How Long Do Skylights Last? (Types & Average Lifespan)

Benjamin Panico
by Benjamin Panico

Skylights are a great way to add natural light and a feeling of airiness to any room of your house. They can also help with your home’s utilities, decreasing heating and lighting costs. When you decide to install this gorgeous product, you may wonder how long you can expect it to last.

Skylights last for 8-15 years if they are well installed and in a convenient space. A skylight can last as little as 5-8 years if you experience storms, strong winds, and hail damage. Only clean your skylight with soap and water as abrasive chemicals can weaken them and shorten their life.

Finally, this post also discusses the different types of skylights. These are fixed skylights, vented skylights that open, and tubular (spherical) skylights for tight spaces. Each type has its own special features and considerations that can impact its lifespan.

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The Average Lifespan of Skylights

As noted above, you can expect your skylight to last for at least 8 years. However, there are many ways that a skylight could get damaged that it would not last this long. If your skylights are extremely high quality and well maintained, they can last for up to 15 years.

Even if you are not quite at 15 years, you should consider replacing your skylights with any roof repairs. If you are repairing or replacing your roof, this is the most convenient time for skylight replacements. You may find that you can save money doing both replacements at the same time.

The Importance of Proper Installation for the Lifespan of a Skylight

It is important to have your skylights installed by a professional in order to make sure they do not fail prematurely. Poor installation is the most common reason that a skylight fails to last at least to that eight-year mark. A professional will make sure that your skylights are properly sealed so you do not get leaks when it rains.

A gap that allows rain in will also allow cold air through, which will decrease your insulation factor. This can greatly increase your heating bill and be very energy inefficient. Therefore, installation is an important determinant of your skylight’s lifespan and proper functioning.

Climate and Weather Considerations that Impact the Lifespan of a Skylight

In addition to the above very important factors, there are certain geographical factors to be aware of. Depending on where you live, your skylight may not last quite as long as it otherwise would. Especially a lower quality skylight will be highly susceptible to damage from weather.

The most important factor is if you get a lot of snow, sleet, and hail in your area. These will put extra pressure on your skylight and the seal it maintains with your roof. Additionally, hail or other falling pieces like branches could damage or even crack your skylight.

Tips for Proper Maintenance of a Skylight in Order to Extend its Lifespan

There are a few different ways to take care of your skylight to make sure it lasts as long as it should. These tips are common mistakes people make with skylight maintenance. Unfortunately, they can lead to bigger problems than the ones you were fixing.

Do Not Use a Standard Sealant or Caulk for Skylight Repairs

Skylights, like other windows, need room to be able to expand and contract with weather changes. Because wood is sensitive to temperatures, you cannot use a standard sealant or caulk. These would prevent the natural fluctuations of the skylight’s frame. As a result, the pressure would be displaced to the skylight glass, which could crack or break.

There are special flexible sealants designed specifically for this purpose. As noted above, this is also an important consideration for the initial installation. When repairing gaps in your skylight, be sure to use the same material the installer used.

Clean Your Skylight with Just Soap and Water

You should plan to clean your skylights often. You do not want grime to build-up on the glass since it will inhibit the sunlight’s ability to enter your home. However, be gentle with the glass when you do clean it.

Be sure to use a non-abrasive glass cleaner, as you could accidentally break down the glass’ protective coating. Additionally, do not use a metal scraper to get anything off the glass. This could easily scratch and damage your skylight.

What Are the Different Types of Skylights Available?

There are three main types of skylights, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages to consider. As noted at the head of the post, these types are fixed, vented, and tubular.

A fixed skylight is the most affordable option. Fixed skylights do not provide ventilation and are typically out of reach. On the other hand, vented skylights are able to open and provide airflow. Vented skylights can be used for emergency egress in loft spaces.

Because vented skylights open, the seal is less sturdy than that of fixed skylights. It can be more vulnerable to leaking and may require greater maintenance. It does not necessarily decrease the lifespan of the skylight, but it is important to keep in mind.

Finally, tubular skylights are round spheres typically used in hallways, closets, and other tight spaces. They have reflective tubes from the glass dome to allow light to make its way down to the room. Tubular skylights typically come in sizes of ten to twenty-inch diameters.

How Much Do Skylights Typically Cost?

Skylight TypePrice Range
Fixed$100 – $500
Non-powered vented$200 – $600
Electric open vented$1,000 – $1,500
Vented with a screen$700 – $1,400
Egress skylight (opens fully)$850 – $1,200
10 inch tubular$180 – $240
14 inch tubular$280 – $530
22 inch tubular$400 – $600

As you can see in the chart above, there are a variety of sizes and styles of skylights. This ends up creating an extremely large range for their cost. Fixed and tubular skylights are the most affordable. The price ranges based on size and extra features. Some of these features might be self-flashing, extra UV protections, blinds, and more.

Vented skylights can be more expensive since there are some extra features that will add cost. First, if you have a vented skylight that is out of reach, you may want it to open itself. You can get a remote-controlled skylight that is either electric or solar-powered.

You can also get a vented skylight with a moisture sensor that closes automatically when it starts raining. Finally, some vented skylights also come with screens to keep bugs out when it is open. These are the most expensive additional features you can get in a skylight.

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Related Questions

How much does it cost to replace a skylight?

The cost of replacing a skylight is likely between $500 and $2,000. This depends on the cost of the replacement skylight as well as other work that needs to be done. If your roof is older, the skylight area may need to be weatherproofed again. Re-flashing a skylight hole typically costs between $200 and $600.On top of all this, you may need to fix or refinish the roofing and ceiling around the skylight. These additional pieces of the project can add both material and labor costs to the overall cost.

Can a skylight add value to my home’s resale value?

Yes, definitely! Skylights are generally considered very valuable for the resale value of a home. This is because they add a lot of aesthetic and practical value to a home. Skylights can brighten up dark rooms and make tight spaces feel airier.When you are showing your home, you should plan to open the skylight. As long as weather permits, this will allow people to feel the fresh air. It will also give visitors a sense of being in a larger space since they will be more cognizant of the skylight’s height.If you are thinking of installing a skylight in your home, you may consider this boost to your home’s resale value. The cost of the skylight and the installation may be worth it for you. Not only will you get to enjoy a skylight in your home, but you can also make the cost back later!

Benjamin Panico
Benjamin Panico

Benjamin is a freelance writer and graphic designer. He is passionate about DIY projects and finding creative ways to upcycle things headed for the landfill. Based in Oakland, CA, Benjamin enjoys playing guitar and gardening.

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