Skylights and roof windows are fantastic additions to any home, flooding rooms with natural light and fresh air. However, leaks can quickly dampen the benefits, leading to water damage and costly repairs. Luckily, understanding the cause of these leaks is the first step towards a solution. Many skylight leaks are simple DIY fixes, requiring minimal effort and tools. But if you own a commercial building or lack DIY confidence, don’t hesitate to call a qualified roofing contractor. They possess the expertise to diagnose and repair even the most stubborn leaks, ensuring your skylight or roof window continues to brighten your space without worry.

a skylight with water droplets, indicating a leak

Do Skylight Leaks Occur?

Skylight and roof window leaks can be a major headache for homeowners. Don’t let a drip ruin your day! Two common culprits cause these leaks, and understanding them is key to finding the right fix. Whether it’s a simple seal issue or a bigger problem with the flashing, knowing what you’re up against empowers you to take action. We’re here to equip you with the knowledge you need to tackle these leaks head-on. So, let’s dive into the causes and get your skylight back to its leak-free best!

Leaks in the Winter

Does your skylight only leak during chilly weather? Condensation could be the culprit! When warm, humid air encounters a cold skylight or roof window, it forms water droplets that drip into your living space. How to tell? Keep an eye on your skylight during different weather conditions. If you see fog, condensation, or moisture during colder periods without rain, it’s a telltale sign. Other clues include fog on interior windows, mold or mildew growth, and peeling paint. Even everyday activities like cooking and drying clothes can contribute to condensation if your home lacks proper ventilation.

Leaks In Heavy Rain

Rainy days reveal skylight leaks, ruling out condensation as a culprit. If your skylight springs a leak during a shower, it’s time to investigate structural issues or age-related wear and tear. A quick inspection can pinpoint problems like rusted flashing, cracked caulking, or rotting seals that allow water to seep in. Not comfortable on a roof? Contact a qualified roofer for a detailed inspection. Keep in mind that age affects skylights and roof windows. If flashing is the problem, a complete replacement might be necessary. Smaller gaps can often be sealed with caulking or silicone, but monitor the area for a few weeks to ensure a successful repair. Remember, a proactive approach prevents future headaches and keeps your home dry and comfortable.

Leaks From The Skylight Frame To The Glass

Noticed a leak where the glass meets your skylight frame? Don’t panic, it’s likely a simple fix! This issue often arises as skylights age, as weather seals naturally dry out and shrink. This compromises the waterproof barrier, allowing moisture to sneak in. Reclaim your leak-free view by applying caulk around the glass. Timing is key – choose a dry day following a stretch of dry weather to prevent condensation and fogging.

Leaks Between The Roof And The Skylight Frame

Skylight leak got you down? Don’t panic! Start by checking the ceiling around the frame. If it’s damp or wet, a roof issue is likely to blame. This usually means the flashing, the material sealing the skylight to the roof, is worn out and letting water in. Get a professional roofer to assess the situation promptly. They’ll verify the flashing problem and quickly replace it to stop the leak. If poor installation is the culprit, the roofer can rectify the shoddy work and ensure your skylight is watertight. Act fast to prevent further damage and enjoy your skylight worry-free!

roof flashing with visible water leaks

Leaks Due To Flashing

Your skylight’s flashing is its unsung hero, acting as a waterproof barrier between the skylight and your roof. But it’s not invincible! Over time, leaves, twigs, and other debris can accumulate around the flashing, hiding potential leak points. Don’t let hidden problems escalate! Take a proactive approach and clear away any debris for a clear view. This simple action allows for a thorough visual inspection, helping you spot early signs of damage and keep your skylight in tip-top shape.

How To Fix

Is your aging skylight springing a leak? The culprit could be the flashing. If it’s seen better days, a full replacement might be the way to go. But don’t fret just yet! For minor gaps in the flashing, a simple sealant like caulk or silicone can work wonders. After patching things up, keep a close eye on your skylight for the next few weeks. This ensures your fix holds up and those pesky leaks are a thing of the past.

a poorly fitting skylight with gaps and misaligned shingles

Poorly Fitting Skylights Or Roofs

Faulty installation is the most common cause of skylight leaks. A simple inspection after a rainstorm will reveal any shoddy workmanship. If you spot leaks in your new skylight, don’t hesitate! Contact your contractor right away to rectify the issue. Remember, it’s their responsibility to ensure proper installation and a watertight seal.

a broken latch on a defective closing mechanism

Defective Closing Mechanism

Put your skylight to the test! Open and close it smoothly to check its mechanics. A snug fit against the frame is crucial for a leak-proof seal. If the movement is hindered or the seal isn’t tight, a leak is likely. Don’t ignore it! Take action to fix the problem and protect your home from water damage.

