Skylights provide the gift of natural light and are a purposeful and pleasing enhancement to bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and other rooms throughout the home. To fully enjoy the many benefits of skylights, selecting the right type of skylight for your roof and desired functionality, proper installation and routine roofing service and skylight maintenance are crucial in helping to prevent skylight leaking or other roofing concerns. However, as skylights age or continually experience heavy rains and other severe weather, leaking may happen. Find helpful information below about how to detect and respond to a leaking skylight, as well as some of the factors that influence repair and replacement needs.
What Signs Indicate that a Skylight is Leaking?
Proactive home assessment especially after heavy rain and other significant weather events is essential, as it can help reveal any new or existing roofing repair needs or any skylight concerns. Here are 4 common signs of a leaking skylight that you may see:
- Dripping water or water puddles in close proximity to the skylight and skylight frame generally point to a leaking skylight.
- Condensation on the inside of the skylight may reveal insulation or sealing issues, and it may also be a precursor to more substantial water leakage or the mold and mildew growth that often occurs in high moisture areas.
- Water stains and peeling paint or wallpaper may indicate a leaking skylight. Carefully, check the walls and ceilings around any skylights, especially after heavy rain.
- Damage or other compromises to the wood frame around the skylight suggest an ongoing leaking problem.
In addition to missing or weakened roofing shingles or other materials, skylights with damaged flashing, ineffective seals and joint deterioration can result in skylight leaks. These causes of leaking skylights may be more challenging to determine, so calling a professional skylight contractor is the best way to learn what needs to be done and prevent further damage.
What Should I Do If I Find a Leaking Skylight?
Once you see signs of a leaking skylight or suspect that there may be a problem, take action immediately. After calling a local roofing contractor, like Ranch Roofing, you may consider the steps below to help you prevent further damage.
CAUTION: Before attempting any of the following steps, prioritize your safety and that of other individuals or pets in your household. If there is any possible chance that the leaking water may be carrying any electrical current from encountering wiring or other fixtures, wait for the skylight and roofing professionals.
- Turn off the power to prevent electrical hazards or contact between water and electrical fixtures or outlets.
- Prevent additional damage to your flooring, furniture or other items by putting tarps or other coverings on those items and over the skylight or using towels or buckets to collect dripping water.
- Document damage for use by roofing professionals or insurance providers, as applicable.
- Consider using dehumidifiers or fans to reduce moisture accumulation, if it is safe to do so or under the guidance of your roofing team.
Since there may be additional structural damage to the roofing system or other parts of the building, immediate action is imperative and follow-up routine inspections can help identify any issues stemming from leaking skylights.
Is It Better to Repair or Replace a Leaking Skylight?
Determining whether it’s possible to fix the leaking skylight or if a leak means that the skylight is beyond repair depends on the cause of the leak and how much damage occurred. Before any decisions can be made, the roof repair experts will need to determine the source of the leak. They will also need to remove any leaves, broken shingles or other debris from the interior and exterior areas around the skylight and clean the area. Then, the following findings will help inform whether a skylight repair or replacement should the next step:
- Minor leaks or gaps: If these issues are the source of the leaking skylight, sealing or caulking may be the only necessary repairs.
- Damaged or incorrectly installed flashing: Flashing is the key to preventing skylights from leaking. If there is an issue with the flashing, the decision to repair or replace will depend on the extent of the flashing problem.
- Seal deterioration: Seals around the skylight become worn down by age or continuously heavy rain. Consequently, the skylight may be more prone to leaking, but the seals can be replaced.
- Cracked panes: If the glass or acrylic panes have any cracks in them or are otherwise damaged, they will most likely need to be replaced and new seals will need to be installed.
If the inspection reveals more than one of the above issues, the more affordable option may be to replace the skylight instead of repairing multiple problems.
- Skylight history and age: If a skylight has been leaking repeatedly, the quality of the skylight or its fit for a particular roof may be the root issue, and replacing the skylight is likely. If it has already had several repairs related to leaking or to deterioration in the flashing, frame or seals, a replacement may again be advisable. Like a roof’s lifespan and related replacement timing, skylights may also need to be replaced after they have reached a certain age, as issues like leaking or increased repair needs may start to arise.
- Roofing system upgrades: If you’ve recently updated your roof but not your skylight, a leaking skylight may result from a sealing or compatibility issue. If you are considering a new roof replacement and upgrading your skylights to a more modern or energy efficient design, conducting these improvements at the same time can be a mutually beneficial and more cost-effective skylight installation plan.
If you have discovered a leaking skylight, want to upgrade your skylight or are interested in any other roofing-related services, Ranch Roofing is here to discuss your questions with you or provide free estimates on your upcoming project. Our roofing specialists have proudly supported residential and commercial property owners throughout the greater Boston area for over 25 years, and we look forward to continuing to expand our client family by treating your skylight and roofing installations as our own. To begin your skylight or roofing update, contact us today!