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Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:04 AM

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Skylights are designed with one primary purpose: to bring warm, natural light into the home. Skylights not only add natural light but also a sense of spaciousness and value to any home. They can flood a room with up to five times more light than a traditional wall window of the same size. If they are vented they function as a roof window providing effective, draft-free ventilation.

A skylight can be installed on just about any roof regardless of the slope or roof covering. But it must be the proper type skylight for the application. Skylights of any design constitute an obstacle to water runoff. The use of the wrong skylight increases the potential for problems. At the very least the opening must be carefully flashed on all sides to divert water and prevent leaks.

Flashings will tend to lift and separate with age as membranes dry out or become distorted with thermal expansion or as a result of movement of the roof structure. Periodic repair and resealing of the flashings is a standard maintenance item. In some cases skylight joints, seams, and flashings are coated during installation as a precautionary measure. However, a properly installed skylight does not rely solely on cements and other added sealant to prevent leakage. The presence of surface sealants may be an indication of prior leakage. The only way to address a chronic leakage problem may be to install new flashing or replace the unit and flashing together.

Skylights are also subject to damage from falling tree branches and other debris. Plastic or glass surfaces can be scratched from squirrels and other pests. Heat can also distort the glazing. Fortunately many of these conditions do not prevent the skylight from serving its intended function.

Maintaining proper indoor temperature and controlling humidity levels by ensuring adequate fresh-air exchange rates within the house (using ventilators if needed) will help keep indoor moisture levels at a reasonable point. The use of insulated glazing also helps to control condensation, as well as reduce the amount of heat loss.

All skylights should be inspected periodically for the presence of damage or other conditions that can cause or contribute to leakage and other detrimental situations. More specifically, all flashings, glazing, and related components should be checked for cracks, separation, deterioration and other damage.


• Location: Brooklyn

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