Skylights are a fairly unique part of the home. They let in plenty of beautiful sunshine, making your rooms feel light and open. Gazing through your skylight at the stars is also a fun evening pastime. Today’s skylights are more energy-efficient, leak-proof, and durable than ever before. However, they do still require appropriate skylight maintenance and care to keep them in good condition. Keep reading, and you’ll learn how to inspect, clean, and otherwise care for your skylights.
Cleaning Your Skylights
Skylight maintenance does more than preserve their appearance. Dirt and grime that have accumulated on the skylight, particularly on the seals around the skylight, can grab onto moisture. That moisture can then accelerate the rate at which the framing and sealing materials break down. Keep your skylight clean, and it will need fewer repairs and will likely last longer, too.
Clean the interior of your skylight every month or two. The best way to do this is not with blue window cleaner, but instead with a bucket of soapy water and a squeegee. You can use dish soap diluted in water in a pinch, but a dedicated window wash is even better.
Spray soapy water onto the skylight window. Then, use the squeegee to wipe it away, starting at the top and working your way to the bottom. Next, wipe any remnants of the water away with a microfiber cloth or chamois. Finally, use the microfiber cloth to wipe down the skylight frame and surrounding materials.
Exterior skylight maintenance is a bit harder. If you can’t reach your skylight from a ladder and you’re not comfortable on the roof, hire a roofing contractor to do this for you.
Most skylights are made with so-called “self-cleaning glass” on the exterior. The glass is treated to make it slippery, which causes dirt and debris to run right off it when it rains. To clean such a skylight, you simply have to rinse it off with clear water. Then, wipe down the framing components with a damp microfiber cloth.
If your skylight does not have self-cleaning glass, then clean the exterior like you did the interior — with a squeegee and soapy water. Either way, you should only have to clean the exterior of your skylights once a year.
Inspecting Your Skylights
Experts generally recommend inspecting your skylights annually. It’s easiest to give them a once-over every time you clean them. Here are the key things to pay attention to.
Peeling or Lifted Flashing
Flashing is the material (typically metal) that is placed around your skylight to prevent leaks between it and the rest of your roof. Check that the flashing is all flush with the roof. If the flashing is peeling, is lifted in any area, or is beginning to rust or corrode, have a roofing contractor take a look. Repairing the flashing early on can prevent leaks from developing.
Modern skylights are made with durable, double-pane glass that resists cracking. However, cracks can still happen if a heavy branch falls on your skylight, or in the event of large hail. The lower your roof pitch, the more likely your skylight is to experience cracked glass.
Most glass cracks are obvious, but take a close look at the corners and edges of your skylight since cracks in these areas are easy to miss. If you do see a crack, call your roofer ASAP. Cracks can lead to leaks, and they also compromise the structural integrity of your skylight. A small crack could worsen into a shattered skylight if a windstorm blows in.
Mold and Staining
Take a close look at the ceiling around the interior of your skylight. Do you see any dark spots? These are often an indication of a leak. Even if the water has since dried up, the dark spot it left behind is evidence.
Also, note any mold that may be growing around the frame of the skylight. Mold only grows in moist places and could indicate a leaky skylight. A roofing contractor can locate the leak and make the necessary repairs to stop it.
Mold may also be an indication of condensation buildup on your skylight. This typically only occurs when your skylight is not properly insulated. Condensation and the resulting mold growth are not healthy to have in your home. Having insulation added around your skylight should prevent this from happening again. As your skylight ages and damage becomes more likely, it’s wise to have it inspected by a professional. Roofers know the common failure points of specific skylights and can spot problems when they’re smaller and easier to fix. Contact O’lyn Roofing if you’re looking for skylight inspections, repairs, or replacement. Our knowledgeable roofers would love to help.