What to Do for Leaky Skylights!

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windows, doors, & trim work-home information guruIf left alone, leaky skylights, can cause major home damage

During the day skylights allows natural light to illuminate a living space and provides a beautiful view of the stars in the evening. When skylights are slightly opened, it also is great for ventilation, allowing cool air inside and naturally lowering living space temperature. Despite these wonderful features, skylights can become the cause of a major leak. home informaton-skylights-home improvement ideas


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Leakage Causes

Because skylights are an entirely separate unit from the roof and is constructed using different materials, this can lead to a multitude of problems which, if not immediately remedied, can cause a roof to deteriorate more rapidly. Some of the problems are listed below:

  • Poor Insulation During cold weather, small droplets coming from skylights does not always mean leaking; often times it is simply indoor moisture condensation against a cold glass pane. The reason this happens is often due to a lack of insulation. Even though the moisture is not from the outside, it can still cause damage.
  • Loose Flashing The frame for skylights are usually sealed to the surrounding roofing materials using thin metal strips called flashing that is secured with a sealant. While this is the proper material for the job, constant exposure to the elements can cause it to loosen and allow water to leak.
  • Poor Glass Seal This transparent, glass material is seated and sealed to the skylights frame using rubber-like seals; however, most of these products turn brittle over time due to constant exposure to the sun. Eventually, it can form cracks and become a source of water leaks.
  • Thermal Shock A roof can expand when subjected to heat, which is known as thermal expansion. Because skylights and their frames are made from a different material than the roof, it will expand differently than the rest of the structure. The difference in this movement can cause gaps to form usually around the flashing, often leading to severe leaks. Leakage Testing It is important to determine if there are leaks before making any type of repairs since condensation can mimic a leak and repairs would be different. Water could appear to be coming from the skylights when it is actually coming from another spot. Tests should be performed to validate and eliminate other possibilities.Any tests should be done during warmer weather so the roof is dry and not slippery. Take a hose up to the roof and run water from above the skylights so that all the flashing is soaked; then observe the underside for leaks. Any water below indicates a problem with the flashing. Next, run water directly over the glass. If water comes through gaps between the glass and framing, this means there is a glass seal problem.

Repair Procedures

The approach towards skylight repair depends on what is causing the leak. home information-skylights-home improvement ideas

  • Condensation – The best way to fix this issue is by injecting insulation foam into the space around the frame to prevent cold temperatures from causing this problem.
  • Loose Flashing First determine what has caused the flashing to loosen; is it from poor sealant, strong winds, or thermal shock. If sealant is the problem, then repairing it is simply a matter of reinstalling a durable sealant; for either of the other two issues, a professional roofer should be contacted since the problem could be in the roof itself.
  • Glass Seal This problem can be easily remedied by replacing the cracking seal with a silicone based one which has better resistance to brittleness and provides a better seal.
  • Frame This component should also be examined for any problems such as gaps or a cracked, brittle or loose rubber seal.In summary, fixing leaks caused by faulty skylights can be easily remedied. It is just a matter of finding the source and repairing it. If the job seems to be overwhelming or too unsafe for a handyman repair, then a professional roofer should be contacted who is better equipped to tackle the repair of leaky skylights!

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