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Help! My Skylight Is Leaking!

[fa icon="calendar"] Aug 3, 2017 12:55:00 PM / by Krystal Coddington

Krystal Coddington

how to repair a leaking skylight

The beauty of natural light is the very reason you have a skylight.  But since it doesn’t often rain in Las Vegas, it might be some time before you realize there is a leak.  What's worse is if you repaired or renovated the skylight recently and now notice a small dirty puddle underneath it. Before you give that other company a bad review, there are some quick things you can check to resolve the issue rather than calling in a roof repair company.

Why is My Skylight Leaking?

The short answer is that it might not be. First check to see the position of the skylight. If it is in a damp area such as a bathroom, the leaking you're noticing could just be condensation collecting on the inside of the skylight. 

However, if it has recently rained and you've noticed a puddle, a thorough inspection may be necessary. Roofs are not indestructible, and over time the integrity of the roof needs to be assessed and repaired. Water can damage the seal of the insulated glass. It could also be the flashing near the skylight (we'll get to that later).

Related: 7 Warning Signs You Need a New Roof ASAP

How to Repair a Leaking Skylight

Take the following steps to take to assess the condition of your skylight and what you can do about it.

Step 1: Find the Exact Spot of the Leak

The glass itself should be weatherproof, but over time the protection of the glass could get compromised. If the skylight opens, then make sure to close it properly. Also, check the frame of the glass as it may need replacing. If you are having a tough time pinpointing the spot, then don’t be afraid to hose the skylight from outside. Hosing it down is a helpful way to determine if you just need more sealant or some new shingles.

  • How to tell if you need new shingles: They're cracked, curled, or bald with missing granules.
  • How to tell if you need more sealant: You see obvious gaps in the sealant.

If you need to add more sealant, here's how you do it:

  • Clean off all dirt around the skylight to prepare for caulking
  • Use a knife to remove any old caulk where you'll be adding new caulk
  • Apply caulk to all the seems of the skylight
  • Smear the caulk down with your finger to ensure adhesion

Step 2: Check the Opaqueness of Your Glass

The glass itself should be weatherproof, but over time, water may seep inside of it and cause the glass to look foggy and unattractive. You may need to replace the skylight entirely if this is the case.

Step 3: Determine If the Flashing Is the Problem

If you've found that your glass is in pristine condition and the seal is good, inspect the flashing. The flashing is steel or aluminum fitted around the skylight to keep moisture from infiltrating the interior of your home. It's nailed tightly to the skylight and specifically designed (when in good shape) to keep water from running under it.

It may have gotten blocked with debris or come loose allowing water to seep through. Check for edges that are sticking up, indicating that you need to replace or repair it. Minor repairs can be performed with caulking and roofing cement.

  • Squirt cement underneath parts of the flashing that are not flush
  • Apply cement to any visible gaps to the flashing
  • Smooth any areas with a trowel and apply pressure to necessary areas

Step 4: Hire a Roofer for Tough Skylight Repairs

If all else fails and the rainy season is upon you, call the professionals. If the leak continues or even begins to spread to other parts of your roof, then you will need them to do the repairs. In the future, you should even consider roof maintenance to catch these issues before they happen.

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Krystal Coddington

Written by Krystal Coddington