Skylights are like having a window on the roof. They add an aesthetically pleasing look to the place in which you live. They bring in a lot of natural sunlight and save on the electric bill as well. Here in Florida, our electric bill can be high in the summer months so when we have a skylight, this helps with keeping the bill lower. What if you come home and you notice that during a rainstorm your skylight is leaking?
How do you fix a leaking skylight? You need to diagnose the issue and know how to fix it. Also, know about common repairs that you may be able to do yourself or call a professional to help. There are several reasons it could be leaking so we will take a look at those.
Let’s take a look at why you need to know how to fix a leaking skylight, diagnosing the issue, common repairs, results, other maintenance, and when to call a professional.
Why You Need to Know How to Fix a Leaking Skylight
Skylights are so nice to have in the home, but unfortunately, one of the issues is that they leak. This is especially true here in Florida because of the weather events we have throughout the year. There are ways that you can fix the skylight yourself but also some will require a professional. Diagnosing the problem is the first step and what is needed to move on to fixing the issue. If it is ignored, it can lead to mold and other issues in the home.
Diagnose the Issue and How to Fix It
Some areas of the country have high levels of humidity. Unfortunately, this along with the use of air conditioners can cause water to drip down the skylight. If the skylight is in a bathroom or another area of the home with high humidity, fix the humidity first and see if it takes care of the issue.
Fix: Check to see if this is the problem by reducing the humidity in the room. This can be done by adding or fixing the vents and also using a dehumidifier.
Dirt in Track of Skylight
If the skylight opens up, there can be dirt in the track and this can cause it to not close all the way. Thus, allowing water to leak in as well as pests into the home.
Fix: Open up the skylight (if it opens) and clean the debris and dirt off the track. Close the window back up and use a hose to spray from the outside to see if there are any leaks.
Water Sealant Can Wear Away
Skylights, as well as windows, have sealants to keep the water out. However, just like with anything, these do wear away and need replacing. This is the most common issue with skylights.
Fix: Replace the sealants and this is simple and can be done easily by the homeowner. You can also try caulking to see if that works.
Sometimes there is a shingle missing or a tile and this can allow water to come in.
Fix: Survey your roof and see if there is a shingle or tile missing and have it fixed. If by chance you have a metal roof over shingles, this will be a problem and you need to contact a professional.
Common Repairs for Skylights
We know that sealants are the most common issue for leaking skylights. The second most common is damage to the glass where the glass meets the frame. Unfortunately, if the glass is cracked, the only way to fix it is to replace the skylight.
On the other hand, if the leak is where the skylight meets the roof, the flashing can be repaired by using roofing and paper cement. However, it is recommended that a professional do this for you.
Lastly, some skylights are made with material that rusts or rots so they will need replacing. Here is an example of a skylight that doesn’t rust, has a 20-year warranty, and also has the flashing added in to prevent leaking.
Results If You Do Not Fix a Leaking Skylight
If you ignore the issue, several things can happen:
Mold will form – water leaking into the house will cause not only a dripping ceiling but also mold will form. If the skylight is in the attic, mold can form on the trusses. If the skylight is over a place that has carpet, then the water can cause mold to grow on the carpet.
You can fix this if it is a 3×3 area, but any larger than that needs a professional. Lastly, before using bleach, try pouring baking soda over the spot on the carpet and then letting it sit overnight. Then, use white vinegar to clean it up and a brush. If this doesn’t work, then you can try bleach and make sure you have protective gear on and test for color issues.
Ruined Furniture and Appliances – depending on what area of the home the skylight is in, you can ruin what is below them (such as furniture) with the dripping water. Also, if there are appliances below, the water dripping can cause it to short out or worse – an electrical fire.
Other Maintenance In the Home
Use a roof inspection checklist– this checklist can help you to know what areas of the roof to check for maintenance and to find issues before they become problems.
Moss on the Roof – if you see moss growing on the roof, you need to take care of it right away. It can affect how the water runs off the roof and it will miss the eaves which keep water off the walls and from going inside the home. Moss can also backup the gutters and affect the ability of the water to get to the downspouts and away from the home. Also, it can cause water to leak into the home when a gutter backs up.
Look at the Ceilings– take a look at the ceilings in the home to see if there are any water stains. These can be a sign of a new problem, or possibly an existing problem. An upstairs bathroom, an air handler on the 2nd floor, or even the roof may be the culprit. Not sure what it is? Contact a professional to take a look for you.
When to Call a Professional
Call a professional if you have a leak and not sure if it is from the skylight or another area near there. Walking around on the roof is not a good idea so a professional can come out and check the shingles for you and help you find the problem.
Hopefully, it is something as simple as fixing the sealant, but it can be more than that. Also, having a professional take a look at your skylight issues is a great idea as they can be tricky to maintain and take care of and you don’t want some who is not trained to do this. It can lead to more repairs down the road and you don’t need the headaches or the expense.
Having a skylight does not take a lot of maintenance but it is a good idea to keep an eye on them for any leaks. As mentioned above sealants do wear out and tracks get dirty. Maintaining these areas will help you get a lot of years out of your addition to your home. Inside and Out Property Inspectors can inspect your skylights and roof during a home inspection in Jacksonville, Orange Park, St. Augustine, and all of Northeast Florida.