Skylights are a great feature in any home. They allow natural light to flow in, provide a unique view to the great outdoors, and make your home feel more spacious, all while maintaining privacy. But, like any other component of your home, wear and tear over time means eventual repair or replacement is inevitable.
A common question for homeowners is, “Should I replace my skylights when re-roofing?” The answer, not surprisingly is, “Absolutely!”
There are a number of reasons why skylight replacement is a smart choice when re-roofing your home. Most reputable builders and roofing contractors recommend it because damage to the skylight, flashing or framing often occurs when the old roofing is removed. Damage caused during tear-off is likely to cause leaking or seal failure, undermining your efforts to improve your home. Trying to salvage skylights to save a few dollars now may end up costing many more dollars down the road.
Benefits of dual roof and skylight window replacement include:
- It’s more cost-effective in the long run to complete both projects at the same time.
Skylight replacement is faster and easier during the re-roofing process, before the roof is shingled. If you choose to keep old skylights – and they end up needing replacement a few years down the road – you’ll likely end up paying significantly more.
- Warranties are protected.
While it may initially cost less to re-flash an existing skylight, doing so may void your roofing warranty. Many roofing contractors require a waiver stating that they are not responsible for future leaks or damage related to older skylights.
- It maintains your home’s appearance.
If skylights need to be replaced at a later time, new shingles may not match existing ones well, resulting in an unappealing “patched” look.
- Maintenance schedules for your roof and skylights will be in sync.
The expected life span of new roofing – 20 to 30 years – is similar to that of a newly-installed skylight. Doing both projects at the same time makes maintenance schedules more convenient and ensures that warranties are better aligned.
- New technology can provide energy savings and convenient options.
There have been many advances over the past several years. Today’s skylights are better sealed and less prone to leaking, and newer models are far more energy-efficient than the inexpensive plastic units of the past. Innovations include shades or blinds to control lighting levels and vents that allow skylights to be opened and closed remotely. Some units even work with LED smart lighting systems to illuminate living spaces day or night, regardless of the weather!
- You may be eligible for solar tax credits or other money-saving perks.
Solar-powered skylight models are available, and upgrading may save you money on your federal taxes. There may be other rebates or credits available, too. Check your state and local incentives and contact your electrical service provider to see what they have to offer.
If you’re thinking about replacing your roof soon, don’t neglect your skylights! Save money and time by scheduling your re-roofing project and skylight replacement at the same time. Many Glass Doctor® locations offer skylight services including replacement and installation.
While you're at it, have you ever considered adding solar tubes to your home? Learn about solar tubes from our friends at Mr. Handyman. Like Glass Doctor, Mr. Handyman is a member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.