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how does a skylight affect your roof

From improved energy efficiency to making the most of natural light, skylights are an incredible addition to any room. There’s also the lower utility bills that save you money. And let’s not forget that they can improve ventilation, indoor air quality, and privacy.

All these and more are the primary benefits of skylights.

There’s no wonder why they made a large contribution to the window market sales of 46.9 million units in 2013. And continue to do so.

But before investing in these structures, you first need to answer the question: “How does a skylight affect your roof?”

As beneficial as they are, it’s also important you know how these high-level window installations can impact your roofing system. So, we’ve come up with this list of facts about them that you should be aware of.

A 101 on Skylights

Before we discuss how can a skylight affect your roof, let’s talk about skylights in general first.

Skylights can have a considerable contribution to your home’s lighting, energy efficiency, and comfort levels. Whether it’s a new or existing home, you can have these structures easily installed. Possibly the biggest attraction to them, however, is how they significantly reduce reliance on electricity.

Much like how skylights help shave commercial buildings’ energy consumption, the same premise applies to residential properties. With a skylight in your home, you can take advantage of natural light. After all, they allow as much as three times more sunlight as a same-sized vertical window.

Also, skylights provide more evenly-distributed light than their traditional counterparts. Thanks to this balanced spread of light, you can save energy. You also get to enjoy better visual comfort.

Then there’s also these windows’ amenity-increasing properties in windowless rooms. Because you can have them installed right on the ceiling/roof, you can bring light to rooms in your home sandwiched between two other rooms.

All these and more, are the main reasons you’ll now find a long list of Energy Star Skylight criteria. It’s also why they’re becoming even more popular, not just in the U.S. but throughout the globe.

Where It Gets Tricky

So, how can a skylight affect your roof in a negative way if it delivers all these benefits?

Like with any other construction material and process, a skylight can either do you a lot of good or more harm. This depends on a number of factors, design, and installation in particular.

Incorrect choices and improper installation can lead to wasting more energy than what they could otherwise help you save. In fact, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) warns against the potential heat gain and loss that can happen through skylights.

Because skylights allow the greatest amount of sunlight into homes, they can cause as much as 40% more heat gains and losses than traditionally-placed windows. Remember, these windows can let in as much as three times more light than your other windows. As such, it’s vital you take the design, size, shape, and layout into careful consideration.

But that’s not all.

How Can a Skylight Affect Your Roof? Through Moisture Problems

Another answer to “How can a skylight affect your roof” is more on how it can impact the structure of the roof itself. The primary problem? Water leaks.

In most cases, leaks develop on the roof due to improper installation. These damages are some of your biggest roof-related problems because, for one, they’re expensive. Keep in mind that on average, it costs about $772 to repair a roof in the United States.

But this can easily go up to more than $1,200. In fact, for the grander roofs, high-end repairs can cost as much as $4,300! That’s how big the expense you’re looking at if there’s a problem with your skylight installation.

From Leaks to Microorganism Spread

Then there’s also the possibility of heightened risk of molds in your home.

Did you know that these microorganisms need as little as one to two days before they start forming? That’s how quick they are to grow and reproduce! In other words, if it rains today and your roof leaks because of a faulty skylight, you may just see these fungi tomorrow or the following day.

What’s worse is that molds need very little to survive and thrive. They just need moisture and oxygen, and they can already start growing inside your home.

The worst part is the potential health effects that they can bring. People who have asthma and allergies can experience aggravated symptoms and more frequent attacks. Even people in otherwise good health can also suffer from flu-like symptoms.

So, another way to answer your question “How does a skylight affect your roof” is through mold growth and spread.

Addressing Your Skylight Concerns

All these potential effects of skylights on your roof don’t make skylights any less beneficial. Besides, there are ways to counter these possible problems.

What you need is to ensure that you work with professional installers. And that the installers use only quality materials when putting your ceiling window in.

And in the event that you already have a leak from the skylight, you should also give a roofing or window contractor a call right away. They will repair the leak and reinforce the structure through the following methods:

  • Seal the gaps affecting the flashing through quality roofing cement
  • Close the holes in the window structure (lens included) using silicone tubing
  • Replace all damaged metal flashings
  • Install new high-performance weather stripping

Keep in mind that a skylight already leaking for some time now can already have mold and mildew around it. Or, the window frame and even the roof structure could have already rotted.

In this case, the repair specialists may recommend an entire skylight replacement. You should also prepare for potential replacement of damaged shingles and flashing.

Ready to Install or Fix Your Skylight?

In that case, know that we can help. Give us a call now to have all your skylight and roof-related questions addressed. You may also want to explore our blog for proper roof maintenance and repair tips or to learn more about how can a skylight affect your roof.