Why Replace Skylights When Re-Roofing

By Robert Robillard on Home Maintenance, Roofing

Roofing Best Practice: Replace Skylights When Re-Roofing

Here at Concord-Carpenter we always try to help and educate our readers on the BEST practices in the remodeling industry. When it comes to replacing skylights, there is no argument that the BEST time to do it is when you are re-roofing. Skylights have a finite service life and replacing them with the roofing is cost-efficient, and allows you to synchronize your roof and skylight warranties. It also allows you to update to newer skylight technologies and glass coating efficiency.

Reuse or Replace?

That’s the question, isn’t it? Ultimately, the decision of whether to replace or re-flash will rest on the homeowner, but in the latter case many roofers will include a disclaimer stating that they will not be held responsible for future skylight leaks. There’s a reason for this disclaimer.

If you choose to re-use old skylights when you re-roof, your roofer will need to install a new flashing kit. 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. At first glance that difference in price may be attractive to you, or is it?

Remember that the roofer is replacing your roof, so they will be there with all their tools equipment and ladders, it costs less for them to do when the shingles ware off the roof. If you choose to reuse your skylight and the seal later fails, or it develops a leak, the roofers needs to return.That return cost will cost you , as will the tearing off of the newer roof shingles to access the skylight.

Consider this, you replace your entire roof and don’t replace the skylights and 6 months down the road, you have skylight seal failure, which results in a foggy glass surface. If you decide to replace that skylight, you will have to replace that entire section of shingles around the skylight! Replacing skylights during re-roofing will be a slightly larger investment, it will cost less than ripping up your new roof to replace old skylights in the future, I can guarantee you that.

Newer Skylight Technology

On my remodeling projects I use Velux brand skylights. I like that Velux offers a solar powered skylight with a built-in rain sensor. This sensor detects rain drops and automatically closes the unit. The best part, no electrician is needed, because they are solar powered. Solar powered skylights also come with a touch-screen remote control, to open and close the skylight. It also can control the skylight blinds. The remote can be programmed so the skylights and blinds open and close during certain times of the day to air the home or block the light when needed. This feature will increase the thermal comfort of your home.

In addition to solar, Velux skylights come with glass that has Neat® technology to keep it clean. The Neat® coating uses UV rays to break down organic material that lands on the glass, and a special coating makes it especially smooth so when it rains dust and debris are washed away.

Energy Efficient

Technology has advanced in the past 10 years. Velux, has an advanced glazing, with Low E-3 coated glass that improves energy efficiency by 35 percent over Velux skylights manufactured in the 1990s. If you’re replacing an old acrylic bubble skylight, the energy boost is even greater.


Tax Credit

If you decide to purchase new skylights you are now eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit, through December 2019.

25 Years To Life

As a contractor I always recommend that the skylights be replaced when the roof is replaced. As you can imagine not every customer will take me up on this recommendation. I would say 60% do it right. The rest of the folks get a disclaimer in their contract, stating that we are not responsible for skylight leaks.

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! I promise you this, if you push the life of a skylight past 25 years your on borrowed time for a skylight failure and leak. Do it right, not over!






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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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