While skylights in the suburbs are a new[ish] development (last 20-25 years) skylights in DC have been used for the past 100 years to bring lights to the center of townhouses where side windows aren’t possible or practical. Often times we see skylights over the staircase and it serves to effectively bring some sunlight to both the first and second floors. Frankly, perhaps 60% of the townhouses we service in DC have skylights and the owners seem to treasure them. However, they are not without problems.
Some skylights are problematic…and if your skylight is leaking you know how annoying it can be. Plus, the leak -even if it is occasional – can lead to mold and rot. If your skylight is leaking you really should deal with it ASAP. The question is do you need to replace the skylight, replace the flashing, or replace the roof. Many times we are able to resolve the leak by reworking the flashing. Many roofers don’t pay appropriate attention to flashing a skylight and often the flashing, and not the skylight, are to blame for the leaks. If the skylight itself has failed it is time for a replacement. Finally, if the roof is at the end of its life the area by the skylight may have simply been the first to fail. Sadly, if that is the case it is time for a new roof.
In this instance the skylight itself had failed and was leaking. You can tell by the discolored trim and ceiling. We can often fix something like this within a few hours.