How Do You Install a Skylight?

Install a SkylightMost homeowners today are delighted with the idea of learning how to install a skylight to brighten and revitalize their home environments. Just the thought of waking to a new day amidst streams of sunlight from your bedroom ceiling skylight or having breakfast beneath the soft glowing natural light of your kitchen’s adjoining breakfast nook skylight is heavenly. One major concern is how to avoid messy and costly water leaks from skylight edges during rain and snowstorms, according to the Department of Energy. Can the average homeowner master the skill of skylight installation to prevent such major or minor home improvement disasters? The answer is definitely, “Yes.” Simply follow professional advice and step-by-step instructions, and your home’s interior will soon glow brightly with pure, natural lighting from your carefully self-installed modern skylight, secure from leaks and cracked or sagging ceilings.

Expert Instructions for Homeowner Installation of a Skylight

1. Create the Skylight Opening. – From underneath, insert a deck screw upward cleanly and completely through your roof at each corner point of your skylight’s measurements. Position yourself carefully and safely on the roof. Then remove all shingles within an area that extends seven or eight inches beyond these corner points. Connecting each pair of screws with a chalk line, cut through the roof sheathing along these lines on three sides with a circular saw. Do not lean or step on this cut portion of roofing.

2. Flash the Sill Securely. – Before cutting the skylight opening’s fourth side, have your work partner positioned beneath the roof to steady and lower the cutout roofing. After cutting, secure the roof sheathing down around the entire opening’s circumference with nails. After placing a self-adhering membrane across the opening’s lower edge, cut the top inch of membrane, folding it onto the sill. Now you are well on your way to knowing how to install a skylight.

3. Position the Skylight. – With your partner’s help, lift the skylight up through the roof opening and lower it onto the roof surface. Use galvanized roofing nails (1ΒΌ -inch) to secure the skylight to your roof, nailing through the skylight flange holes.

4. Seal All Sides Thoroughly. – After covering the lower flange with membrane extending six inches beyond the edges of the skylight, cut these extended portions outward from each skylight corner at an accurate 45-degree angle. Securing the top portion around the skylight framing, press the remaining membrane against the roofing, according to Mother Earth News. Repeat this procedure for the side and top flanges.

5. Secure the Lower Edge by Sill-Flashing. – Seal the lower membrane by nailing shingles over its edging. Positioning sill flashing on top of the shingles, use it to cover the skylight’s lower end. After securing this portion to the roofing with nails at the upper outside corners of the flashing, top the exposed areas with shingles.

6. Step-Flash or Layer the Sides. – Using step flashing in an L-shape, create an overlapping effect with the upper half of roof shingles now covering the sill flashing. Penetrate the top outward corner and nearby area with with nails. After topping the flashing by a shingle, continue layering flashing and shingles (step-flashing) along both skylight sides.

7. Seal All Sides by Counter-flashing. – Secure all sides of your skylight installation by placing sealing counter-flash stripping over the step flashing’s vertical legging. These counter-flashing strips will snap easily onto the edges of the skylight, securing all sides against leakage during rainfall and snowstorms.

8. Finish with Saddle Flashing. – As your final step in how to install a skylight, raise the first layer of shingles over the skylight, making a slit in the underlying sheeting beneath the shingles. Pull the top border of saddle flashing through this slit. Smoothing the flashing with shingles raised, secure the flashing to the skylight’s upper corners. Then nail a top layer of shingles securely over the flashing with four inches of flashing left exposed.

9. Maintaining Your Skylight. – After secure installation of your skylight, you should perform periodic inspections of both skylight and surrounding roof for any signs of wear and tear or potential leakage problems. If needed, you can replace roof shingles, membranes and counter-flashing strips in worn spots. If cracking or thinning of sill flashing occurs, any weakened areas can easily be reinforced or replaced. If portions of your roof require replacement from time to time, be sure to place a protective covering of wood, tar sheeting or heavy tarps over your skylight during roof repairs to avoid skylight scratching or breakage.

Related Resource: Considerations When Choosing Siding

You can successfully install a skylight in the roof of your home by following the advice and instructions of home improvement experts with professional installation experience. Skylights are attractive and healthy additions to any home’s interior, allowing natural lighting to enhance your entire living experience as a homeowner. You and your family, spouse or partner will enjoy many daylight hours of beneficial glowing sunlight beneath your new skylight. Once you have mastered the skill of how to install a skylight, you will also be amazed at the beauty of overhead stars in the night sky as viewed through your safely installed, secure window to the skies.