Man installing light fixture in ceiling, replacing skylight.
Man installing light fixture in ceiling, replacing skylight.

The Benefits of Skylight Replacement When Replacing Your Roof

Skylights are a popular feature that can bring natural light and an open, airy feel to a home’s interior spaces. However, because they are integrated directly into the roof structure, the question often arises about whether skylights need to be replaced when it’s time for a full roof replacement.

Understanding Skylights

Skylight on a building's roof against a blue sky in Lakeland

Skylights come in several different styles suited for various applications:

  • Fixed skylights are stationary units that allow constant natural light into the home. They cannot be opened or closed.
  • Venting skylights, also called “operable” skylights, these can be opened to allow fresh air flow in addition to natural light.
  • Tubular skylights are smaller skylights that use reflective tubing to channel natural light into lower levels of the home like basements.

Skylights are installed by cutting openings into the roof deck and integrating flashing and waterproof seals. Proper installation is critical to prevent leaks and maintain the roof’s integrity. The type of roofing material (asphalt, metal, tile, etc.) affects skylight compatibility.

The typical lifespan of a skylight is 20-30 years with quality materials and installation. However, factors like weather exposure, lack of maintenance, and a compromised roof structure can shorten this.

Skylight Replacement During Roof Replacement – Is It Necessary?

Homeowners sometimes wonder if they must replace skylights during a roof replacement, or if they can re-roof around existing skylights.

The simple answer is that it is generally recommended to replace existing skylights when installing a new roof. Even if the skylights appear to be in decent condition, replacing them provides some important benefits:

Easier Integration

Integrating skylights into a new roof ensures that they are properly positioned, flashed, and sealed for a secure and weathertight installation. This process involves carefully integrating the skylights into the new roofing material, which not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the space but also provides proper insulation and natural light, creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere within the building.

Additionally, by integrating skylights into the new roof during the construction phase, potential future issues with leaking or inadequate sealing can be minimized, leading to a longer-lasting and more reliable roofing system.

Cost Savings

While there is an added upfront cost, replacing skylights during re-roofing is advantageous because it requires only one labor cycle. This eliminates the need for additional labor and potential disruptions that would occur if the skylights were replaced at a later time.

By synchronizing these projects, homeowners can ensure a more seamless and efficient renovation process.

Avoid Problems

Leaving old skylights intact during a roof tear-off process carries the risk that they could be accidentally damaged. This can happen due to the equipment and debris involved in the tear-off, potentially resulting in the need for skylight replacement soon after.

If you do elect to keep your existing skylights, it’s important to take precautionary measures to protect the skylights during the roofing process to avoid additional expenses and inconvenience in the future.

Upgrade Opportunity

Replacing old skylights gives you an opportunity to upgrade to newer models that offer advanced glazing and technology, which can significantly improve energy efficiency. Upgrading to more energy-efficient skylights not only enhances the aesthetics of your space but also helps in reducing energy costs and environmental impact.

How a Roofing Company Installs Skylights During Roof Replacement

How a Roofing Company Installs Skylights During Roof Replacement

Working with a qualified roofing contractor ensures best results for new skylight installation. A roofer will:

  1. Evaluate existing skylights, if applicable. If your home has skylights already, the contractor will assess the condition and type of existing skylights to determine compatibility with the new roof.
  2. Re-roofing around old skylights. If you opt to retain the current skylights, the roofers will need to make a plan to integrate them by “re-flashing” them into the new roof system.
  3. New skylight installation. If the old skylights cannot be reused or aren’t ideal for integration into the new roof, replacement units are installed. This may entail cutting new openings in the roof deck, installing new flashing and waterproof seals around the skylight frames, then shingling over these for a seamless appearance.
  4. Sealing & finishing. Once integrated, the roofing contractor will seal all joints and edges with polyurethane caulking to ensure an impermeable barrier against leaks.
  5. Cleanup & inspection. After completing a thorough cleanup of all debris and materials removed during installation, the roofer performs a final inspection to make sure everything is secure and sealed properly.

