Skylights are a fantastic feature for many homes, providing natural light and a unique aesthetic appeal. However, over time, even the best skylights may need to be replaced due to wear and tear, leaks, or outdated technology. If you’re considering a skylight replacement, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the five key steps for a successful replacement. From understanding different types of skylights to calculating costs, we’ve got you covered.
1. What Are Skylights?
Skylights are windows installed on the roof of a building, allowing natural light to enter the space below. They offer various benefits, including increased daylight, energy savings, and improved aesthetics. Skylights come in different types, each with its own features and functionality.
Types Of Skylights
Fixed Skylights: These are non-operable skylights that provide a constant source of natural light. They are ideal for areas where ventilation is not a concern, such as hallways or tight spaces.
Vented Skylights: Vented skylights can be opened and closed to allow fresh air circulation. They are perfect for rooms that require additional ventilation, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
Tubular Skylights: Tubular skylights, also known as solar tubes, are smaller in size and are typically used in spaces with limited roof access. They capture sunlight through a rooftop dome and transmit it through a reflective tube to provide natural light.
Different skylights have different lifespans. For more information, check out our blog post: How Long Do Skylights Last?
Step 1: Assess The Condition Of Your Skylight
Before proceeding with a skylight replacement, it’s essential to assess the condition of your existing skylight. Look for signs of damage, such as leaks, discoloration, or cracks. If your skylight is relatively new and meets your performance requirements, repairs might be sufficient. However, replacement is likely the best option if it is old, damaged, or doesn’t meet your needs.
Signs You May Need Replacement
1. Leaks: If you notice water seeping through your skylight, it’s a clear indication of a problem. Small leaks can often be repaired, but larger leaks may require a complete replacement.
2. Discoloration: Discoloration on the skylight glass can be a sign of age or UV exposure. If cleaning or reglazing doesn’t restore its appearance, replacement may be necessary.
3. Cracks: Cracked skylight panes should be addressed immediately. While small cracks can sometimes be repaired, larger cracks usually warrant a replacement.
4. Condensation: Excessive condensation on the skylight may indicate a faulty sealant or poor ventilation. If the issue persists, replacement might be the best solution.
Step 2: Research And Choose The Best Skylight Replacement
When it comes to a skylight replacement, thorough research is crucial. Consider factors such as size, shape, material, and energy efficiency. Look for skylights that meet your specific needs and complement your home’s architectural style. Additionally, choose a reputable manufacturer or supplier to ensure high-quality products and reliable warranties.
Factors To Consider
- Size And Shape: Measure the dimensions of your existing skylight or the desired location for a new skylight. Consider the shape that best suits your space and design preferences.
- Material: Skylights are available in various materials, including metal and acrylic. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks, such as durability, insulation properties, and light transmission.
- Energy Efficiency: Look for skylights with low-emissivity (low-E) coatings or double- or triple-pane glazing to improve energy efficiency and reduce heat transfer.
- Ventilation Options: If ventilation is important to you, choose a skylight that can be opened and closed to allow fresh air circulation.
Step 3: Calculate The Cost Of The Skylight Replacement
Understanding the cost of skylight replacement is essential for budgeting your project. The cost can vary depending on factors such as skylight type, size, material, installation complexity, and labor fees. A skylight replacement can range from $500 to $1,500 per window.
Factors Influencing Cost
- Skylight Type: Different skylight types have varying price ranges. Fixed skylights are generally less expensive than vented skylights or tubular skylights.
- Size: Larger skylights will typically cost more than smaller ones due to the increased materials and installation requirements.
- Material: The skylight frame and glazing material can impact the cost. High-quality materials may come with a higher price tag but offer better durability and energy efficiency.
- Installation Complexity: If your skylight replacement requires complex modifications or structural adjustments, it may incur additional labor costs.
Step 4: Hire A Professional Or DIY?
Deciding whether to hire a professional or undertake the skylight replacement as a DIY project depends on your skills, experience, and comfort level with roofing work. While DIY installations can save money, professional installation offers expertise, efficiency, and warranties. Consider the pros and cons of each option before making your decision.
DIY Skylight Replacement:
- Savings on labor fees
- Full control over the installation process
- Potential for mistakes or improper installation
- Lack of professional expertise and warranties
- Safety risks when working at heights
Professional Skylight Replacement:
- Expert knowledge and experience
- Proper installation and adherence to building codes
- Warranties and guarantees
- Higher upfront costs due to labor fees
- Less control over the installation process
Step 5: Replace Your Skylight
Once you’ve chosen the right skylight replacement and decided on DIY or professional installation, it’s time to replace your skylight. Follow these general steps for a successful installation process:
- Prepare The Work Area: Clear the surrounding area and protect the floor and furniture from debris.
- Remove The Old Skylight: Carefully remove the existing skylight, ensuring not to damage the surrounding roofing materials.
- Install The New Skylight: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation, including flashing, sealing, and securing the skylight to the roof.
- Test For Leaks: Perform a thorough water test to ensure the new skylight is watertight and free from any leaks.
- Finish The Interior: Depending on the skylight type and design, complete any necessary interior finishing, such as trim or paint touch-ups.
Maintenance Tips For Skylights
Regular maintenance is essential to prolong the lifespan and performance of your new skylight. Here are some maintenance tips to keep in mind:
- Clean The Glass: Regularly clean the skylight glass to remove dirt, debris, and mineral deposits. Use mild cleaners and non-abrasive materials to avoid scratching.
- Check For Damage: Inspect the skylight for any signs of damage, such as cracks, leaks, or loose seals. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.
- Clear Debris And Obstructions: Keep the area around the skylight free from debris, leaves, and branches that could obstruct drainage or cause damage.
- Check Seals And Flashing: Periodically inspect the seals and flashing around the skylight for signs of wear or deterioration. Replace or repair as needed to maintain a watertight seal.
Skylight replacement can transform your home, bringing in more natural light, improving energy efficiency, and enhancing the overall aesthetic. You can ensure a successful skylight replacement project by following the five key steps outlined in this guide. Remember to assess the condition of your existing skylight, research and choose the right replacement, calculate the cost, decide between DIY or professional installation, and carefully complete the replacement process. With proper maintenance, your new skylight will provide your home with years of enjoyment and beauty.
Do You Want To Install Or Replace A Skylight At Your Home Or Office In New Jersey?
Replace your skylight with a new design or simply improve its efficiency by repairing the damage. Replacing your skylight can increase your roof’s aesthetic appeal and improve ventilation. If you want to replace your skylight, contact Northkit Roofing in New Jersey. We are a team of skilled professionals who you can trust and rely on. Contact us today at (973) 396-7416!