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 and flash them properly– it’s in your best interest to look elsewhere. Want to know why…read on!
Listed below are 5 reasons why you should replace your skylights when you replace your roof.
1. Save Money
Replacing your skylights when you replace your roofing system is the most convenient and affordable time to do so. There are some roofers will charge up to double to come back and replace your skylights separate from replacing your roof.
Fact: older skylights do not have a long shelf life therefore ist best to replace when installing a new roof. Think about this…if your roof is due most likely your skylights are in need of replacement too. Replacing your skylights when you replace your roof is actually cheaper than a normal skylight replacement because the job has a smoother easier install process when the roof deck is completely open. Just like it’s easy to paint your bathroom with no toilet, vanity or shower in it… yes! This makes installing new skylights when you replace your roof so much easier which will save you considerably on labor costs.
Also there are money saving Federal tax credits and rebates through Velux. New skylights also can improve thermal performance up to 40%. (See more information below.)
Keep in mind that a failing skylight can leak and increased humidity in your home which can allow mold to form. Think also what that means to your brand new roof…why add a risk of serious damage to your new investment? While we offer a transferable lifetime warranty and 25 years labor, this covers your roof, not your old skylights. Repairs aren’t cheap, and it’s not something you want to be pursuing 3-6 months after you just had it replaced.
2. The Risk vs. Reward
The cost of reflashing your skylights can be up to $750 per skylight and can go up depending on size and roof complexity. The cost of replacing your skylights vary from $1000-$1500, depending on the type of skylight and options. You can have fixed, vented, solar, blinds added…multiple options!
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. Bulk discounts typically happen and in the end makes your home more energy-efficient so its a win-win.
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.
Issues that can happen when just re-flashing skylights can be:
- The main purpose of skylight reflashing is to shed water and moisture without relying on sealants which can break down over time as well as cause damage to your roof. The issue is that older skylights do not fit new skylight flashing kits. They simply don’t; causing seal issues. Thus, why you are replacing them with new skylights shortly due to leaks, seal failures etc..
- Your original skylights were installed and designed for your 10-25 year old roof. Your new roof is completely different than your older roof including possible changes to eaves, rakes, pitch and definitely roofing materials. Heck some roofers don’t use underlayment and certainly didn’t 20 years ago…they used tar paper! Therefore your old skylights and your new roof are essentially completely incompatible.
- While getting a new roof, the old flashing around the skylights will weaken. Its just the nature of the install during a tear-off. Skylights are supposed to be installed in a way that makes them semi-permanent and a new install can make the skylight weaker.
- Did you know that reflashing a skylight can cut its lifespan by years? Most manufacturers void your warranty if you reflash your skylight.
3. 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, the 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 new roof materials twice!
4. 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 afterward 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.
Skylights can leak because:
- Old or improper flashing
- Cracks on the skylight frame old flashing
- Failure to open and close the skylight properly
- Condensation beneath the glass especially in humid rooms or cold climates (seal failure)
5. 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 inexpensive 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.
American-made VELUX skylights are manufactured from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and tempered glass, offering a quality option for beauty along with energy savings.
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.
6. Skylights Are Sustainable Products
Just like new vinyl replacement windows, skylights offer sustainability benefits. The skylight is installed on the roof to take advantage of the sun’s energy, making it ideal to help make your home warmer during the winter months.
Skylights by VELUX adhere to Energy Star’s guidelines, improving the thermal envelope of your home. Professional installation of skylights ensures that no drafts occur, resulting in energy loss. 90% of VELUX skylight products are certified by Energy Star.
With an airtight seal and proper installation, replacing a skylight while you replace your roof will help achieve balanced indoor temperature control.
7. Choose From An Array of Blind and Shutter Colors, Patterns, and Styles
In addition to helping to conserve energy, there are over 100 colors and pattern choices available. Rolling shutters and blinds by VELUX are designed to complement your new skylight.
The popular types of skylight blinds include
- Room Darkening: A double-pleated or flat skylight blind that can transform your space from day to night
- Light Filtering: The perfect option for diffusing light, ideal for areas such as kitchens and living rooms
- Venetian Skylight Blinds: This product provides a smooth and simple operation, conveniently allowing you to position your blinds at any point on the skylight
Not only are blinds and shutters aesthetically appealing, they can also earn you tax rebates with the federal government.
Mod skylights have new low-emissivity coatings, pane layering, and glazes which increase the energy efficiency and extends its lifespan. So many opportunities!
8. Terrific Tax Rebate For Skylights
Did you know that there are federal tax rebates available for new skylight installation?
If you’re thinking about installing or replacing a skylight in your home, then you may be eligible for a tax rebate. In the past few years, two laws were passed that provide a tax credit for new skylight installation, which can total up to 26% of the cost of your skylight through 2022.
How can you get this tax credit when you choose VELUX products through Coastal Windows & Exteriors? Here’s how it works:
- Ensure that you choose one of the qualifying products. You can find this list at the bottom of this bulleted section.
- Keep your receipts for the total price paid of the skylight, including eht product and installation
- Complete the Federal Tax Credit – Manufacturer’s Certification Statement and keep it for your records
- At tax time, fill out IRS tax form 5695 and submit it with your taxes
- Enter the tax credit from 5695 to your 1040 form
- Consult a tax professional if you have questions or concerns
Skylights that are eligible for the federal tax credit includes:
The Time to Replace Your Roof and Skylight is Now
The reasons to replace your skylights when you replace your roof range from aesthetic to performance purposes. 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.
Contact us today for a free quote on new roof replacement and skylight installation.