A skylight is a gorgeous home addition that improves efficiency and visual appeal. But several homeowners are not sure about their service life.
While windows cannot substitute the grandeur, beauty, and light availability of a skylight, the latter is relatively difficult to maintain. The primary issue lies in accessibility since many houses have high ceilings, and as such, cleaning or repairing minor issues becomes a tedious chore.
However, that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy a skylight, as some simple steps before and after installation can contribute to longer service life.
Without further ado, let’s discuss skylight life expectancy in detail.
How Long Does A Skylight Last?
Typically, a skylight lasts anywhere between 8 and 15 years, based on quality and how well it has been installed. Other than these two factors, there are other elements that contribute to the functionality of these structures.
How To Maximize Skylight Efficiency And Service Life
Ideally, a skylight should allow sufficient sunlight to permeate through the transparent panes. It should enhance interior illumination, and as such, add to the overall aesthetics. That said, the skylight placement plays a key role in how the structure will work out in the long run.
Make sure to carefully integrate the skylight at an optimum angle, facilitating maximum light reception. A low slope roofing lets in more sunlight during summer, but if you want higher light intensity, a south-facing roof is your best bet. On the other hand, you could use a north-facing placement for softer light.
Well, there’s no sugarcoating here – maintaining a skylight does require some dedication and commitment. While you may not have to clean it daily, you must pay attention and watch out for early signs of damage.
Maintenance involves cleaning from both sides, as well as carrying out repairs to avoid leakage and cracks. Basically, it’s not like you can install and forget, because more often than not, it’s the lack of proper upkeep which reduces the lifespan of these roof systems. In case you find it hard to reach, get in touch with professionals for the job.
Factors Leading To Early Skylight Damage
Poor installation is usually the leading cause behind leaky skylights. This bit is basic, yet we cannot stress how often homeowners have to deal with a dripping roof due to shoddy workmanship.
Like every other fitting in your home, a skylight cannot serve its intended purpose if it’s not sealed properly or if it’s installed in the wrong location. Therefore, skill and experience are essential prerequisites for accuracy and perceivable perfection.
So, it’s best not to go down the DIY route in this case. As a matter of fact, a professional can suggest the ideal location and explain the installation process, so you can undertake the project at a suitable time.
Poorly Executed Repairs
For one thing, don’t call your neighbor to “help out” with this one. Chances are you’ll end up doing more damage than good. A leakage may seem fixable at first, but not all of us have the technical know-how to inspect the cause of damage and repair it efficiently.
Also, sometimes, when you apply a sealer or caulking to stop a leak as a temporary fix, it intervenes with the skylight’s “breathing room.” Basically, these structures should have enough room to expand and contract with changing temperatures. However, such faulty repairs can eventually crack or fracture the skylight.
Therefore, we recommend hiring a licensed roof contractor to repair any glitches. These professionals are trained to identify sealing, warping, and jamming issues, and hence, can help you out with the best possible solution.
Lastly, when there’s damage, the skylight has to be inspected from the outside. You don’t want to climb on the rooftop and end up in the emergency room because you missed your footing.
Too often, people have bought a low-quality skylight to save a few dollars, and it didn’t end too well for them. While you can choose between acrylic, glass, or any other material for the panes, make sure to invest in premium quality.
Ideally, your skylight should hold up against harsh weather conditions, fluctuations in outdoor and indoor temperatures, and regular wear and tear. However, a substandard skylight develops cracks early on, compromising its structural integrity. This eventually weakens the seal and leads to water leakages.
Does replacing a roof also require replacing the skylight? The answer is a resounding YES.
First of all, replacing a roof could negatively impact the structural integrity of the skylight. For instance, it can develop cracks due to pressure or form gaps between the panes. While it’s possible that the skylight remains intact during the whole renovation process and continues to function normally, it’s still not worth the risk.
In fact, several homeowners had to deal with a skylight failure right after a roof replacement, simply because they did not uninstall the structure. Furthermore, things could go the other way around too. Replacing an old skylight after roof installation can damage the new roofing material.
During winter, snow accumulation around the skylight eventually melts and creates leaks. Therefore, you must take precautions before winter arrives to prevent condensation and leakages.
We suggest hiring a roofing expert to get your skylights checked before winter. This way, you can undertake the necessary repairs to ensure the proper functioning of the system. At the same time, you could get in touch with dedicated roof snow removal services to get rid of excess snow, especially after a heavy spell.
Besides, when you plan your skylights with roofing contractors, they help you determine the best location to ensure minimum snow-related damage. So, it’s essential to get a professional opinion so you can enjoy your beautiful roof portal hassle-free.
When To Replace A Skylight?
Yellowing And Discoloration
Like any other structure, these roofing systems become yellow and discolored with age. The panes get murky and eventually lose visibility. Ultimately, it fails to let-in sufficient light, which is anyway its primary function. Furthermore, you may also notice peeling and bubbling on the drywall around the skylight, which is hardly a pleasant sight.
Long story short, if the skylight fails to fill your interior with abundant light, maybe it’s time for you to consider a replacement. However, seek the advice of a specialist before coming to a decision.
Cracks On The Panes
This is perhaps the most obvious sign that your skylight needs to be replaced. Cracks allow water and heat to enter your home, causing a whole lot of problems and annoyance. While they start small, the gaps eventually widen and spread across the surface. This not only reduces skylight efficiency but also increases your space heating costs.
Leaks are the worst problems when it comes to a damaged skylight. Always remember that a skylight, although resembles a window, is a part of the roof. Therefore, when your roof starts leaking, you gotta address the problem right away.
If you let the leaks persist, it could lead to more serious damage to the surrounding parts, causing mold, mildew, and peeling paint. You do not want the damage to take over the entire roof, when you can deal with it cheaply. Therefore, it’s best to replace a leaky skylight rather than undertaking patch repairs.
If you find condensation in or around the panes, it means that there is some problem with the sealant. Do not ignore it as condensation can compromise the functionality of your roof over time. In some cases, if condensation has been allowed to sit for too long, you may even have to replace the roof, which is expensive and unavoidable.
You don’t always have to replace your skylights only because of damage; it could also be a part of a home renovation and up-gradation project. Even if your skylight is in working condition, you can invest in better technology to increase efficiency and reliability.
Also, you can experiment with different styles, shapes, and designs. For instance, if you had a fixed skylight all along, you can get a vented one with built-in solar technology. Moreover, you can find remote-operated systems that allow you to open and close the panes without manual intervention.
That’s all from us.
We hope our detailed guide could provide you with sufficient information on skylight life expectancy and related factors. So, just go ahead and install this beautiful roof structure and enjoy the direct sunlight seeping through the panes.
Nevertheless, avoid going down the DIY path with this one, as you do not want to mess with your roof. Also, make sure to find the right professional for the job, who can even help you select a compatible model that’ll work best on your roof.
On that note, we’d like to take your leave. Till next time!