How Often Do Skylights Need to Be Replaced? 5 Signs to Know

5 Reasons Why It Could Be Time To Replace Your Skylights


Knowing when and how often skylights need to be replaced is important for maintaining the integrity and beauty of your home. A skylight gives you a beautiful view of the night sky. During the day, it lets light stream into your room, illuminating the space from all angles. Indeed, skylights are beautiful — but they can also be prone to leaks. While a leaking skylight might signal the need for a replacement, it’s not always the case. Sometimes, the issue lies elsewhere, and other times, a skylight may require replacement even without visible leaks. Understanding the signs that it’s time to replace your skylight will help you make informed decisions about maintaining or upgrading your skylight, ensuring it continues to enhance your home without unwanted issues.

Homeowners often assume that if their skylight is leaking, they need to have it replaced. Sometimes this is the case, but other times, it’s not. Leaks you assume are coming from your skylight may be coming from somewhere else. Also, skylights sometimes need to be replaced before obvious leaks appear. In other words, the relationship between leaks and skylight replacement is not so black and white. 

To deepen your understanding, look at these five signs your skylights need to be replaced. 

1. It’s Old

How old is old for a skylight? It depends on the exact skylight and how it was installed. However, 10 years tends to be a reasonable average life expectancy. If your skylight is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it. Even if the skylight is not leaking or having any problems, replacing it now will prevent those bigger issues and the damage they cause.

It’s easier to replace a somewhat worn, 10-year-old skylight than a deteriorated 20-year-old skylight and the rotten roofing materials surrounding it.

2. You’re Replacing Your Roof

If you are already having your roof replaced, have your skylights replaced at the same time. It’s often easier for roofers to integrate a new skylight into the new roof structure. Plus, you won’t have to worry about replacing your skylight for another 10 years. If you were to have the roofers put your old skylight back in place, you’d be calling them to have the skylight replaced again sooner. It’s simply easier (and often cheaper) to have all this work done at once.

3. It’s Cracked or Discolored

Every couple of months, take a close look at your skylight. If possible, climb up on a ladder s you can examine it from the outside. If you’re not confident doing this, have your roofer look at the skylight every few years as a part of a regular roof inspection.

If the skylight or the material surrounding it is starting to crack or become discolored, you need to replace the skylight soon. These issues are precursors to leaks. If you put off the replacement too much longer, you’ll also face water damage. 

4. It’s Leaking

Give your roofer a call if water is coming in around your skylight. They can determine the cause of the leak, which may or may not be the skylight. Here are some other common causes of leaks that homeowners often mistake for skylight leaks.

    • Skylight Flashing. The leak may not be due to the skylight but to the metal flashing between your roof and the skylight. This flashing can lift, allowing water to seep behind it.
    • Roof Damage. If shingles lift, water pools under them and flows to the lowest point before seeping into your home. Your skylight could be at this lowest point.
    • Improper Insulation. Roofers generally place insulation around skylights. This helps reduce heat transfer. If your skylight is not correctly insulated, temperature and humidity changes could cause condensation on or around the skylight. That condensation could be the moisture that’s leaking in.
    • Poor Installation. Your skylight could be in great shape, but it was installed improperly. This is more common than you might think. Installing a skylight requires a lot of expertise that most general contractors don’t have. An experienced roofing company can re-install the skylight in a way that prevents leaks.
    • Condensation. Condensation that builds up on the skylight may end up in your home. A roofer can help trace the source of the condensation, which may be the wrong roofing materials or poor placement of flashing.


If your roofer confirms that the skylight is leaking, then the skylight will need to be replaced. However, they may find the leak is due to one of the other abovementioned problems. In that case, they can address the issue directly. That might mean replacing some shingles, replacing the flashing, or even re-installing the whole skylight.

5. You Want a More Efficient Model

Skylights are windows. Heat can travel through them. However, there are newer skylights that are made to be more energy-efficient. Features like Low-E glass and improved insulation reduce heat transfer through the skylight. Upgrading can save you money on energy, even if your current skylight isn’t leaking.

If you have a skylight, keep an eye on it to know when to call for repairs or replacement. Contact Adam Vaillancourt Roofing for all of your skylight repair and replacement needs in Southern New Hampshire or Northern Massachusetts.