Installing a skylight is often a necessity rather than a luxury, but it does give your home a sophisticated look.
No matter the reason, it’s an efficient way to keep water and dirt outside while providing you with the chance for maximum utilization of the room. No surprises, then, that most people are left scratching their heads when the skylight starts to leak.
Over time, all structures start to develop holes or gaps, so you have to be alert to address the problem and get it back to its proper shape. Apart from regular wear and tear, the turbulent weather could also impact your skylight. Therefore, a temporary fix isn’t the solution.
It would be best if you found a way to make sure that it lasts a long time after being fixed. Luckily for you, we have a certain amount of knowledge in that department, and hence, we have selected the best ways to repair a skylight.
Please pick up your tools, and let’s get cracking.
Learn How to Repair Your Skylight Today
Table of Contents
Determining The Origin of the Leaking
One of the first things you’ll have to do is find out what is causing the leak. Sometimes, what you might initially think to be a leak will turn out to be condensation caused by inadequate insulation along the sides, which predominantly happens in cold weather.
Furthermore, you may find that in a humid room, a skylight is prone to dripping moisture. When the warm, moist air comes in contact with the cold skylight glazing, it causes condensation, which comes down as water droplets. To solve it, all you need is to reduce the humidity in the room.
The more unfortunate possibility could be that there’s a leak that has made its way through the ceiling opening around the skylight. But if you’re unable to pinpoint the leak, you can use the garden hose to narrow down where the water is coming from.
So, turn it on, and as the water trickles down, carry out a thorough check of the lens, frame, and flashing of the skylight. After finding the source of the problem, you can move on to the repairs.
Ways to Repair A Skylight
Of all the reasons, in most cases, the problem usually lies with the sealant, which is applied during skylight flashing. So, follow these simple steps to fix the adhesive and address the issue.
- Firstly, you’ll have to lift the shingles and remove dirt and debris that have gathered under it. It’s a delicate part of the process, so remember to raise the shingles one by one to clear out the dust and other unwanted elements present underneath.
It keeps the passage clean and forms the foundation to reapply the sealant to prevent leaking.
- Next, you’ll need to use a caulking gun preloaded with tube roofing cement. You’ll have to apply the mixture before you can reattach the shingles, which involves prying the mastic out of place. The mastic is the thick black paper present under the roofing material where the flashing is in contact with the roofing felt.
So, once that’s off, you can apply the mixture in the caulking gun and replace the shingles by pressing down on them. Then double-check whether it’s staying in place and ensure that all gaps and holes are plugged.
- Make sure that you conduct a thorough check and seal all breaks and cracks. You can do so by opening the seams or joints in the flashing and using the roofing cement you had used before. However, you mustn’t accidentally seal the weep holes in the process.
Weep holes are designed to carry away water and are an intricate aspect of the skylight working correctly. Sealing them could lead to further complications; therefore, it’s essential to have a clear idea regarding the skylight structure.
- Moreover, ensure that the seal applied between the glass and the skylight’s frame isn’t leaking. If it does, you need to use a clear silicone caulk to cover up the openings. Appy it around the skylight lens where the sealant often weathers away after years of regular use.
Replacing The Flashing
Apart from these, the more serious consideration is replacing or repairing the metal flashing present around the frame, depending upon the damage. But only do that if you’ve exhausted all the steps we’ve mentioned so far.
If there’s no other option but to fix the flashing, start installing 6-inch wide strips of an underlayment. The underlayment must be waterproof, but most importantly, it has to be self-sticking to provide a lasting solution. It’ll prevent water from seeping through even if it manages to get through to the metal flashing and the roofing felt.
To install it, you need to begin at the bottom and work your way up. Apply each piece on top of the other to cover the entire area. On occasions, the situation may demand you replace the shingles to check the old flashing.
It’s necessary to do this because most skylights are usually placed on a watertight curb with a metal flashing. If you’re careful enough, you can reuse the old one, but if you’re unwilling or find it significantly damaged, you’re better off purchasing a new unit.
Next, it’s time to remove the counterflashing, often accompanied by removing the glass frame. Depending on the model, the removal method may be different, and for some units, all you need is to unscrew the metal channel from the curb. Once that’s done, you have to pry out the old shingles.
While doing so, ensure you remove the nails carefully to preserve the flashing. You won’t require any roofing cement to install it as the metal flashing doesn’t need to be sealed together. The primary purpose is to provide a channel for the water to run downhill, and what’s vital is attaching them in the correct order.
Upon completing the initial stages, proceed with the installation procedure by starting with the bottom flashing. It’s followed by the step and head flashing, and finally, the process is complete with counterflashing. Lastly, check whether the counter flashing is sitting on top of the step flashing, and be sure to plug any gaps.
To assist you a bit more, some of the lesser-known factors regarding skylight repairs are mentioned here. Many people fail to realize that if you used roofing cement during installation, then it’s bound to crack up over time. You can therefore plug the holes by first removing the old adhesive and replacing it with new cement.
Another factor for leaking is the poor installation, which happens to be a problem with DIY enthusiasts. If you haven’t installed skylights before, then it’s challenging to get the steps right on the first go.
The best thing to do is to contact a professional and perform the work under their supervision. Also, ask the person assisting you to check the insulation and avoid condensation by concealing it.
We’ve reached the end of our guide, and hopefully, you’ve got a better idea of how to repair a skylight.
There can be numerous factors that may cause the skylight to need fixing. Some of these problems may be more serious than others, and we’ve tried to point out how you can tackle them.
The key is to remain patient and assess the situation. Keep all the tools you need with you and, whenever in doubt, ask for expert advice.
That’s all for now. Take care, Adios!