Skylights | DIY Repair – Removal

Learn how to quickly fix or completely remove a leaking skylight. These easy to follow DIY instructions include a quick patching technique to stop leaks.

Quick Repair for a Leaking Skylight

A leaking roof is a serious condition. Even small leaks may lead to the rapid development of dangerous molds. Skylights rely on flashing to integrate into the structure of the roof. The flashing consists of small pieces of sheet metal crafted to fit at each row of shingles. The corners of the skylight are the most at the top and bottom are the areas most often done wrong.

Sometimes a leak will readily present itself. Sometimes they are very difficult to detect. If the leak is obvious then thoroughly cover it with UV resistant clear silicone. Do this by laying down several thick beads then spreading it with a putty knife. Be liberal. If the leak is hard to find, then be even more liberal. Start at the bottom with a very thick coating. Do the sides and the top. The end result should have a giant bead of silicone rising up a high as possible and tapering out several inches over the roof all the way around the skylight. Do this properly and the repair wil last a long time. The main thing is to use enough high quality silicone. Even at six dollars a tube for the premium stuff, a dozen tubes is less than $80. This is more than enough for the most generous of applications.

Permanent Skylight Removal

Sometimes a roof is better off without a skylight. Use a flat bar to remove the shingles back to the closest whole shingle. Then use the flat bar to remove all flashing and nails in the unit itself. Saw the decking back to the center of the rafters or nail on two by fours around the perimeter of the top so the new decking will be even with the existing decking. Cover it with black roofing paper. Match the shingles as close as possible and nail them down. A perfect match in this case will probably not happen.

On the inside nail on another perimeter of two by fours about 5/8″ above the finished ceiling. This extra 1/8″ will make matching the ceiling texture much easier. Insulate the shaft with at least R-19 (six inches); the more the better. Cut a piece drywall one quarter inch smaller than the opening. Nail up the drywall or screw it. It really does not matter. Apply a liberal coat of sheet rock compound (mud) to the nail impressions and around the perimeter. Use a putty knife to spread down four lengths of tape over the mud. Squeeze out the excess mud with putty knife repeatedly until the tape is as flat as possible. For acoustic ceilings, use an aerosol applicator and just spray it on. For smooth finished ceilings two more coats of mud with a light sanding at the end will do the trick. Regular mud needs twenty four hours between coats. Fast drying variants are effective but are more difficult to work with.

Good luck with repairing or removing the skylight. Just remember, safety first.