Choosing the Right Skylights for Your Home

Selecting the right skylights for your home is critical to maximize natural lighting, energy efficiency, and overall aesthetic appeal. When it’s time to replace your skylights, consider the following factors:

Size and Placement

The size and number of skylights should be proportional to the room dimensions to prevent excessive heat gain or loss. Larger rooms can accommodate bigger skylights, while smaller spaces may be better suited for tubular models.

Strategic placement is also key – skylights work best on south-facing roof planes to capitalize on steady sun exposure.

Glazing and Energy Efficiency

Look for skylight glazing that minimizes heat transfer to reduce cooling/heating loads. Double or triple-pane insulated glass units with Low-E coatings can provide excellent thermal performance. Some glazing also offers tinting to reduce glare and fading of interior furnishings.

Ventilation Needs

For rooms that need ventilation like kitchens or bathrooms, consider venting or operable skylights that open to allow airflow. The potential for airflow depends on the skylight size and design; larger units with dual-opening sashes provide maximum venting capacity.

Style and Design

Skylights come in diverse design styles from traditional to contemporary looks. Simple flat glass fits most architectural styles, while raised or curved designs create a distinctive aesthetic. Some skylights incorporate decorative glazing, wood interior frames, or even self-cleaning coatings.

Hurricane Rating

In high-wind areas, impact-rated skylights certified to meet the strict missile impact and cycling tests are an important consideration for storm protection.

Brand Reputation

Stick with reputable skylight brands that have long-proven track records and good warranties. Leading brands conduct extensive testing to maximize air/water resistance and tempering their glass for safety.

A professional contractor can evaluate your home’s orientation, architectural style, energy goals, and ventilation needs to recommend the ideal skylight models for optimal fit and performance. With the variety of options available, you can find skylights that beautifully brighten your space while delivering superior energy efficiency.

Skylight Maintenance & What To Do If There’s a Problem

Worker in safety gear conducting Skylight Maintenance on a ceiling.

Like any other part of the home, skylights require regular maintenance to keep them functioning properly and prevent issues. Here are a few tips for maintaining your skylights:

  • Clean the glass regularly using mild soap and water.
  • Check for signs of damage or leaks after heavy storms or severe weather.
  • Inspect flashing and seals at least once a year, or more often if you notice any issues.

If you do experience a problem with your skylight, it’s important to address it promptly before it worsens. Contacting a qualified roofing contractor who specializes in skylight installation can help diagnose and fix any issues.

The Best Lakeland Roofers

For roof replacement service, skylight installation, or any other roofing services in Lakeland, call the roofing company you can trust – Stronghold Roofing & Solar.

Our team has the experience and commitment to satisfaction that ensures your peace of mind knowing that your roofing project is done right with the best materials and workmanship.

Call today and ask for a free roof estimate!

FAQ’s – Skylight Replacement During Roof Replacement

How long does it take to install a skylight during roof replacement?

The time it takes to install a skylight during roof replacement varies depending on the size and complexity of the project. On average, installation can take anywhere from a few hours to a day.

Can I reuse my existing skylights during roof replacement?

In some cases, existing skylights can be reused during roof replacement if they are in good condition and compatible with the new roof system. A professional roofing contractor will assess your current skylights and determine the best course of action.

Do I need to replace my skylights if I’m getting a new roof?

While it may not be necessary to replace your skylights during a roof replacement, it’s important to consider the age and condition of your current units and the benefits that come with getting new skylights.

What types of skylights are available?

Skylights come in various types including fixed, venting (operable), tubular, flat glass, raised, curved, decorative glazing, and more. Consult with a professional roofing contractor to determine the best type for your home and budget.

How can I ensure proper installation of my skylights?

Proper installation is crucial for optimal performance and longevity of your skylights. Be sure to hire a reputable roofing contractor with experience in skylight installation and ask about their warranties on labor and materials. 

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