Before You Buy: New Home Skylight Checklist

The spring housing market has sprung! If you’re looking for a new home, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the details to consider. If the home you’re interested in has skylights, it’s important to find out their condition before you buy.

Here’s a checklist to help you find out the condition of the skylights and if it might be more costly than usual to replace them, if necessary.

Skylight Checklist:

  • Perhaps most important, look for signs of past water damage or discoloration on the frame and the ceiling around the skylights. This is a sure sign that the skylights will need repair or replacement, if the work has not already been done.

Example of water damage on a sheetrock ceiling.

  • Find out how old the skylights are: skylights usually don’t last more than thirty years, less if they are not high quality.
  • Are they plastic bubbles or flat glass? If they are dual-paned, lowe3, tempered glass they will be more energy efficient.

The white skylight is an example of a plastic bubble, while the near skylight is an example of flat glass.

  • Are the skylights operable? If so, do they open and close properly?
  • What size are the skylights? If they are unusually large (over four feet in both dimensions or over six feet in one dimension) or unusually shaped, they will be expensive to replace, and it may even be difficult to find someone who can or will replace them.
  • How steep is the roof and what is the roof material? It is more difficult, and so more costly, to replace skylights on especially steep roofs and roofs that are a material other than composition shingle.

  

  

Clockwise from top left: Example of a Composition Shingle Roof; a Curved Tile Roof; a Standing Seam Metal Roof; and an unusually Steep Roof.