Mold in the drywall means the insulation has been affected by leaking water. The next step is to look outside. Check around the skylight for any visible damage including:
Gaps or cracks in the flashing cement
Flashing cement that has not bonded
Temperature changes (extraction and contraction)
Pinholes in the cement
How to Repair a Leaking Skylight?
If you spot leaking around a skylight, the roof is often the culprit. Water can also get inside if the skylight is not properly closed or when condensation builds up. If the skylight is the problem, there are typically only a few reasons that cause the leak.
Frame damage: The frame can get damaged over time, especially with temperature changes. To repair a damaged frame, you need to simply run a bead of caulk around the frame to seal it and prevent further leaking.
Flashing leaks: Every skylight has a flashing lining to help keep water out, but over time this can wear down. If the flashing loosens or wears away, the seal is broken and water can get inside. To repair this, you need to reseal or recaulk the flashing.
In some cases, the skylight may be damaged beyond repairs, which can occur if smaller problems are ignored. It is important to regularly check and maintain the roofing and skylight to ensure this does not happen. If your skylight needs to be replaced, it is similar to replacing a window. You will need to remove the materials and flashing from around the skylight as well as the glass and frame. This is a project that requires professional installation.
Regular maintenance of the skylight is essential for its lifespan and for the integrity of your roof. If you notice signs of deterioration like rusted flashing, missing materials, cracks, or pooled water, you should reach out to a licensed and insured roofing contractor right away. Small repairs can go a long way in preventing serious problems and more expensive replacements.