I Have A Leaking Skylight! What Do I Do?
Do you have a leaking skylight? A skylight is a feature which has the capability to completely change the ambiance of your home. It lightens and brightens the space, can open up rooms causing them to feel much larger, while at the same time, creating an amazing connection to the outdoors and nature. The benefits of a skylight (or a sun tunnel) are innumerable…. …However, there is nothing worse than having a leaking skylight… But don’t worry, here at Gauthier Roofing and Siding we are certified VELUX skylight and sun tunnel installers, and we can tell you exactly what you need to do to solve your skylight troubles.
A Band-Aid Skylight Solution – Your first order of business
The severity of the issue is going to determine the initial steps you should take. The first question to ask yourself is – does it just appear to be condensation or small amounts of moisture on the glass or frame …or… am I seeing water drip from the unit, water damage on the ceiling, or a large build up of moisture which is clearly a problem? If all you see at this point is condensation and small trace amounts of moisture and only in cold temperatures, relax and take a breath. Although it could be a leak, many homeowners have mistakenly thought their skylights were leaking, only to realize it was due to the conditions in the house, or another cause such as kitchen or bathroom activity releasing moisture causing it to build up creating the illusion of a leak. The good news is a minor leak (although it should not occur) typically won’t cause large amounts of damage if quickly recognized and then resolved. However, if left and not fixed, a small leak can lead to very expensive restoration repairs, high labour costs, coupled with large amounts of frustration for you the homeowner. Therefore, if you’re seeing a large amount of water building, your first step is to protect your home, furniture and valuables. Remove any furniture and other items directly below and surrounding the leak. If you’re seeing a drip, find a large container to place under the unit to collect all the water to protect your carpets, hardwood, floors and home in general. (Pro Tip – make sure you don’t use a container which is too large… or… be sure to empty the water frequently. This is to ensure you’re able to lift the container to empty it. We’ve heard stories of people spilling containers which can lead to more hassle than the leak would have caused). If you don’t visually see a leak but you’re still concerned, purchase a plastic waterproof sheet or large tarpaulin which can be placed on the floor to protect your home while you determine a more permanent solution. The next step is to ask this question…
Why is my skylight / sun tunnel leaking?
It’s important to recognize there are numerous reasons why your skylight or sun tunnel could be leaking and potentially dripping into your home. It could be the result of one of the following, or even a possible cause which is not listed here. Let’s go through them…
- A defective or broken outer casing on the unit
- Extreme weather damage
- Poor quality materials and/or sealing
- Damage resulting from animals or critters (Although rare)
- Low quality or shoddy installation
- Damaged or broken glass or plastic if it’s a dome
- Shifts in the structure of the home
- Human damage (DIY projects gone wrong)
- General roof, sealing, and other material deterioration
Depending on what caused your skylight or sun tunnel to begin leaking, will likely be a factor in determining which avenue you should take when considering the right decision for getting it repaired, replaced, or even removed.
How should I go about getting my skylight fixed?
As mentioned, a moment ago, the underlying cause will likely play a factor in HOW specifically you should go about getting your skylight or sun tunnel fixed. But here are a few additional questions you should consider.
How long ago was your skylight or sun tunnel installed?
If the installation was recent, you will likely be protected by a manufacturers or workmanship warranty. This leads up to our next question which is…
Does my skylight or sun tunnel have a warranty …and/or… Would it be combined along with my roofing warranty?
Review the documentation from the company who installed it for you and be sure to check to see whether or not you’re covered by a warranty. If you are, your best course of action is to follow up with the installation company and inform them of the leak. Sadly, if the installation was completed by a less than reputable company, you may have no warranty at all. You can avoid this potential issue by reading our article called Why Quality Should Be Number One When Investing in a New Roof.
Is my skylight covered, does my warranty coverage include the type of damage which caused the leak?
If you happened to cause some accidental damage to your skylight, I’m sorry to inform you, but the warranty will likely be void. However, if it is a manufactures defect, you’ve got a very high chance of getting coverage. Your best-case scenario is if it’s covered by the manufacturer and was put in place by a high-quality installation company who will happily resolve the issue for you. Worst case scenario is you’re not covered by a warranty, or don’t know who installed it. If that’s the case, here’s your best course of action.
What to do if you’ve got a skylight with a leak and you’re not covered by warranty?
The first thing you should do is try and determine the brand of skylight or sun tunnel you own, be sure to look closely at the unit for any branding, oftentimes on the inside of the skylight frame. (Pro Tip – if access to the skylight is difficult use binoculars or zoom in with a camera to search the inner skylight frame for any identification information). If you see a brand name, here’s what you need to do… Go online to the manufacturers website and contact them directly. Next, ask them what their recommendations are for your situation. Most manufacturers have factory installation certification training for contractors who use their products. This means they will likely have a directory of factory certified installers with one or more operating within your location or area. This can give you a level of confidence in knowing that the contractor or skylight installation/repair team you’re contacting is knowledgeable and trained to handle your specific brand of skylight or sun tunnel. But regardless, even though they’re factory certified by the manufacturer, you should still complete your due diligence and research them online to be sure you’re dealing with a reputable company. You can learn how to choose the “right” contractor here What to Look For When Hiring A Roofing Contractor. In the case that you’re unsure of what type of skylight or sun tunnel you own, you should search for a “skylight installation company” or a roofing company who offers skylight installation and repairs again using the process in the article I mentioned a moment ago on how to choose the “right” contractor. But remember, it doesn’t matter which situation you’re currently in and which course of action you need to take, a leaking skylight or sun tunnel is NOT typical. Be sure to inquire on how it occurred as it may be due to a larger underlying issue you aren’t aware of, and when hiring a contractor to repair or replace your skylight, select a company who is going to offer warranty coverage which will protect you as far into the future as possible.