Investing in a skylight can improve building performance, raise asset value, and enhance occupant health and comfort. Like any property investment, however, ensuring these benefits last over the long term requires some maintenance.
“Skylights are built to withstand tough outdoor conditions, and a proper installation will ensure they perform at their best from day one,” says Macro Ferrazzo, a manager with Artistic Skylights. “Nevertheless, they also come with unique skylight maintenance considerations that need to be addressed.”
While there are definite advantages to installing a skylight, there are a few factors that require ongoing attention:
- Excess condensation: Noticing water along your skylight seals? That may be a result of condensation caused by humid indoor environments. Much like your shower fogs up when hot water meets a colder room, the same applies to skylight glass exposed to both humid indoor spaces and chillier outdoor conditions. Avoid the risks of water damage by reducing humidity within your home, office, or building through better ventilation, air conditioning, or dehumidifiers. If you have a high-humidity environment, you may also consider selecting skylight models with double domes or insulated glass. The extra space between layers acts as a buffer between indoor and outdoor temperatures.
- “Do you feel that breeze?” Whistling wind and excessive outdoor noise are telltale signs that your skylight has a gap, typically between the top of the curb and the underside of the unit. Left unchecked, these gaps could lead to leaks (e.g., rain, snow, etc.) that damage your roof over time. Fortunately, they can be easily addressed with one-sided gasket tape.
- Wear and tear: Weathering the Canadian climate for years can leave a toll on any building element. That includes skylights, which are prone to wear and tear throughout all seasons. This damage can take the shape of spider or hairline cracks, glazing seal failures, material deterioration, and other impacts that can (and should) be resolved through regular maintenance.
Getting your skylight maintenance off to a good start
The risks above can be mitigated through a proper initial installation which units are fitted properly, secured tightly, and waterproofed to the fullest extent. A successful installation goes a long way toward preventing leaks, structural issues, or safety risks that grow bigger (and more costly) over time.
With this in mind, Ferazzo says: “After you find the skylight that fits your purpose, work with an experienced installation team that will do it right the first time.”
That being said, a reliable installation won’t eliminate the need for regular skylight maintenance. Here’s where incorporating regular upkeep, cleaning, and repairs into your building maintenance program will keep skylights in peak condition.
“Like anything on your building, you want to catch and address potential performance issues before they turn into something bigger,” Ferrazzo adds.
This article was adapted from The Pros & Cons of Skylights: Everything You Need to Know About Skylight Maintenance, written by Elite Roofing and Contractors Limited in consultation with Marco Ferrazzo.