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Skylight Leaks

Posted on: July 2, 2014

With its blue summer skies and clear fall nights, Atlanta is the perfect place for skylights. Sadly, many roofers disagree with me because of experiencing old, leaky skylights in the past.  I’ll be the first that say that skylights improperly installed are a pain when it comes to leaks, but this doesn’t have to be the case.  Advances in skylight construction have allowed companies to create some great products that are both aesthetically appealing and functional, to learn more go here.  Hard rains have been visiting the Atlanta area seemingly every single day this summer. As a result, old skylights are starting to leak or fog over.

Leaky Skylights

If you have a skylight that is leaking, here are a few things you can try yourself to solve the problem before calling a roofing company.

  • Use elastomeric caulking around the perimeter of the skylight.
  • Add a flashing piece to the top of the skylight to divert water.
  • Seal the shingles on both sides of the leaking skylight.
  • Remove any debris build up that may be causing water intrusion.

These simple and cheap solutions won’t always solve the issue, but they are worth trying if you have easy and secure access to your roof.  If the skylight continues to leak, Fowler Homes offers free inspections to help you pinpoint the problem and offers estimates to repair any damage. We will also suggest how you can do the repairs yourself.

Skylight Leaks Over Sunrooms and Porches

The most common reason for skylight leaks outside of improper installation of the flashing is skylights installed on low slope roofs, usually sunrooms or porches.  The reason for this is simple; the roofer used shingles that are only approved for applications with slopes steeper than 3/12.  Time and time again homeowners call us to look at otherwise great skylights that won’t stop leaking.  The problem is not with the skylight but with the roofing system.  See below for pictures of this problem and how we solve it.

Fogged Skylights

Atlanta has beautiful scenery and, for the most part, nice blue skies in the summer. Shouldn’t you be able to see it through your skylight?  If your skylight is an old plastic style dome or insulated glass with blown seals, you probably can’t see very much.  Sometimes the solution is as simple as cleaning.Using Windex, clean the outside of the skylights that can get covered in sap and debris.

If cleaning doesn’t work, you may be suffering from blown seals.  The seals between the glass can sometimes fail from excessive heat build up between the glass and cause condensation to accumulate between the panes.  This condensation causes the skylights to fog over and sometimes to leak onto the surrounding sheetrock.

Real Life Solutions

As a real example of both of these problems and how we solved them, I will quickly go over a recent project in Atlanta.  A homeowner called us to look at three large skylights that were Leaking and Fogged Over.  When I arrived to inspect the job, I realized a few problems that you can see in the first photo below.  The original contractor had installed shingles on a very low slope, and water was leaking around the base of the skylights.  Also, two of the skylights didn’t have proper flashing and had constantly leaked on and off over the years.  Finally, the homeowner temporarily painted over all three skylights because two were old plastic dome skylights that had fogged over, and the third one let in too much heat.

Fixing The Problem

Step 1: Remove Everything

To repair these skylights, we started by removing everything and throwing it away, including the surrounding shingles on the low slope.

Skylight Leak, Leaky Skylight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Build Skylight Curbs

Not every skylight is installed on a curb, but we typically install all low slope skylights on curbs to better flash them.

Step 3: Install Low Slope Roofing Product

GAF and Certainteed manufacture a great low slope product that is specifically designed for residential homes.  The job used Certainteed’s Flinstastic roofing system with a color that matched the existing shingles.

Step 4: Install New SIG Custom Skylights

Unlike most skylights, these had to be custom made to fit the large opening of the existing skylights.  At 47” by 80,” these skylights let in a lot of light, so we opted for a Solar Cool coating to help reflect as much UV rays and heat as possible while still letting in enough natural light to fill the space.

Skylight Contractor, Skylight Installer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5: Trim Out Interior And Clean Up

The final step of this project was to trim out the interior and clean up our mess.  Not only was the homeowner left with leak-free skylights, he had a beautiful view to go with it.

Atlanta Skylight Contractor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your skylights are constantly leaking and you can’t figure out a solution, give us a call today at 770-744-5992 or contact us here.  Fowler Homes installs skylights from major brands such as Velux, SIG skylights in Atlanta and Wasco.  All of our inspections are free and come with a detailed estimate of what we think will be required to solve the problem.

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