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How To Maintain Skylights

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

FUN FACT: Did you know that skylights are a recommended treatment option for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Coloradans are known for their love of solar panels and skylights. Both can bring an aesthetic appeal and wallet-easing benefits when installed correctly, OR hundreds of dollars in headaches if applied carelessly. This week’s installment in our Roof Penetration and Animal Prevention month is “Skylight 101: The Aesthetically Pleasing Roof Holes.” Fun, right?

So what do you need to know about skylights?

First thing’s first, they are what they sound like: holes in your roof envelope, filled with glass and metal, for your enjoyment. They are beautiful additions, but will require a professional touch to make sure they do not become sky-waterfalls instead of skylights. The image on the right shows the anatomy of a properly-installed skylight, complete with step-flashing and ice and water shield. Both are necessary to ensure that the seal around the curb is watertight. Some of the construction industry may say regular flashing is all you need; we’d rather be safe than sorry with this kind of work and provide a multiple layer water barrier than a single layer coverage.

Second, skylights themselves are fairly easy to maintain, but will require cleaning and a careful eye to look out for damage and water seepage after precipitation. Here are some easy steps to remember:

  1. Have a roofer or experienced contractor inspect your roof annually, making sure to look for roof material or curb damage around the skylight.

  2. Make a note to look at your skylight for evidence of water entrance after heavy precipitation. Mold is another key item to look for, as any moisture entrance can be evidence of a leak.

  3. Clean the glass of the skylight, at least once a year, to prevent buildup.

Lastly, the lifespan of a properly installed skylight is 8 - 15 years, barring hail or inclement weather damage. Upgrades and replacements will need to be scheduled accordingly. Keep all of this in mind when you are considering installing a skylight to your property. They will take time, money, and a watchful eye to maintain properly, but really are a beautiful addition to a room.

Stay safe and maintain your fancy roof holes,

The Roof & Gutter Guys Family

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