A skylight can transform your home. A dark room with few windows or none at all can be filled with natural light — allowing you to cut down on energy bills during the day, and enjoy stars or city lights from inside your home during the night. But as great as skylights are, they do require maintenance and repairs from time to time.
Knowing when your skylight needs a repair or to be replaced completely is crucial for keeping your home safe. Here are the signs you need to watch out for.
1. Consider the Age of Your Skylight
While skylights have varying life spans, they may need replacing within ten to fifteen years. If your skylight is around this age, it’s best to have the skylight assessed for potential damage or wear. Doing so on a semi-consistent basis right around the ten-year mark and afterward will help ensure you catch any issues your skylight might have before it affects the rest of your roof or home.
2. Leaks or Water Damage
One of the more obvious signs your skylight needs repairing is if the skylight is leaking or you notice water damage around your ceiling such as molding or dripping. Water damage can quickly exacerbate and cause more serious issues to a roof or home interior if left unaddressed.
3. Cracks on the Skylight Glass
Another easily noticeable sign your skylight needs fixing is when there are visible cracks on its glass. Cracks will allow water through and into your home, and even if a crack is quite small to begin with, it can spread rapidly under temperature fluctuations. Eventually, cracked glass can become a safety issue, so repairing the damage as soon as possible is important.
4. Discoloration or Yellowing
A skylight serves two purposes: to let natural light into your home, and as a result, lower your energy usage. But if a skylight becomes yellow or discolored, it may not allow natural light to shine through. This hinders the efficiency of the skylight and can also be unsightly in your home. If you notice a significant decrease in the amount of natural light you receive from your skylight, it’s time to call a roofing company for assistance.
Skylights are sealed to prevent excessive amounts of air from traveling through and to prevent moisture from penetrating your roof and home. So if you happen to notice a strong draft coming through your skylight or hear a whistling sound, your skylight may have a broken seal. Broken skylight seals not only allow for moisture to get inside your home but can also cause you to see an increase in your heating and cooling costs as your HVAC system is battling outside air to keep your home at the right temperature.
6. Roof Damage and Replacement
If your roof sustains damage after a storm or due to the wind and ends up needing to be replaced, it’s advised that any skylights also be replaced at this time. As the roof area around the skylight is worked on, a skylight may fall out of alignment. This in turn can lead to leaks.
Which Skylight is Best for You?
If you’re replacing your skylight or installing your very first one, here are two options to consider.
Vented versus Fixed Skylight
Skylights can be both fixed and vented. A fixed skylight won’t move — meaning that it simply brings in natural light. A vented skylight, however, can be opened and closed. Allowing you to fill your home with fresh air on nice days.