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How to Repair a Leaking Skylight

September 29, 2023

Skylights are a wonderful addition to any home or commercial property, providing natural light and a unique view of the sky above. However, a leaking skylight can quickly turn this feature into a source of frustration and potential damage. If you're dealing with a skylight leak, it's essential to address the issue promptly to prevent further problems. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of repairing a leaking skylight and provide valuable tips on maintenance to ensure a leak-free skylight for years to come.

Identifying the Cause of the Leak

The first step in fixing a leaking skylight is to identify the source of the problem. Determining the cause will help you implement the most effective repair strategy. Here are some common causes of skylight leaks:

  1. Damaged flashing: Flashing is the metal or rubber material that seals the connection between the skylight frame and the roof. Over time, flashing can deteriorate, crack, or become loose, leading to water penetration.
  2. Cracked skylight glass: Glass skylights can develop cracks due to severe weather conditions, falling debris, or improper installation. These cracks can allow water to seep into the skylight frame and cause leaks.
  3. Incorrect installation: Improper installation can leave gaps and spaces around the skylight, allowing water to enter during rain or snowfall.

To determine the exact cause of the leak, inspect your skylight thoroughly. Look for signs of damage, such as cracked glass, deteriorated flashing, or gaps around the skylight frame.

Gathering the Necessary Tools and Materials

Before embarking on your skylight repair journey, make sure you gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here's a handy checklist:

  • Flashing replacement materials (metal or rubber, depending on your skylight type)
  • Skylight sealant or silicone
  • Caulk gun
  • Ladder or scaffolding (if necessary)
  • Safety equipment, such as gloves and goggles
  • Cleaning materials (for skylight maintenance after repairs)

Using high-quality materials is crucial for a long-lasting and effective solution. Cheap or subpar materials might only provide temporary relief and result in recurring leaks.

Step-by-Step Repair Process

Now let's dive into the step-by-step process of repairing a leaking skylight. Before we begin, it's important to note that while some minor skylight leak repairs can be successfully done by homeowners, complex repairs or recurring leaks often require the expertise of a professional roofing contractor like IBEX Roof. Safety should always be a top priority when working at heights.

Step 1: Safety precautions and working at heights

  • Secure the ladder or scaffolding and ensure a stable and safe working area.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves and goggles.

Step 2: Temporary measures to prevent further water damage

  • If you notice an ongoing leak, use a bucket or any other container to catch the water and prevent it from damaging your floor or furniture.
  • Place a tarp over the skylight temporarily to stop rainwater from entering until you can complete the repairs.

Step 3: Repairing damaged or deteriorated flashing

  • Carefully remove the damaged flashing using a pry bar or a similar tool.
  • Clean the area around the skylight frame, removing any debris or old sealant.
  • Install new flashing, ensuring a tight and secure fit against the skylight frame and the roof. Use roofing cement or an appropriate sealant to create a watertight seal.

Step 4: Replacing cracked skylight glass

  • Measure the dimensions of the cracked glass and order a replacement from a reputable supplier.
  • Remove the damaged glass carefully, using caution not to break any surrounding glass panels.
  • Install the new glass, following the manufacturer's instructions precisely. Apply silicone or sealant around the edges to create a secure and waterproof seal.

Step 5: Correcting any installation errors

  • Inspect the area around the skylight frame for gaps or spaces.
  • Fill any gaps with silicone or sealant, ensuring a tight seal between the skylight frame and the roof.

Step 6: Properly sealing the skylight to prevent future leaks

  • Apply a waterproof sealant or silicone along the edges of the skylight frame, ensuring a complete and secure seal.
  • Inspect the entire skylight assembly for any additional potential areas of leakage and address them accordingly.

Tips for Maintaining a Leak-Free Skylight

Regular maintenance is key to preventing future skylight leaks. Here are some essential tips to keep your skylight in optimal condition:

  1. Inspect your skylight periodically: Check the flashing, sealant, and glass for any signs of deterioration or damage. Promptly address any issues you notice.
  2. Clean the skylight and surrounding area: Regularly remove debris, such as leaves or branches, from the skylight and clean the glass to ensure proper water drainage.
  3. Improve ventilation: Proper ventilation around your skylight can prevent moisture buildup and reduce the risk of leaks. Consult a professional roofer to assess your ventilation needs.

When to Seek Professional Help

While minor repairs can often be handled by homeowners, it's important to know when to seek professional assistance. Consider these situations:

  • Complex or recurring skylight leaks: If you've tried to repair the skylight multiple times without success or if the leaks are severe or recurring, it's best to call a professional skylight contractor like IBEX Roof. They have the expertise and experience to diagnose and fix complex skylight issues effectively.
  • Need for skylight replacement: If your skylight is old, severely damaged, or beyond repair, a professional can guide you in replacing the entire skylight. They can ensure proper installation and provide recommendations on the best type of skylight for your specific needs.
  • Safety concerns: Working at heights can be dangerous, especially for individuals without experience or proper safety equipment. If you have concerns about your safety or if the repair job requires specialized equipment, it's best to hire a professional and avoid potential accidents.

Remember, the cost to repair a skylight will depend on various factors such as the extent of damage, the type of skylight, and the complexity of the repair job. It's always a good idea to consult with a professional roofing company for an accurate assessment and cost estimate.

In conclusion, a leaking skylight can cause significant damage if not addressed promptly. By following the steps and tips outlined in this blog post, you can effectively diagnose and repair skylight leaks. However, if you encounter complex issues or if safety is a concern, it's best to seek the assistance of a professional skylight contractor like IBEX Roof. Their expertise and commitment to quality will ensure a long-lasting and leak-free skylight for your home. Don't let a leaking skylight dampen your enjoyment of natural light and beautiful views; take action and repair it today!

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