I have recently come across a number of customers with poorly installed skylights. It is easy for anyone to check their own skylight. Here is what to check for. If you have a pitched roof, you need a curb mounted skylight. A curb mount skylight sits on top of a curb built out of 2x4 or 2x6 lumber.. Normally you will be able to see this from the inside of your home. If you look up and only see drywall under the lens of the skylight, you most likely have a curb mounted skylight. If you look up and see metal (aluminum) under the lens, then you have a self flashing skylight. Self flashing skylights are meant for flat or low pitched roofs. They are normally sandwiched in between tar or other roofing materials. This is not sufficient for a pitched roof for a number of reasons. One, on a pitched roof the skylight needs step flashing and saddle stock to be properly flashed. Saddle stock is a piece of metal that goes behind the skylight and extends up the roof a foot or more. On a self flashing skylight it only extends up 3-4 inches. Two, curb mount skylights use a number of pieces of metal flashings with little caulking or mastic. This allows for years and years of wear and tear without maintenance. Self flashing skylights use only mastic to seal the skylight to the roof. Mastic needs to be checked every couple years or so. Third, curb mount skylights use the wooden curb as an insulator between outside air temperature and inside home temperature. This is important during winter months when the heater is used. Warm air hitting the cold curb of a self flashing type skylight causes condensation inside the home. This moisture causes stains on ceilings and can actually cause it to drip on to floors. I have been called many times with customers thinking their skylight was leaking when actually it was just condensation. Bottom line is to choose the right skylight for your application.
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