Flat Roof Skylights 101: Leaks, Costs, and Benefits

flat roof skylights

Installing a skylight in your home can make the interior of your house brighten up and make it more pleasant to live in. But, if installed improperly, skylights can be a significant weak point in your roof’s structure. There’s a variety of factors to consider before you install one on your roof. This includes many different styles and types of skylights, installation methods, and even types of glass you need to consider. However, with a little help, this process doesn’t need to be stressful or overwhelming. On this page, we’ll share with you everything you need to know about flat roof skylights.

Types of Flat Skylight Glass

Your roof is your first line of defense against storms, hurricanes, and other severe weather events. We’ve talked about how the quality of shingles makes a big difference in your roof’s durability and longevity. In line with that, the type of glass you choose will also play a crucial role in how long your skylight will last. Each type of glass comes with certain features and advantages. So, let’s take a closer look at the three most common types of skylight glass:

  • Tempered Skylight Glass — Tempered glass is very durable and an excellent choice for homeowners who live in areas prone to heavy storms like Florida. Tempered glass is heat-treated for additional strength, and the material is scratch-resistant. Plus, it’s designed to break into thousands of harmless granules in case it ruptures.
  • Plexiglass — While it’s not technically glass, Plexiglass is acrylic and is therefore called poly glass. It’s relatively sturdy and is much cheaper than tempered skylight glass. That said, the lower price point does come with some disadvantages. Plexiglass isn’t scratch-proof and will scratch easily in a hail storm.
  • Laminated Skylight Glass — This is generally the most expensive option of the three. However, it’s exceptionally sturdy and durable. Laminated glass contains a thin central layer of ethylene-vinyl acetate or polyvinyl butyral resin between two tempered glass layers. The purpose of this middle layer is to hold any debris or granules in place in case the top layer of glass breaks.

Additionally, keep in mind that each of the materials we mentioned can come in single, double, or triple-pane thick versions. This aspect will also play into the overall durability and longevity of your skylight.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Flat Roof Skylights

From an architectural standpoint, there are many benefits to installing a skylight for your home. A flat roof skylight will provide the room with natural lighting. You can also use it to create more space and make smaller rooms seem more sizable and spacious.

On top of this, skylights can also contribute to the overall aesthetic appearance of your house. Installing one is a relatively inexpensive way to add to the total resale value of your home. But that all depends on whether the potential buyer is looking for a home with a skylight. More often than not, they will appreciate such an installation. So, if you have a budget to install a top-quality skylight, you should go for it.

Aside from the many benefits skylights come with, there are a few drawbacks that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you install a skylight with lower quality glass, UV damage can cause it to turn yellow. Moreover, the ultraviolet lights that penetrate through the glass can damage your flooring and furniture.

It’s true that skylights also allow for heat loss, much more than a regular window of the same size. And, even when installed properly, your skylight can still be prone to condensation or leaks. This brings us to the next important point.

Flat Roof Skylight Leaks and Condensation

Depending on the structure and installation, the skylight is often the first point of failure when it comes to leaks and condensation. The main reason why your flat roof skylight can become compromised is that the material itself deteriorates and cracks. This can happen because of a massive hail storm. Or occur simply from old age.

If you notice condensation, water, or stains below your skylight, it may be a sign that you need to fix the seal. Or replace the glass. If the skylight seal isn’t installed correctly, the condensation can spread to nearby parts of the structure. This can cause significant damage to the walls and the rest of the roof. Also, if the glass is older or inferior, it may cause or worsen condensation issues.

Is It Expensive to Install a Flat Roof Skylight?

As we mentioned at the beginning, many variables determine the specific cost of your particular skylight. The installation costs can range anywhere from $200 to $1000. Compared to other types of skylights, flat roof skylights are a relatively low-risk installation that can add a lot of value to your household.

Everyone loves natural light. And a flat roof skylight is the perfect way to create a bright and relaxing interior. If you’re considering installing a flat roof skylight in one of your rooms, make sure to go with a licensed and reputable roofing company. The nature of the skylight requires the job to be done correctly and without any errors.

Your roof is only as good as the roofers who installed it. At Code Engineered Systems, we only hire the best roofers around. As the leading roofing company in the Tampa Bay area and the entire Florida Panhandle, we guarantee the highest quality of service at competitive market prices.Whether you want to install a new skylight or have difficulties determining what’s right for your roof, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We offer a free estimate for your first service. All you need to do is to fill out our simple online form or call us at 813-373-9088.

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