A skylight has many benefits, such as filling a dull room with natural light and bringing the outdoors inside. They are especially enjoyable during the longer, darker days of a Louisville, Kentucky winter. However, skylights come with some disadvantages. Most notably, they can often cause leaks in your home.

Whether you are considering installing a new skylight or you are having issues with an existing skylight leaking, we’re here to help. We take great pride in providing our customers with unmatched customer service before, during, and after their experience with us. This article will guide you through some common skylight issues and how to repair a skylight leak.

Condensation vs. A Leak: How Do I Know My Skylight is Leaking?

Water can leak through a crack in the skylight’s glass or, more likely, around the material’s edges. Strangely enough, your skylight can leak even if it’s not raining outside! If you suspect your skylight is leaking, it’s essential to act quickly. Issues left unchecked can cause severe damage, like rotting and molding the very structure of your roof. If you see warning signs such as a water stain at the skylight’s header or toward the peak side of your roof, your skylight likely leaks.

One important note, if you notice condensation on your skylight – it may not be leaking. Condensation does not necessarily mean a leak is present. Condensation may occur in an especially humid room such as a bathroom. The room’s warm, moist air reaches the skylight’s colder surface and condenses, causing water to drip.

However, large or frequent amounts of condensation can still cause issues such as mold and mildew around the frame and peeling and bubbling paint. Condensation is typically considered an internal issue but can also be caused by cracks or holes and damaged flashing.

Regardless of whether your skylight has a leak or condensation issue, it’s important to get these evaluated by a roofer or ventilation professional to ensure you prevent mold or mildew growth (and to ensure you don’t have any).

What’s Causing My Skylight to Leak?

After you’ve identified a leaking skylight, the cause of this leak could be due to a few reasons. We listed the five most common reasons homeowners find themselves with a leaking skylight.  

  • Damaged flashing – Skylights come in many varieties, but all skylights have a flashing system. Flashing is the metal surrounding your skylight, which connects to your roof. It is essentially the seal that is placed between the roof and the frame of the skylight. Over time, flashing can break down due to normal wear and tear and become damaged from exposure to hail, storms, and the elements. If your skylight is leaking and you do not notice any condensation, the leak is likely due to a flashing or seal issue.
  • Roof problems – Roof issues, such as loose shingles around the skylight, may cause leaks. Roof cement, especially if used to install the skylight, is another potential reason for leaks. If the cement cracks during weather extremes, water can seep through it when it rains.
  • The seal between the glass – If the seal between the glass and the skylight frame is leaking, it typically occurs near the glass on the downslopes of the skylight. Like caulk, this seal will eventually shrink and crack over time. Water may just leak in slowly at first, but unfortunately, there is no repair for this issue.
  • The age of your skylight and roof – Age is another potential cause of leaks. The likelihood of discovering a leak with your skylight increases with age. Similarly, shingles and other components begin to break down as your roof ages, possibly causing a leak. If your roof and skylight are over 20 years old – it may be time to replace both.
  • Poor Installation – Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. It’s essential to ensure an experienced, certified roofer does your repairs and replacements for skylight windows. The skylight must be fitted precisely to your roof and sealed in a way that compliments and works with your roofing system. If your skylight is not fitted correctly, leaks can occur a few weeks after installation. 

How do I Fix a Leaking Skylight?

To fix a leaking skylight, call a great (not just good, but great) Louisville professional roofing contractor. Be sure to ask about your roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty. You don’t want to risk any faulty installation issues with your repair.

You can do things on your own, such as making sure the skylight is fully closed and removing leaves, twigs, and dirt around it. While some websites may suggest DIY solutions, these will merely be Band-Aid fixes and could cause even more damage. For example, if you try to reseal the area between the glass and the frame, but the cause of the leak is damaged flashing – this will cause a whole host of new issues.

There’s really no way around calling a dependable roofing contractor to inspect your skylight and diagnose the root cause of the leak. Just because your skylight leaks does not mean you’ll need to replace the entire unit. 

Your roofing contractor may suggest several remedies that don’t involve replacing the window, including:

  • Resealing the unit 
  • Repair or replace damaged flashing
  • Make sure the skylight has proper insulation
  • Even adding a layer of roofing cement in the gap between the roofing and the edge of the flashing.

We recommend getting your roof inspected annually (it’s free!) as part of your yearly home maintenance plan. If you have a skylight on your roof, it makes annual inspections even more important. Issues with skylight flashing can be easily fixed or replaced entirely.

We recommend getting at least two opinions on your skylight issue to ensure you’re getting a fair assessment and repair cost. We’d love to look at your skylight leak and see if we would be a good fit for your project.

Next Steps

Improperly functioning skylights can cause leaks and let in hot and cold air – increasing your energy costs. While repairing a skylight leak can seem like a stressful and tedious process, we want to help you get your home back to its optimal function and help you prevent any serious damage from occurring. We’re proud of the stellar customer service accolades we’ve earned from the Louisville community.

Repairing a skylight takes experience and careful attention to detail. AIC Roofing and Construction has served the Central Kentucky community since 2003. We are part of the elite 2% of roofers in North America to hold the GAF MasterElite Certification. A certification we renew every year as part of our commitment to excellence. 

Our advanced credentials guarantee you access to the strongest warranties on the market. Schedule your free, no-obligation skylight inspection today! We want to help homeowners feel confident and make informed decisions throughout this process. From what questions to ask a roofing contractor to evaluating and comparing your roofing estimates, you can find help for every step of the process by visiting our Learning Center and YouTube channel.

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