Nothing brings more life into your home than natural light and skylights, unlike windows, provide light without taking away any wall space. Skylights can also give a beautiful view of the stars on a clear night; however, if they start to leak it can become pretty messy.
Most of the problems that cause skylights to leak are relatively simple to fix but the most important thing to know about repairing a leaking skylight is how to analyze the problem. If you follow the steps below you will normally find the right solution and it may prevent you from wasting your time making unnecessary repairs.
o Before you get out the ladder and climb on the roof take a look from inside your house. If your skylight is located in a room that is normally damp, such as a bathroom or a kitchen, then the water dripping onto your floor may just be condensation that has built up on the glass. You might be able to make a temperature adjustment that will fix the problem instead of an actual skylight repair.
o If you have a ventilating skylight which can be opened, make sure that it is completely closed shut; even a small opening can allow rain to blow into a room if there is enough wind.
o If the leak occurs in the fall, leaves or branches may be causing water to back up under the shingle. This may also happen in the winter due to ice or snow blocking the downhill flow of water. In either of these cases, clearing off the roof in the area of the skylight will normally resolve the issue.
o If you determine that the problem is not coming from the inside, then it is time to climb up and take a look. The first thing to examine is the skylight pane itself-is it cracked or damaged? Is the seal around the pane missing sections or is it brittle? Next, are there damaged shingles, or have some of the nails that hold down the skylight worked their way up? If one of these problems is present, but not extensive, you will probably be able to make the repairs yourself with a bit of quality roofing caulk.
o After an initial inspection on top of the roof, if you can not easily locate the problem, then it is likely that the leak is coming from a defect in the metal flashing around the skylight. If this is the case, then there are two options-you can either attempt to caulk everything around the skylight flashing or you can call in a professional. The caulk may provide a temporary solution to the problem but having a professional roofer replace the flashing is the best long-term solution.
When you first discover a leak around your skylight do not jump to the conclusion that you have to go on the roof with a bucket of tar and cover everything in sight-that usually just makes the situation worse. Most skylight leaks can be easily found and repaired if you take a systematic approach.