Roofing Learning Center

Skylights – Do They Always Leak?

Skylights Have Such A Bad Reputation For Leaking

Skylights are a popular addition to many homes, offering natural light and a view of the sky, which can make any space feel larger and more inviting. However, they have gained a reputation for being prone to leaks, raising concerns for homeowners considering their installation. This article will delve into whether skylights always leak, factors contributing to leaks, and best practices for skylight installation to minimize such issues.

Skylights in a bonus room

The Myth: Do Skylights Always Leak?

The idea that skylights always leak is a common misconception. While it is true that some skylights can develop leaks, it is not an inherent problem with all skylights. Several factors can contribute to leaks, but with proper installation and maintenance, these issues can be largely prevented.

Common Causes of Skylight Leaks

  1. Improper Installation: One of the leading causes of skylight leaks is poor installation. If the skylight is not properly sealed or flashed, water can seep through gaps and cracks.

  2. Age and Wear: Over time, the materials used in skylights can degrade, leading to leaks. This includes the seals, flashing, and even the glass itself.

  3. Design Flaws: Some skylights may be more prone to leaks due to their design. For instance, flat skylights are more likely to collect water than domed skylights.

  4. Roofing Issues: Problems with the roof itself, such as damaged shingles or inadequate slope, can also contribute to skylight leaks.

Best Practices for Skylight Installation

To ensure your skylight remains leak-free, it is essential to follow best practices during installation. Proper planning and execution can significantly reduce the risk of leaks.

Choose the Right Type of Skylight

There are various types of skylights, each with its own advantages and potential drawbacks. Choosing the right type for your home and climate is crucial.

  1. Fixed Skylights: These are non-operable skylights that are generally less prone to leaks compared to vented skylights.

  2. Vented Skylights: These can be opened for ventilation but may have a higher risk of leaks if not properly installed and maintained.

  3. Tubular Skylights: These are smaller and less likely to leak, as they have fewer seams and a simpler design.

Professional Installation

Hiring a professional for skylight installation is highly recommended. Professionals have the expertise and experience to ensure that the skylight is installed correctly, minimizing the risk of leaks.

  1. Proper Flashing: Flashing is a crucial component of skylight installation. It involves installing a watertight barrier around the skylight to prevent water from seeping in.

  2. Quality Sealing: Using high-quality sealants and ensuring that all seams and joints are properly sealed is essential for preventing leaks.

  3. Correct Placement: The location of the skylight on the roof can impact its susceptibility to leaks. Avoid installing skylights in areas with heavy water flow, such as near valleys or gutters.

Regular Maintenance

Even the best-installed skylights require regular maintenance to remain leak-free. Periodic inspections and upkeep can help identify and address potential issues before they become major problems.

  1. Inspect Seals and Flashing: Regularly check the seals and flashing around the skylight for any signs of wear or damage.

  2. Clean the Skylight: Keeping the skylight clean can prevent debris from accumulating and causing damage or blockages.

  3. Check for Condensation: Excessive condensation inside the skylight can indicate a problem with the seal or insulation.

They Don’t Always Leak!

Skylights do not always leak, but they require proper installation and maintenance to remain trouble-free. By choosing the right type of skylight, ensuring professional installation, and performing regular maintenance, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of natural light and sky views without the worry of leaks. When installed and cared for correctly, skylights can be a beautiful and functional addition to any home.