How Long Do Skylights Last?

Posted on January 21, 2023

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How Long Do Skylights Last?

Are you considering installing skylights in your home but are unsure about their longevity? Look no further! In this blog, we will explore the lifespan of skylights and the factors that affect their durability. 

From material selection to proper maintenance, we will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether skylights are the right choice for your home or not. So, whether you’re a homeowner, contractor, or designer, read on to discover the truth about how long skylights last.

Average Lifespan Of Different Types Of Skylights

The average lifespan of skylights depends on many factors, like the quality of the materials used, the installation, and the weather conditions in an area. 

1. Glass Skylights

Glass skylights are the most popular choice among homeowners for their durability and longevity. The expected life span of glass skylights extends to 25 years with proper installation and timely maintenance. However, the average lifespan of glass skylights, made of laminated or tempered glass, and with many factors affecting its longevity, lies between 20-25 years. 

Glass skylights are durable and UV and impact resistant. But if you live in weather-critical regions, the lifespan of a glass skylight can be reduced by many factors, such as hail and storm damage. Luckily, glass skylights are one of the most durable and long-lasting skylight materials homeowners can install on their roofs. 

2. Plastic Skylights

For their affordability and availability, plastic skylights make popular choices for residential and commercial buildings. Made of acrylic and polycarbonate materials, the expected lifespan of plastic skylights is 20 years. Their actual lifespan ranges between 15 to 20 years due to sun, heat, and UV exposure which affect the longevity of the skylight. 

In addition, skylights installed in snowy and storm-prone regions are more vulnerable to developing cracks and taking on weather damage. 

Plastic skylights reflect UV rays and prevent them from penetrating the home interior. However, they can become slightly yellow or discolored due to their direct exposure to the sun, UV light, dust, and debris. 

3. Tubular Skylights

Tubular skylights, also known as dome-shaped skylights, are made of acrylic or polycarbonate plastic materials. They differ from other styles of skylights with their shape, design, and functionality. As the name suggests, tubular skylights are made of aluminum-coated tubes that are inserted into the roof and open into the home interior. 

The dome, resting on the roof, collects the sunlight and passes it through the reflective tube. The reflective tube, which contains a diffuser, diffuses the sunlight inside the home or office. 

While tubular skylights are energy-efficient and give the ceiling an aesthetic appeal, they have shorter lifespans than the other skylights. The average lifespan of tubular skylights ranges between 10-15 years

At Northkit Roofing, we install  Velux skylights that are known for offering a variety of skylight products, including fixed, vented, solar-powered, electric, and manually operated skylights. Also, the Velux brand offers the most durable and long-lasting skylights than other brands. 

Check out our blog explaining whether or not a Velux skylight is right for your home. 

Velux Skylights
Image Source: Velux skylights

Factors That Affect The Lifespan Of Skylights

The material of the skylight, the quality of installation, and climate and weather conditions are the factors that greatly affect the lifespan of skylights. 

• Material Of The Skylight

The materials of the skylight and the quality of the materials used are the leading factors in determining the lifespan of skylights. For instance, skylights made of glass have a longer lifespan than those made of plastic. 

• Quality Of Installation

No matter how good the quality of the skylights is, if they are not properly installed, they will cause damage. Whether it’s water leakage or roof damage, an improper installation by inexperienced roofers shortens the lifespan of skylights. 

To reduce the risk of water damage in your home, you can install flashing around your skylights, which creates a barrier to prevent water from seeping through the roof. 

• Climate And Weather Conditions

Climate and local weather conditions can have a significant impact on the lifespan of skylights. Exposure to extreme temperatures, heavy rain, and strong winds can all cause damage over time, which can shorten the lifespan of the skylight.

For instance, in areas with extreme heat, skylights can become damaged due to thermal expansion and contraction, which can cause cracking or warping.

Additionally, in snowy regions, the weight of the snow could potentially damage the skylight and cause water leakage and cracking. In areas with strong winds, skylights become damaged due to windborne debris, which can cause cracking or leaking. 

To mitigate these risks, you need to install skylights suitable for your climate and weather conditions. 

• Irregular Maintenance

Regular inspection and maintenance reduce the risk of skylight damage. Regular maintenance and cleaning help you identify the components that are damaged and shorten the lifespan of the skylight. 

If you do not maintain your skylights properly, the accumulated debris and dust will become block the sunlight. Furthermore, an unnoticed crack in the skylight will cause water to leak into your home.

Signs of Wear and Tear in Skylights: 

Several signs of wear and tear indicate that a skylight needs to be repaired or replaced. Some of the most common signs include the following.

Leaks Or Water Damage

Leaks occur around the edges of the skylight and the flashing due to ponding water, accumulation of ice, or even improper installation.  

Cracks Or Breaks

Cracks or breaks in the glass or plastic can occur due to forceful impact, thermal expansion, contraction, or age. The cracked or broken pane cause leaks, roof damage, and mold growth.

Fading Or Discoloration Of The Material

UV rays and heat directly coming from the sun leads to fading or discoloration. In return, these reduce the amount of natural light entering the room.

Difficulty Opening And Closing The Skylight

If there is difficulty with opening or closing skylights, this may indicate that the moving parts are damaged. Rust can form on hinges, cranks, and motors leading to difficult movement of the skylight and causing ventilation problems for the home interior.

How Long Do Skylights Last

Maintenance And Upkeep To Extend The Lifespan Of Skylights

Proper maintenance and upkeep help to extend the lifespan of skylights. In addition, it ensures that skylights continue to provide natural light and energy savings to a home. Some of the most important maintenance and upkeep tasks include:

Regular Cleaning And Inspections

Regularly cleaning the skylights includes the removal of accumulated dirt and debris on the surface. 

In addition, regular inspections can help to identify potential issues early on, such as leaks, cracks, or condensation, and prevent them from becoming bigger problems. Experts recommend that homeowners clean their skylights at least twice a year and also inspect them for any signs of damage or wear and tear.

Sealing And Weatherproofing

Proper sealing and weatherproofing ensure you have a protected skylight from the elements. The process includes applying a new sealant layer around the skylight edges, along with the replacement of damaged flashing. 


Skylights are an interesting feature in a home. However, the factors mentioned in this blog significantly affect the quality of the air and the amount of sunlight entering your home through the skylight. You should always hire a professional to handle skylight installation, repair, or replacement. 

If you want to install durable and long-lasting skylights and bring more light into your home, contact Northkit Roofing in Montclair. Our team has years of experience working with Velux skylights, and we understand all about the care and maintenance that these windows require. Give us a call at (973)-396-7416 for expert advice, and find out how we can help you!

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