Skylights are notorious for letting the rain in during the summer and causing ice dams during Manitoba’s harsh winters. Because they interrupt the roofing material, usually on a slope, it’s quite common for them to develop a leak over time. Leaks will usually develop as the surrounding shingles and the seal of the window unit begin the age, or much sooner if they were initially installed improperly.
The first thing to check for is condensation trouble on the inside of the glass or walls. If your skylight is located in a bathroom or other humid location, there’s a chance that the water you’re finding dripping down is actually not from outside your home, but from inside. If you suspect this is the problem, using the bathroom ventilation fan (or opening a window in the summer) should dry it up pretty quickly. Keep a close eye on your home’s humidity levels in the winter to avoid this condensation buildup in the future.
If the seals of the skylight itself have begun to fail, you may notice condensation forming on the inside of the sealed unit (between the panes of glass) or water entering nearer to the glass of the skylight than the roof level. This is very difficult to repair and most often appears at the end of the skylight’s service life, which is roughly 25 years for most skylights installed in Manitoba. If this is the case, full replacement of the skylight and surrounding shingles may be the best solution.
Ice and snow in the winter add even more complication to the mix. Snow that falls on top of the skylight tends to melt off quickly, but then refreeze when the water hits the cold roof surface. Repetition of this process with each snowfall eventually leads to pooling of water behind the ice dam that has formed, causing water to trickle through the roofing materials and appearing on your ceiling. Top quality roofing materials, including an ice and water shield all around the skylight, will help reduce the amount of water that seeps through, but because these are not capable of holding standing water, water may still find its way through. Frequent snow removal of the area is often the only solution to avoid ice dam leaks around skylights.
If none of these issues are causing the leak, chances are you need someone to have a look at the shingles and flashing from the top side. It’s possible that the skylight was improperly installed, or the surrounding shingles and sealants have worn out or been damaged. If your roofing material is near the end of its life, it’s likely going to show at a point of weakness (like a skylight) first.
Skylights are complicated and are rarely trouble free in Winnipeg, but the professional roofing technicians from Above All Roofing will be able to quickly diagnose the problem, and give you good options that will keep the water outside your house, where it belongs.