How To Fix

Is debris preventing your skylight from sealing properly? Clear away any leaves, twigs, or other obstructions to ensure a tight fit when closing. Take proactive measures to minimize debris buildup around your skylight. While you can’t always prevent branches or other obstacles from falling, regular checks and prompt removal of any debris can go a long way in protecting your skylight and preventing leaks. Stay vigilant and keep your skylight clear for optimal performance.

roof leak with water dripping from damaged shingle

Roof Leaks

Roof leaks are a common culprit behind mysterious skylight drips. Water can sneak into your roofing system and flow down to the skylight, causing those pesky indoor leaks. If you spot discoloration around the skylight or higher up on the roof, it’s time to investigate! Don’t ignore missing or damaged shingles either – they’re a clear sign that water has found a way in, and your skylight might be off the hook. Take charge and pinpoint the source of the leak to protect your home from further damage.

How To Fix 

Don’t let a leaky roof escalate into a costly disaster! Act fast to prevent further damage. Small fixes like replacing shingles might be enough for minor leaks. But for older roofs, a full restoration or replacement could be necessary. Don’t guess – schedule a professional inspection to assess the situation and determine the best course of action.

a professional roofer installing a skylight on a house roof

Expert Roof Installer Suggestions For Skylights

Don’t let roof or skylight leaks dampen your spirits! Take charge and diagnose the issue with these actionable tips. We’ll guide you through identifying the problem and finding effective solutions to get your roof back in top shape. From spotting telltale signs of damage to implementing long-lasting repairs, we’ve got you covered. Let’s tackle those leaks head-on and restore your peace of mind!

Sourcing The Leak

Noticed a leak around your skylight? Don’t jump to conclusions! Most roofers will pinpoint the skylight itself if water appears between the sash and frame. However, leaks between the window and wall could signal installation errors, preventable with an underfelt collar. Remember, the leak source and the drip point may not be the same. Water often travels before finding its way into your home through a hidden gap or hole. So, carefully inspect your roof as it might be channeling water to an unexpected entry point.

a roofer installing metal flashing on a roof edge

Installation

New skylight, new leak? Don’t stress! It’s likely an installation issue. Contact your installer immediately. A warranty should cover prompt repairs or adjustments. Don’t delay, a quick response can prevent further damage.

Installation Of Flashing 

Choosing the right flashing kit is crucial for a leak-free skylight. Ensure your flashing kit matches your installed skylight model perfectly, as this prevents gaps that lead to leaks. Equally important is selecting a flashing kit compatible with your specific roofing system. A proper fit ensures a seamless seal, protecting your home from the elements and keeping your skylight functioning beautifully. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-matched flashing kit in safeguarding your investment and enjoying worry-free views!

Installation Of An Underfelt Collar 

Proper skylight installation is crucial for leak prevention. Take these steps to ensure your skylight stays watertight. First, install an underfelt collar. This breathable membrane acts as an additional shield against potential leaks. Then, pay close attention to underfelt installation. Faulty installation can lead to leaks or even condensation buildup if moisture gets trapped and can’t dry properly. By taking these precautions, you’ll create a robust barrier against water intrusion, ensuring a dry and comfortable home.

Conclusion:

Skylights and roof windows are beautiful additions to any home, but leaks can quickly turn them into a nuisance. Luckily, with a bit of knowledge and proactive maintenance, you can keep your skylight in tip-top shape. Identifying the source of a leak is the first step to fixing it, and many leaks are simple DIY projects. However, don’t hesitate to seek professional help for complex issues or if you’re uncomfortable working on your roof.

Remember, the key is to act fast! Promptly addressing leaks prevents further damage and ensures your skylight continues to brighten your space for years to come. Whether it’s a simple seal repair or a complete flashing replacement, taking action now will save you time, money, and stress in the long run. So, don’t let a leak rain on your parade – equip yourself with the information and resources you need to tackle any skylight issue with confidence.

FAQs:

  • What are the common causes of skylight leaks?
    Skylight leaks can be caused by improper installation, damaged or worn seals, cracked or broken glass, clogged weep holes, or issues with the flashing around the skylight.

  • How can I identify the source of a skylight leak?
    To identify the source of a skylight leak, inspect the skylight frame, glass, and surrounding roof area for signs of water damage, cracks, or gaps. Check for damp spots or stains on the ceiling or walls near the skylight.

  • Can I fix a skylight leak myself, or should I hire a professional?
    Minor leaks, such as those caused by clogged weep holes or small gaps, can often be fixed by a DIYer with basic tools. However, for more significant issues, such as damaged flashing or structural problems, it’s best to hire a professional to ensure a proper and lasting repair.

  • What materials and tools do I need to fix a skylight leak?
    Common materials and tools needed to fix a skylight leak include roofing cement, silicone caulk, a caulk gun, roofing nails, flashing tape, a putty knife, a utility knife, and a ladder. Specific requirements may vary depending on the cause of the leak.

  • How can I prevent future skylight leaks?
    To prevent future skylight leaks, ensure proper installation and regular maintenance. Check and clean weep holes, inspect seals and flashing for damage, and address any roofing issues promptly. Regular inspections, especially after severe weather, can help catch potential problems early.