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Leaking Skylight Repair: Fix Your Leaky Skylight

installing a skylight

Skylights are a beautiful addition to any home, allowing natural light to flood in and brighten up living spaces. However, like any other part of your home, skylights require regular maintenance and occasional repairs to ensure they continue to function properly.

In this guide to skylight repair, we’ll delve into:

  • Common signs of damage
  • DIY versus professional repairs
  • Maintenance tips to keep your skylight in top condition

What is a Skylight?

double skylight

Before we dive into repair tips, let’s first understand what a skylight is. A skylight is a window installed on the roof of a building to allow natural light to enter from above. Skylights come in various shapes and sizes, including flat, domed, or vented, and can be fixed or operable, meaning they can be opened to allow ventilation.

Common Signs of Skylight Damage

While skylights are beautiful, they can also be vulnerable to damage. Here are some common signs of damage:

  • Leaks: One of the most common signs of skylight damage is water leakage. If you notice water dripping or staining around your skylight, it’s a clear indication that there is a problem with the seal or flashing.
  • Condensation: Excessive condensation on the interior of the skylight can indicate poor insulation or improper installation, leading to potential damage over time.
  • Cracks or Breaks: Inspect the glass or acrylic dome of your skylight for any cracks or breaks, which can compromise its structural integrity and lead to leaks.
  • Fogging: If you notice fogging or moisture trapped between the panes of glass in a double-pane skylight, it may be a sign of seal failure.
  • Drafts: A drafty skylight can indicate gaps or cracks in the seal around the frame, allowing air to escape or enter the home, impacting energy efficiency.

Why Skylights Become Damaged

Several factors can contribute to skylight damage, including:

  • Age: Like any building component, skylights degrade over time due to exposure to the elements, leading to seal deterioration and structural issues.
  • Poor Installation: Improper installation can result in water infiltration, condensation problems, or structural damage.
  • Weather Exposure: Extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, hail, or high winds can cause damage to skylights, especially if they are not adequately protected or maintained.
  • Lack of Maintenance: Neglecting regular maintenance tasks such as cleaning gutters, removing debris from the roof, or inspecting seals can lead to premature skylight failure.

How to Fix a Leaking Skylight: 5 Repair Tips

skylight repair

Repairing a leaking skylight may seem daunting, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be a manageable DIY project. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1) Identify the Source:

Before you can fix the leak, you need to determine where it’s coming from. Inspect the skylight for any obvious signs of damage, such as cracked seals or flashing.

2) Clean the Surrounding Area:

Remove any debris, dirt, or moss from the area around the skylight to ensure a clean surface for repairs.

3) Seal Cracks or Gaps:

Use a waterproof sealant to fill in any cracks or gaps in the skylight frame or flashing. Make sure to choose a sealant specifically designed for outdoor use and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

4) Replace Damaged Seals:

If the seals around the skylight are damaged or worn out, they will need to be replaced. Carefully remove the old seals and install new ones, making sure to apply a generous amount of sealant to create a watertight seal.

5) Check for Proper Drainage:

Ensure that the skylight has adequate drainage to prevent water from pooling on the surface. Clean out any clogged drainage channels or install additional drainage if necessary.

Cost to Repair a Skylight

The cost of repairing a skylight can vary depending on the extent of the damage, the type of skylight, and whether you choose to DIY or hire a professional. On average, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $500 for basic repairs, such as resealing or replacing damaged seals. However, more extensive repairs, such as replacing the entire skylight or repairing structural damage, can cost upwards of $1,000 or more.

DIY vs. Professional Repairs

While DIY repairs can save you money, they may not always be the best option, especially if you’re dealing with extensive damage or lack the necessary skills and tools. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to tackle skylight repairs yourself or hire a professional:

DIY Repairs

  • Cost-effective for minor repairs
  • Requires basic DIY skills and tools
  • Can be time-consuming and may require multiple attempts
  • May void warranty if not done correctly

Professional Repairs

  • Provides expertise and experience
  • Ensures proper diagnosis and repair
  • Saves time and hassle
  • Guarantees quality workmanship and warranty protection

Ultimately, the decision to DIY or hire a professional will depend on your comfort level, budget, and the complexity of the repair.

How to Maintain Your Skylight

Preventative maintenance is key to extending the life of your skylight and avoiding costly repairs down the road. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your skylight in tip-top shape:

Clean Regularly:

Remove dirt, debris, and leaves from the skylight surface and surrounding area to prevent clogs and water buildup.

Inspect Seals and Flashing:

Check the seals and flashing around the skylight for signs of damage or wear and tear. Replace any damaged seals or flashing to maintain a watertight seal.

Trim Overhanging Branches:

Trim back any overhanging branches or foliage that could damage the skylight or obstruct sunlight.

Check for Leaks:

Periodically inspect the skylight for signs of leaks or water damage, especially after heavy rain or snow.

Schedule Professional Inspections:

Consider scheduling an annual inspection with a professional roofer or skylight specialist to identify and address any potential issues before they escalate.

Professional Skylight Replacement

Skylights are a beautiful and functional addition to any home, but like any other part of your property, they require regular maintenance and occasional repairs to ensure they remain in good condition. By understanding the common signs of skylight damage, knowing how to fix a leaking skylight, and implementing proper maintenance practices, you can enjoy the benefits of natural light while avoiding costly repairs and replacements. Whether you choose to tackle repairs yourself or enlist the help of a professional, investing time and effort into skylight maintenance will pay off in the long run, ensuring your home stays bright and beautiful for years to come.

O’Donnell Roofing is here to help you with a replacement skylight, or skylight leak. Contact us today to learn more!

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