Q: I am getting my roof installed this month and am not sure if I should replace my skylights at the same time. It seems like my skylights were not properly flashed when my roof was installed 15 years ago because there’s water leaking in around the skylights. What should I do?
A: We get asked this question a lot. Most homeowners are not aware of the ways roofers cut costs when installing a new roof. If a home has skylights, that’s usually the first thing that gets cut in order to cut down on price. Sometimes customers even try to salvage old worn-out skylights so that they can save money too. If you come across a roofing company that does not install new skylights when they install a new roof – it’s in your best interest to look elsewhere.
Listed below are 5 reasons why you should replace your skylights when you replace your roof.
- Save Money
Replacing your skylights when you replace your roofing system is the most convenient and affordable time to do so. Most roofers will charge up to double to come back and replace your skylights separate from replacing your roof.
- The Risk vs. Reward
The cost of re-flashing your skylights is between $200 – $600 per skylight; the cost of replacing your skylights is anywhere from $800 to $1500, depending on the type of skylight. If we are looking at a roof with multiple skylights, the per-unit price differential is even smaller. If you really want to save money on your roofing purchase, think long-term. A slightly larger investment of a new roof and new skylights now will cost less than ripping up your new roof to replace old skylights in the future.
- Seal Failure
What happens if you replace your entire roof and don’t replace the skylights and 6 months down the road, you have seal failure (fogged, inefficient glass)? You guessed it; you have to replace that entire section of shingles around the skylight! All of the banging, tearing off, dumpster in the driveway, permitting, scrapping, nailing, mess in your attic, and living in a construction zone will all have to happen again. Don’t pay for a new roof materials twice!
- Using old skylights with a new roof can cause leaks
Say your skylight has performed perfectly in the years leading up to your roof replacement. No matter how skilled your contractor may be, ruffling with that old skylight can cause problems. And keeping skylights in place only to have them leak afterwards isn’t worth the trouble, especially if disturbing the skylight itself can lead to leaks.
Building materials expand and contract over time and what many homeowners don’t understand is that you must partially disassemble the skylight to re-flash the skylight. This process can create many problems in the structure of the skylights if they have started to corrode. Not to mention, re-flashing an existing skylight can void its warranty.
- The skylight will have to be replaced eventually anyway
Skylights have a short warranty for a reason. Inexpensive plexiglass bubble skylights can crack easily. Even high-quality skylights will warp over time. Choosing to re-flash rather than replace can result not only in leaks and moisture buildup, but also in expensive energy loss. Technology has advanced in the past 10 years and Velux, a brand we trust, has an advanced Low E-3 coating that provides more daylight and better heat control than older plastic models.
The most convenient and affordable time to replace a skylight is when you are installing a new roof. By replacing your skylights when you replace your roof, you’ll save money in the long run and ensure you won’t be paying for a new roof twice! You can also take advantage of the new energy efficient models (there are solar powered options!) and increase the thermal comfort of your home with natural ventilation.