Roof Leak Repairs: Diagnosing And Repairing Leaky Skylights

Skylights can be a great addition to your property, providing natural light, the feeling of spaciousness, even lowering your utility bills. Yet, a leaky skylight can be an expensive road to major roof, drywall, and floor damage.

For starters, skylights must be installed correctly if you’re planning to enjoy them without issues. Inspections and maintenance are critical as well, but even if you take good care of your roof, skylight leaks may develop as a result of normal wear and tear.

Fortunately, many skylight leak repairs can be done quickly and inexpensively. Knowing what to look for can make any necessary repairs easier and more cost effective.

Roof Leak Repairs: Diagnosing And Repairing Leaky Skylights

Diagnosing And Repairing Leaky Skylights

Before you jump into diagnosis and repair, ask yourself the following 4 questions:

  1. Where’s the visual evidence of a leak? Do you see water stains surrounding the skylight, or water collecting in the skylight, itself? This could mean that your skylight was installed incorrectly, that the seal is deteriorating, or that the flashing was improperly placed.
  2. What is the age of your home? Many older skylights (15+ years) are made with a plastic flange border that rests on the shingles and sits a few inches below the skylight dome. As rain and snowmelt begin to flow around the flange bottom, you may develop a leaky skylight and require a roof leak repair. A roofing expert can help you replace your old skylight with a new, more efficient and top performing one.
  3. Is there a visual crack in the skylight? Cracks that surface in acrylic glazing or laminate glass may be repaired by replacing the dome. However, your roof leak repair may require total skylight replacement by a qualified contractor.
  4. Are the weep holes blocked? Over time, dirt and residue can build up in the drainage openings drilled into some skylight frames. These openings, called weep holes, can also become obstructed when roof sealants are applied. This problem may be remedied by simply reopening the weep holes with a small finishing nail or similar tool.

Skylight Leaks Due To Flashing Issues

When you notice water leaking from your skylight, the first step you must take is to locate the leak’s source. Water stains on the ceiling or puddles on the floor may be the first indicators of a problem. These can actually be great tools for identifying the source of the leak.

If the stain’s highest point is located at or near the top of your skylight, this may indicate a problem with flashing of the skylight. During bad weather, water rushing down the side of the roof at high speeds may run between the roof’s shingles and the skylight, creating leaks.

Additionally, much like a poorly installed roof, a skylight that is not placed correctly can lead to skylight leaks throughout the year. To remain watertight, skylights require appropriate flashing and tightly sealed joints. Mounting the skylight’s frame above the roof’s surface and adding a lip can help prevent water problems.

NEXT STEP: Make sure your roof’s flashing and seal are properly replaced by a professional roofer. 

Skylight flashing is made of plastic, rubber or (most commonly) metal. The flashing connects the roof and the skylight together in a waterproof seal. While some homeowners settle for a temporary fix of inserting roof flashing cement around the skylight’s flashing, this is not enough to guard against future leaks during severe storms. Ultimately, flashing should be replaced and resealed by a professional contractor (without voiding your roof warranty).

When repairing your skylight leak, we’ll also examine vent flashing and other roof penetrations to ensure that the leak is not traveling to the skylight from another location. If you are having a new roof installed, this is an ideal time to have your skylight inspected for leaks.

Skylight Leaks Due To Condensation Problems

If you notice a stain at the bottom of your skylight, the problem may be due to excess condensation. Too much condensation in or around the inside of your skylight is another common cause of leaks. Condensation is a natural result of humidity, and often builds up during rain storms. When too much condensation gets trapped in part of a skylight, it may lead to leaks.

Closely inspect the condensation channel – the part of the skylight that is designed to catch any excess condensation and allow it to evaporate back into the air. If this channel becomes damaged or clogged, the resulting build-up of condensation may cause your skylight to leak.

Problems related to excess condensation may be worsened by skylight tunnels. Skylight tunnels reduce air flow, which increases humidity. Making sure your skylight tunnel is well-insulated can dramatically reduce the amount of condensation that builds up in this area, which can help you avoid skylight leaks.

NEXT STEP: Have your contractor check condensation channels and skylight tunnels!

A thorough inspection by your local roofer is the best way to go. They will check your skylights for potential problems, diagnose the issues and offer solid repair solutions.

Handle Skylight Leak Repairs Right Away

Skylight leak repairs are among the most common roof leak repairs typical roofers are dealing with. When it comes to repairing leaks in your skylight, the sooner you act the better so make sure to address any leaks as soon as you notice them. Knowing where to start and what to look for can help you save time, effort, and money on your skylight leak repairs.

Some skylight leaks are simple and are easily handled by do-it-yourself homeowners, but if you’re experiencing severe interior effects, such as ceiling staining or flooring damage, call LGC Roofing contractors to inquire about our skylight leak repair services.

Family-owned and operated, we are is a reputable roofer known for honesty, integrity and cost-effective pricing. Our dedicated roofing professionals have over 30 years of roofing experience, and we’re familiar with the ins & outs of virtually every type of skylight system.

Call 609-712-8157 in NJ or (215) 932-7850 in PA for your FREE ESTIMATE today!

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