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How often do skylights need to be replaced?

Get answers to top-asked questions about replacing skylights. 

A bird's eye view of a house with many skylights installed on the roof.

From bedrooms and kitchens to bathrooms and lounge spaces, skylights with shades are the most beautiful way to add rich daylight and maximum fresh airflow into a home. While VELUX® skylights are made to last for more than a decade — and they often do — no skylight lasts forever, and as with many other components of your home, there will come a time when you need to replace your skylights.

But how often should skylights be replaced and when? Read on to find answers to these common skylight replacement questions and tips for maintaining your skylights year after year.

How long do skylights typically last?

Many VELUX skylights can last 20 years or more with typical wear and tear from being on the roof. Of course, like any exterior feature of your home, the best way to ensure skylights function at their prime is always proper installation. Hiring a VELUX-trained installer can not only help you save time and provide exceptional installation, but it can also ensure that your skylights last as long as possible by relying on someone who understands how to install them properly.

What are the signs that a skylight may need to be replaced?

There are many strong indicators that it may be time to replace a skylight. If you’re looking for a telltale sign, consider five of the most common:

  • Skylight Age: It’s best to upgrade your skylights after about 30 years because the newest models will offer innovations and ensure your skylight remains code compliant. If your skylight is around this age, have it checked by a professional.
  • Leaks: Leaks typically mean there is an issue with the window sealant. If you notice dripping from the sides around your skylight or water accumulating beneath it, it’s time to have your skylight replaced.
  • Cracks: Never ignore cracks in your skylight. Big or small, cracks can lead to larger issues such as water coming into your home. This is an immediate indication that your skylight will need to be replaced.
  • Discoloration: Discoloration is often a sign that moisture is getting through the skylight and settling in the drywall. If you notice yellow stains around your skylight, your skylight should be replaced.
  • Condensation: Condensation on skylights can occur when warm, moist air from a structure’s interior comes in contact with cold skylights. Specifically with VELUX skylights, if after cleaning there still seem to be streaks of condensation between the panes, the sealant has failed and it may be time for a replacement.

Think your skylights need to be replaced?

Contact a VELUX skylight installer to schedule a skylight assessment.

Can skylight glass be replaced?

Yes, on some models. If your skylight glass needs to be replaced, contact the VELUX customer service team to help you assess the specific situation and skylight model involved.

Tip: All VELUX skylights include a data plate mounted on the frame that contains the product serial number. This identifies the skylight model, glass type and date of manufacture. When requesting product servicing, including expertise for replacing your skylight, you should locate this number prior to contacting us. Doing so will help us provide you with the best and most efficient service possible.

What is the best time to replace my skylights?

One of the best times to proactively replace skylights is when you replace your roofing material. Doing both at the same time will save time and money and synchronize your skylight and roofing warranties.

But how does it work? A single skylight replacement typically takes a couple hours. Your installer will remove the existing skylight and flashing and replace both. Sometimes, they also need to do some interior touch-ups, such as repainting and trimming out the top of the light well.

How should I maintain my skylights?

Occasionally cleaning normal buildup and debris will help keep your skylights looking and functioning their best — and the process is simple. For the inside, use soft water or a nonabrasive cleaner with a soft, lint-free cloth, a chamois leather piece or a nonabrasive sponge.

VELUX skylights don’t require much maintenance, but these handy do’s and don’ts can help your skylights emit crystal clear views year-round:

  • Don’t use cleaning products containing abrasive particles.
  • Don’t use chemical products when cleaning the pane.
  • Avoid touching the glass with sharp or abrasive objects, including jewelry.
  • Always apply water first when attempting to clean dirt off the glass.
  • Clean where the flashing is installed so rainwater will continue to flow freely around the skylights.

Want more tips? Learn more about cleaning skylights from the inside out.

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