How To Patch A Skylight Hole

Since skylights are installed on the roof, they’re particularly vulnerable to leaks. Their installation interrupts the roof’s natural barrier against the elements, so any gaps or cracks can easily let in water. Rainwater runs off the roof and collects around the skylight, seeping through any openings. Over time, the flashing around a skylight can also deteriorate, allowing water to enter. Additionally, snow and ice can also cause problems as they can weigh down the skylight and cause leaks.

They are made with an integral flashing system that helps prevent leaks, extending up the skylight’s sides and tucking under the shingles. Other skylights are installed flush with the roof and have step flashing placed over the shingles and under the skylight frame. The most common type of skylight, dome skylights, are also the most likely to leak. These skylights are installed on a metal frame placed on top of the roofing materials. Over time, the sealant around the frame can fail, allowing water to seep in.

No leak skylights mean you'll never have to learn how patch a skylight hole
These No-Leak skylights (above) come with a 10-year installation warranty!

If your skylight leaks, it’s important to take action immediately to prevent further damage to your home. C.D. Roofing & Construction are gold standard skylight installers-but you may be able to handle this problem yourself. Before you tackle the problem, ensure that you rule out the possibility of other causes, such as condensation or runoff from a nearby gutter.

Understanding Skylight Condensation

A skylight can also appear to leak when it’s just experiencing condensation. This can happen when the air inside your home is warmer than the outside air, causing moisture to form on the skylight. Condensed water drips down or typically beads up and runs down the glass. While this may look like a leak, it’s a very normal occurrence that usually happens in a humid room, such as a kitchen or bathroom.

In most cases, this isn’t a cause for concern, and you can easily solve the problem by opening a window, using a dehumidifier, or running a fan to help circulate the air and reduce the humidity in the room. However, if the problem persists, it could be a sign of a more serious issue, such as poor ventilation or a leak in the skylight itself.

How a skylight is built

Skylights are made up of several different parts, all of which work together to keep water out. The frame is the outermost part of the skylight and is typically made of wood, metal, or plastic. It has a glazing (the clear part of the skylight) that lets in light and is usually made of glass or acrylic. The metal flashing is installed around the perimeter of the skylight, which tucks under the shingles and helps to keep water out. When any of these parts fail, it can lead to a leaky skylight.

The frame is aluminum or plastic, with an acrylic or glass dome. The frame is weather-stripped to create a watertight seal. There is also a neoprene gasket that helps to keep water out. The flashing is installed around the skylight’s perimeter and helps direct water away from the skylight. It is made of metal and is usually installed over the shingles and under the skylight frame.

A skylight’s shaft directs how the light enters the room and can be made of metal, wood, or plastic. It is typically lined with reflective material to help bounce light around. The interior of the skylight is usually painted white to help reflect light.

A perpendicular-sided shaft focuses the light in a single direction, whereas a pyramid skylight will bounce the light off the shaft’s walls and evenly distribute it throughout the room.

anatomy of a skylight
Image source

Though some frame materials are more durable than others, all frames will eventually degrade and need to be replaced. The average lifespan of a skylight is about 20 years, but this can vary depending on the materials’ quality and the amount of exposure to the elements.

When a skylight leaks, it’s usually because the flashing or sealant has failed. In some cases, the entire skylight will need to be replaced. However, in many cases, the problem can be fixed by simply resealing or replacing the flashing.

How to repair a leaking skylight

Identifying and troubleshooting the problem is the first step in repairing the skylight. Chances are, the problem is with the flashing or sealant and can be easily fixed. However, if the skylight is old or the damage is extensive, it may need to be replaced.

To fix a leaking skylight, you will need to:

Step 1

Carefully lift the shingles around the skylight and brush away any debris, such as leaves and dirt.

Step 2

Inspect the flashing to see if it is damaged or needs to be resealed.

Step 3

If the flashing is damaged, it will need to be replaced. However, if it just needs to be resealed, apply a sealant or caulk around the skylight perimeter.

Step 4

Apply a generous amount of roofing cement or sealant around the skylight, making sure to smooth it out so there are no gaps. Pay attention to the metal flashing under the shingles, ensuring it is fully covered.

Step 5

Put the shingles back in place, press down firmly, and seal the edges with roofing cement. Ensure that weep holes are not obstructed, as this can cause water to build up and leak into the skylight. Do not nail the shingles in place, as this can cause more damage.

Step 6

Inspect the skylight from inside the house and ensure no gaps around the edges. If there is, apply caulk or sealant to these areas.

patch a leak coming from your skylight

Add years to your skylight with a simple hole patch

A skylight is a great way to let natural light into your home. However, they can be prone to leaks if not properly installed or maintained. If you have a leaking skylight, it is important to fix it as soon as possible to avoid further damage. Note that if the skylight is old or the damage is extensive, it may need to be replaced. The process of fixing a skylight is complex, and it is best to leave it to the professionals. At CD Roofing, we have been repairing and installing skylights for over 20 years and can help you with all your skylight needs.

If you have a leaking skylight or any other roofing problem, contact C.D. Roofing today for a free consultation. We will come to your home, assess the damage, and provide you with a detailed quote. We can also help you with any insurance claims that may be necessary.

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