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Old 04-15-2007, 09:10 AM   #1
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Are roof skylights leaking?


Five years ago we had new skylights installed. There was leakage from two of them and the roofing company patched them. Some months back Hurricane Ernesto hit our area and we found a small puddle of water in the room under the skylights. Later we noticed water streaks on the drywall and a crack along one of the seams. For a number of months and many rainstorms later, I have not seen a drop of water on the floor, walls, or around the skylight. However, my wife is very concerned that we may still have "interior" leaking that is damaging the drywall. We have called in roofing companies who want to replace all of the skylights at a considerable cost. I am suggesting painting the areas of waterstrain and seeing if they recur. My feeling: if there is a leak in the skylights, the stains will come back. A leak doesn't go away. It could have been caused by a freak weather problem of wind blown rain getting under the shingles by the skylight during the hurricane. My wife doesn't agree and believes we could face structural damage if we don't replace the skylights. Basic question: Is there any way we can find out if a skylight is leaking if there are no visible signs of water even after heavy rainstorms? Your suggestions could save considerable tension in our family! Thanks

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Old 04-15-2007, 11:41 AM   #2
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Are roof skylights leaking?


Do you have a attic you can get into, if so the next time you have a good rain go up there and inspect around the skylights for new water coming in. My best guess is the skylights themselves are alright but the flashing and caulking needs attention especially if you have not seen any interior water coming in but a visual inspection in the attic will tell the story.

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Old 04-15-2007, 12:38 PM   #3
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Are roof skylights leaking?


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Originally Posted by Darylh View Post
Do you have a attic you can get into, if so the next time you have a good rain go up there and inspect around the skylights for new water coming in. My best guess is the skylights themselves are alright but the flashing and caulking needs attention especially if you have not seen any interior water coming in but a visual inspection in the attic will tell the story.
DarylH is absolutely right about this. The way to locate the leak is in the attic with some good flashlights. You will have to crawl around up there, but you will find the water stains from the leak (i.e. - the roof sheathing, etc). Follow these, they are like a 'trail'. They will lead you to the actual source of the leak.

As DarylH mentioned, the first place to check if you have a leak like that, is the flashing and roofing areas around the skylights.

Skylight units themselves usually take years to fail (UV light contributes), and it is most commonly their gaskets that get dried out, crackend/peel...and then start to seperate from the glass. Check these after you have inspected the flashing.
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:06 PM   #4
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Are roof skylights leaking?


Five year old skylights should not fail unless they were installed incorrectly. Gaskets do age and dry out, but they shouldn't in 5 years. What manufacturer? Glass or plastic? Continous or step flashing? Venting or fixed?
I once had a customer who had a venting skylight that trapped a branch in the rubber gasket when he closed it. Somehow a driving rain followed the branch route into the house. Found the branch and the leak stopped. Not necessarily your problem though. Sometimes the leak is above the skylight. Runs under the shingles until it hits the skylight framing and drops down. Look for a vent above the skylight and in the same line down the roof. Or a missing shingle, or a raised nail the holds up a shingle, etc..
Structural issues should not be an immediate concern. Untreated yes, but not short term.
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