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. However, if you come across a roofing company that does not install new skylights when they install a new roof then it’s in your best interest to look elsewhere.
Why? A roof replacement is a big undertaking. When a roofing contractor tears down your old roof, it is certainly going to disturb your skylights and cause issues. In fact, even the best and newest skylights stand a large statistical chance of being compromised. Wood frame, bubble and plastic panes, and skylights that open are extremely likely to be dangerous.
What Goes Wrong With Skylights?
Before we go into why you should replace your skylight when you replace your roof, let’s look at the basics. There are several seal points that can be disturbed enough to let moisture in.
As you know, water immediately finds the quickest route into a home. This is a physical leak that one can observe dripping. A busted seal can be impossible to detect while a roof is replaced. If the problem is small, it will lead to other issues.
In conjunction with Vancouver’s hot and cold temperatures, your skylight can create swelling. Typically, within a year of your roof replacement, this warping will lead to water staining the ceiling as well as the possibility of actual leaking.
How Important Is Replacing Your Skylight?
It costs a bit less to have a skylight installed during a roof replacement because it’s easier to put it in while the decking is bare. If this isn’t done and leaking ensues a year later, there is going to be a big problem. It won’t be the cost or the hassle, but the fact that now your roofing system will need to be disturbed to repair or install new skylights. Just as the skylights were compromised, now too will your roof face similar issues with blown seals.
If you reuse your old skylight, the cost of reflashing them is between $200 and $600 per skylight. If you replace them, the expense is $800 to $1,500, depending on the type of skylight you choose. The price difference may be the decider for you, but you should know that roofers sometimes include a disclaimer stating that they will not be held responsible for future glass-seal failures or other leaks with older skylights.
There’s a reason for this disclaimer. An asphalt roof, for example, has a life span of 20 to 30 years, depending on the type of roofing material and weather exposure. A skylight’s life span is about the same. It costs a roofer less to replace a skylight when the roof has no shingles.
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.
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.
What happens if you replace your entire roof and don’t replace the skylights and 6 months down the road, you have seal failure? Unfortunately, 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. Nobody wants to pay for a new roof twice!
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. The plexiglass skylights are often made of 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.
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.
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. You can also take advantage of the new energy efficient models.
Is There Any Circumstance in Which a Skylight Can Survive a New Roof?
Obviously, replacing your skylight when replacing your roof is more of a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. There is always a chance any skylight can make it through a new roof but there is only one scenario in which there’s a fighting chance that a skylight will make it. If the skylight meets these points, we’d give it a better than 60 percent chance of survival.
Skylights are a great addition to any home, especially in Vancouver. With mountains, beautiful trees all around us, who wouldn’t want to bring the outside in? And with our famous grey skys and endless rain, extra light is definitely high in demand.
But with time and usage, your skylights may start leaking. Many homes have older skylights that need updating and should be replaced when the roof is replaced.
If you have any questions about roofing, skylights or would like a free estimate, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be more than happy to help, no matter how big or small the project is.