Adding a skylight is about more than picking a model and pointing to the roof. There are key considerations to be made that will determine the quality of installation and ensure a long-lasting product.

Case in point: When installing a curb-mounted skylight, what should be used on the top of a curb?

“This is a question we discuss with roofers all the time before installing this kind of skylight,” says Marco Ferrazzo, Manager with Artistic Skylight. “It might not seem like a big choice up front, but what you choose can impact performance.”

There are two options in this scenario: silicone (aka caulking) or a one-sided PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) foam curb gasket. And in a side-by-side comparison, says Ferrazzo, “We recommend the latter.”

Choosing silicone

Silicone is not a bad choice per se. It is easily accessible, offers good adhesion, and is relatively inexpensive. On the downside, using silicone during the installation of a curb-mounted skylight locks the skylight to the curb permanently, making it difficult to remove for maintenance or repairs. Moreover, the application process for silicone is typically messy and there is the potential for harmful chemical reactions with building materials.

The better option: PVC foam gaskets

PVC foam tape counters these drawbacks while also providing additional benefits. Its one-sided adhesion makes it easy for the skylight to be removed for maintenance and repairs, and its exceptional memory for structure retention allows for extended usage. In addition, PVC foam tape is mould and mildew-resistant, a trait that adds resiliency to the entire skylight assembly.

“There are a lot of little yet impactful choices like this to make when adding a skylight to a home, office, or building,” adds Ferrazzo. “We don’t expect our customers to know every last nuance, which is why we are here to help them understand their options and make the most informed decisions.”

There’s more to skylight design and installation than you might think. Read more on acrylic glazing options, differences between powder coating and anodizing, and the science of thermal bridging.

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