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How Long do Skylights Last?

  • 3 min read

Just like everything else in construction, skylights deteriorate over time. The lifespan of a skylight primarily depends on these important factors: Skylight quality, installation quality, and skylight maintenance. There are different quality skylights available on the market for residential homes. Low-end, plastic skylights typically last up to 15 years, but modern Velux skylights can last 20+ years.

Skylight Quality

Cheap Skylight

There are different quality skylights available on the market for residential homes. The cheaper ones are typically self-flashing and plastic. Self-flashing means that the skylight doesn’t come with its own flashing kit but has a design that has flashing built into the skylight itself. Typically, this kind of flashing system does not perform as well as other systems. These kinds of skylights typically last 10 – 15 years with maintenance. For residential homes, we recommend installing Velux skylights with their proper flashing kits. Velux skylights have a flashing system that has separate flashing pieces such as the sill flashing, step flashing, and saddle flashing. When all these flashing pieces are lapped correctly, this kind of system offers superior performance.

Skylight Installation Quality

Proper skylight installation insures that a skylight will last a long time.

Installation quality is the most important factor in a skylight’s lifespan. Skylights can be tricky to install, so hiring an experienced contractor is key. Many skylight leaks occur because the installers made a mistake. We see it all the time during our roof repairs. If an installer places a nail in an improper place or if an installer does not layer the shingles and flashing correctly, there can be serious problems down the line. Unfortunately, often even if a skylight was installed improperly, it can take years for the problem to become noticeable. Another important installation factor is the underlayment, whenever you have a roof penetration, like a skylight, it’s important to install ice and water shield around it. If a roofer skips this part and simply uses standard synthetic underlayment, your skylight can start to leak years later. The only way to avoid these problems is to hire a reputable contractor with years of experience.

Skylight Maintenance

Skylight Maintenance

Regardless of skylight quality and installation quality, most skylights will start to leak sooner or later. It is important to have your skylights inspected at least once every few years. During a roof inspection, a roofer should check your skylight’s flashing and glass. A build-up of trash such as leaves and twigs around a skylight can also cause problems. This trash should be removed to allow proper water flow around the skylight.

Exterior Contractor specializes in roofing and skylight installation. We service Hendersonville, NC and the surrounding areas. If you are within our service area, get in touch with us for a free quote on your next skylight project.


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