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Skylight Maintenance - Diagnosis and Repair Tips

by Valerie Muscat on Jan 23, 2020

When you live in a dark apartment or house there are many ways you can create natural light to brighten up your environment. Skylights are popular roof fixtures that provide natural light to dark spaces. However, over time a skylight can get damaged especially if you don’t maintain it.

Can you repair the skylight yourself or do you need a professional?

If you’re on a tight budget you may not have the funds to have the skylight fixed professionally. Luckily there are ways you can repair the skylight yourself. First, you’ll need to know how to diagnose the problem.

Take a look at this short guide below to help you identify and repair skylight damage the DIY way.

Identifying Skylight Leaks

The most common problem people have with skylights is leaks. If the glass fixture has damaged seals, water can get through the gaps when it rains causing the skylight to drip. By doing a thorough inspection of your skylight you’ll be able to find the source of the leak so you can fix it.

However, you should ensure that the leak isn’t simply condensation that’s moved along the underside of the glass causing the liquid to drip down the sides of your walls. Skylight condensation typically occurs in humid or colder climates. Condensation can also occur in damp areas such as the kitchen or bathroom.

There are various types of skylights so the inspection process may be different according to the fixture you have. If the skylight opens, make sure you close it properly so water can’t seep through any gaps.

Sealed skylights may have damage around it such as broken roof tiles. Check for holes around the skylight and the sealed structure on the outside & inside of the glass. The most common diagnosis is a damaged skylight frame. If this is the case, let’s take a look at how you can fix it.

How to Repair a Leak in your Skylight

Leaks that occur around the skylight frame may collect water over time, causing the seals around the window to break apart. If the insulated glass frame is damaged you can repair the area easily by re-sealing it with a silicone caulking tube.

If there’s damage to the roof flashing you can repair holes or cracks by covering them with flashing cement around the glass. It should be noted, that if the damage is severe you may have to remove skylight shingles and the flashing around the glass to replace them with new fixtures.

You can purchase skylight flashing kits to make it easier for you to replace the components.

Cracks in the Skylight Glass

Most skylights are exceptionally durable but sometimes the glass can crack due to erratic weather patterns such as hail or hurricanes. Extreme cold weather can also cause the glass to crack if the application is of poor quality.

It’s advised that you inspect your skylight regularly for hairline cracks or chips in the glass so you can repair them immediately before it fractures any further.

How to Repair Skylight Cracks

Fortunately, repairing skylight cracks is easier than fixing the insulated seals or flashing. Follow these steps to repair a crack in the glass:

  • Before you can repair the crack, clean the area thoroughly with a window detergent and a soft cloth.
  • Use a vehicle window repair kit for the task. These kits come with epoxy sealants. Simply mix the correct ratios of epoxy and drying agent & apply it to the cracked area with an even layer.
  • With the repair kit, you should receive a small plastic scraper. Use the scraper to smooth the epoxy over the area. Only use epoxy on the crack and not the entire window.
  • Let the epoxy dry and check the window to ensure it’s completely sealed.

How to Maintain a Skylight from Hazards

Leak Prevention Tips

Do full inspections regularly and ensure that your skylight is installed correctly with durable glass & sealants.

Remove Debris in and Around the Skylight

Once a month you should check the area around the window for debris and other potential hazards. Trim trees near the window and make sure roof equipment is secure.  

Protective Sealants for Skylights

To prevent damage to polycarbonate and fiberglass windows, apply a coat of sealant over the glass. The coating will strengthen the application to prevent wear.

Final Thoughts

Regular inspections and DIY repairs can save you a lot of money but there will come a time when you have to consider replacing your skylight. When you’ve done all you can to repair the damage but you’re still experiencing leaks, it’s time to install a new window.

Ensure that the new window is installed correctly by professionals and it’s made from durable materials so you can avoid the problems you experienced with your previous skylight.

We hope our guide helped you with your DIY skylight repairs. If you have other skylight repair methods let us know what they are by leaving us a comment below. We enjoy receiving further tips from our readers.

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