Skylights: Signs It’s Time To Replace (and What to Expect When You Do)

July 31, 2023

Do you know the lifespan of your building’s skylights? You can pray for 20 years, but you should plan for 10 to 15. There comes a time when replacement is inevitable. If you’re wondering if that time is now, we’ve got five signs to help you know.

1. Cracks and Spiderwebbing

Acrylic skylights can become brittle over time, resulting in cracks. Spiderwebbing is another common sign of age and wear. When either of these is present, expect leaks. It’s tempting to install additional caulking as a repair. Dan Edie, Service Field Office Manager, D. C. Taylor Co., Concord, CA, cautions against it though: “This is a temporary fix. Chemicals in the sealant can cause premature deterioration of the plastic.”

2. Leaks

If you’ve noticed staining of ceiling tiles or water near where a skylight is located, contact your roofing contractor to investigate. They will be able to determine if the source of the leak is the curb that supports the skylight, or the skylight itself. The former can be repaired with flashing, the latter is a sign that your skylight has a damaged frame, cracked lens, or that the gasket may have aged and is no longer providing a watertight seal.

3. Yellowing

Extended exposure to UV from the sun can cause the lens on skylights to yellow. This darkening minimizes the amount of daylight that can penetrate the building, increasing the need for artificial light. This darkening reduces the energy efficiency benefits of skylights. Cleaning the skylight with regular frequency can help to prevent yellowing.

4. Condensation

If the skylight looks foggy or you notice condensation, it’s possible the skylight’s seals have failed. An inspection will tell you if the culprit is the skylight or simply a hot humid interior and cold exterior.

5. Inoperable Vent/Hatch

Smoke hatches that don’t work properly are dangerous. If excess heat doesn’t trigger the hatch to open, you could endanger building occupants and compromise fire safety. “If smoke hatches have broken release handles, old fusible links, or don’t close properly, repair or replacement is necessary,” says Edie.

What to Expect When You Replace Your Skylights

When preparing for your skylight replacement project, keep the following in mind:

Skylight replacement projects are typically relatively short, but your roofing contractor can better predict the duration based on your specific circumstances.

To get started on your skylight replacement project, contact D. C. Taylor Co. today at 319.731.4118 or via [email protected].

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