Should I Replace My Skylights When My Roof is Replaced?

You are about to replace your roof.  And you have skylights. Should you leave the original skylights on the roof, or replace the skylights with new ones when you re-roof?  A top tier roofer is probably going to tell you that you ABSOLUTELY should replace them. On the other hand, some less knowledgeable contractors may tell you that they are fine, they can be resealed, or they will only need to replace the flashing around the skylights.  Of course this helps keep their bid low. Let’s consider the issues.

 5 Reasons why you SHOULD replace skylights when re-roofing

First and foremost, the roof tear-off is likely to compromise your old skylights and cause leaks in the future.

This is especially true for wood framed skylights with vinyl coatings which can crack, allowing the wood to get wet and swell or warp;  plastic bubble skylights, which are brittle; skylights that open, which are fragile; and any skylights sealed solely with roofing cement, which breaks down.  

Old skylight bare roof atlanta ga
Roof tear-off can make old skylights leak

Second, never will there be a more appropriate, simpler, or low cost time to replace your skylights than when you get a new roof.  (Or to install additional or larger ones)!

The roof deck will be bare, so the new skylights can easily be properly installed with today’s state of the art  sealing techniques at the same time your new roof is being installed.

Third, if your skylight is older,  it is probably made with old technology, installed with outdated techniques, and is a potential time bomb of leakage problems.  

  • Yet your new roof should last 20 to 40 years!  Do you trust the older skylights to last that long, and for the original installation to remain leak proof for that long ?

Fourth, there is a good chance they are ready for an upgrade.

 The old skylight panes may be energy inefficient, or let too much glare in or heat from the sun, or be clouded over,  or brittle and unsafe, especially if they are made of old UV damaged plastic.

Finally,  if you do wait, and you need to replace a skylight in the future, it will be more expensive, inconvenient, and you risk causing new problems with your brand new roof!  

Ryan Katz,  an elite Ohio roofer from Roofing Annex, who has decades of experience says:

ALWAYS REPLACE SKYLIGHTS WHEN GETTING A NEW ROOF INSTALLED.   We can’t stress this enough! A roof replacement is a big deal. The tear-off phase is certainly going to disturb your skylights.  There are no kitten gloves that can stop this. Even the newest skylights stand a large statistical chance of being compromised. Wood frame, bubble  and plastic panes, and skylights that open are extremely likely to fail.“   and

Who’s at Fault for a Leaky Skylight That Isn’t Replaced After a Roof Installation?

Any good roofer will insist that homeowners have their skylights replaced no matter what. A top roofer will not make it mandatory, but they will outline the seriousness of the situation. Ultimately, homeowners are responsible for their skylights, but a solid roofing contractor will always inspect the area if called on to do so.

At roofing Annex, we routinely get calls about a skylight issue about a year after a roof install. It’s on us to take a look and evaluate the situation. Depending on the nature of the damage, we will repair the issue, typically for a fee, or recommend a skylight company to repair or replace the skylights.

Ryan Katz, RoofingAnnex.com August 2017

New skylights  can be reasonably priced.  Replacing one should be significantly less expensive than installing one the first time.  When you get a new roof, also replace your old skylights. Select a new, sturdy, energy efficient,  insulated glass skylight with no wood in the construction, in the style of your choice, and it should  easily last as long as your new roof. At the same time you can potentially be solving any problems you have with the existing ones, such as leaks, glare, energy inefficient, etc.

atlanta skylight


You can get a quote over the phone by calling  SIG Skylights at 770-455-8838. Or contact us on our website “Get a Quote” form.  We’ll respond the next business day. 

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