Skylights Can Cause Ice Problems: Info from a Residential Roofing Contractor in Traverse City, MI

Skylights Can Cause Ice Problems: Info from a Residential Roofing Contractor in Traverse City, MI

November 15, 2016

Skylights might add some aesthetic appeal to a home, but there’s no doubt that they can also cause a fair amount of roof-related problems, especially during the winter months. Like recessed lights and cathedral ceilings, they add some value for homeowners, while at the same time creating a number of energy-related challenges. Unfortunately, not all of these problems are extremely easy to fix, even by a highly skilled residential roofing contractor in Traverse City, MI.

Skylights are essentially the same thing as windows, just installed at a different angle. Windows themselves can cause a number of energy-related problems in a home if they are poor-quality, poorly insulated fixtures that let air leak into the home. But even low-grade windows don’t need to worry about collecting buildups of snow and ice, because they are installed vertically.

Here are a few of the biggest problems associated with skylights in the winter:

  • Angle of installation: With a skylight, you have some of the same concerns about air leakage, as the R-value (measurement of air retention) of top-quality skylights is still going to be significantly less than the R-value of a roof. But you also have to consider that skylights are installed at an angle, which means they are susceptible to those buildups of ice and snow. As snow and ice collects, it can cause leakage into the areas around the skylight.
  • Location of installation: Another major problem is that skylights are often installed in bathrooms. This certainly offers some appeal from a design perspective, as bathrooms are often lacking in good natural light. But the problem with this is that on colder days, the interior of the skylight will dip below the dew point. Because bathrooms are high-steam locations, that means the steam is going to turn from vapor into liquid condensation pretty easily, causing drips all around the skylight. The more condensation you have, the more potential moisture problems you could have to deal with as well.
  • Lack of ventilation: Well-ventilated roofs need airflow from the soffit to the peak of the roof. Skylights tend to disrupt that flow, which means your home could suffer from poor air ventilation.
  • Melting and ice dams: Skylights during winter weather have the potential to significantly warm the roof deck near them, because of the warm air coming from inside the home. This melting snow and ice will slide down and transform back into ice in other areas, which can create ice dams. Ice dams have their fair share of associated problems, including cracked roofs, damaged shingles, collapsed gutters and more. This melting can also form icicles, which can be a safety hazard for people walking below your home along the sides of the house.

Simply put, there are a lot of common roofing problems associated with skylights. To mitigate these problems, you should work with a residential roofing contractor in Traverse City, MI who can find where these potential issues could occur and put a stop to them before they become severe. To learn more about skylight repairs or request assistance with any roof-related troubles you may be experiencing, contact Qualified Roofing today.

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