Fogged or Cloudy Skylights

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With age skylights tend to get cloudy or fogged, but this does not necessarily mean that the skylights are leaking. Some reasons that skylights become cloudy or fogged include:

  • Acrylic or plastic skylights tend to fade or become cloudy due to age and the suns UV rays. Like many skylight materials, they slowly loose their clarity and crispness.
  • Dual pane, insulated type of skylights may become foggy or cloudy if the seal between the panes loses it inner seal and condensation gathers between the two panes.

Faded, splotchy or discolored skylights

With time, skylights become discolored, faded and splotchy. The UV rays from the sun are the main reason that this occurs. The older the skylight, the higher the probability that it will fade or discolor. This is just part of the aging process.

There are cleaners on the market that may improve the clearness of many skylights and are easy to apply, however, at times it may be that the laminated glass or acrylic needs replacing. If replacement is necessary, the cost is generally very reasonable. Newer skylights often have UV protective coatings on them which prevents this type of damage from occurring.

Cooking Grime – Kitchen area skylights

Warm air carries grease particles and they gather on the under surface of skylight overtime. Cleaning usually cures this type of discoloration.

Is it condensation on the bottom side and not a fogged or cloudy skylight

On a hot summer day you have noticed how moisture in the air will turn to condensation on a cold glass of ice tea.  Well, when warm, moist air rises to the ceiling and hits a cold or cool skylight, you may get condensation. Bathrooms, kitchens and humid homes often have condensation issues, especially in the winter time. Don’t confuse this with thinking a skylight is leaking. If the skylight is a dual pane one and the seal is broken, then there may be moisture between the panes.

If buying a home and re-roofing – give serious consideration to replacing any old, damaged or defective skylights

The least expensive time to replace a skylight is when you’re re-roofing a home. The reason is that much of the cost of replacing a skylight is in the roofing expenses of removing the old skylight and flashing, then installing the new skylight and flashing; plus repairing the roof shingles or tile. If your decision is borderline, then consider that the life expectancy of a skylight can be between 8 to 15 years, sometimes 20 years. A lot depends on the climate and quality of the skylight. Naturally, newer skylights are generally much more energy efficient and help reduce heating and cooling bills.

Who to consult? Roofers and skylight installers.

Cleaning, general maintenance and caulking is often handled by home owners and handymen. Repairs or replacement of skylights is generally done by roofers and skylight installers.