When we installed the skylight in our Atlanta sunroom, we used a flashing unit that came with the kit. Now the skylight leaks onto the sunroom flooring. I checked for drips from condensation, but it seems more like a structural problem with the room. I don't want to check every shingle on the roof. Can you recommend an affordable fix?
Jason D. ~ Atlanta, Georgia
Hi Jason, A skylight can be a great addition to any sunroom, sometimes it is incredible how much light they can add into a room and what a difference they make to the room's atmosphere, but they can also be a potential leaking problem that is difficult to solve once it starts.
In my experience most skylight leaks can be attributed to poor installations, but on occasion it can also be due to the skylight itself. You don't mention if you used a roofing contractor to install the skylight or if it was a DIY project, or how long ago the skylight was installed. If you used a roofing contractor and it has been installed within the past year, I would have the contractor come back and correct the leaking problem. Of course, if it turns out to be the skylight itself, then you are going to have to pay for the contractor's labor for coming out and looking for the leak.
If you installed the skylight in your sunroom as a DIY project, then it may fall on you to find the leak unless you just want to go ahead and hire a contractor to do it. I don't advise any homeowners to get on their roof unless they have experience in doing so and have the proper safety gear.
Whoever gets on the roof and checks for the leaking area shouldn't have to look at every shingle, the leak is more than likely right around the skylight. Someone should take a water hose onto the roof while another person is inside the sunroom looking up at the skylight. I would use the hose on low pressure and start on the lower slope of the face of the skylight and slowly work uphill with the water stream.
If you start at the uphill part of the skylight, the water is going to run downhill and when the leak appears on the inside you aren't going to know if the water leak happened higher and ran down to that spot or actually occurred in that spot. I always start low and work uphill. Checking the face should let you know if the skylight is defective or might have a broken seal.
Once you are satisfied that the face is not leaking I would use the hose around the edges of the skylight curb, again starting low and working uphill slowly. When your helper sees dampness or water dripping on the inside you should have a good idea of where the water is coming in at. At that point it is just a matter of taking a good look at the shingles and flashing in the area to determine the possible problem.
Finding water leaks, especially on the roof, is usually a matter of trial and error. Don't be surprised if it takes a couple of attempts before you are able to stop the leaking. I would also suggest that whoever gets on the roof do it in the early morning or on a cloudy day as I would imagine that a roof in Atlanta, Georgia can get pretty hot in the summertime.