Leaking Commercial Skylight or Condensation?

commercial skylight - Mares Dow

When it comes to the pros and cons of commercial skylights, the list of benefits is a long one. Skylights provide natural light in spaces that might not have access to it through windows, and skylights bring all the benefits of that natural light – improved employee productivity and well-being and overall energy savings in building operations. However, skylights, like any feature of the building envelope, are susceptible to damage and leaking. Skylights can also fall victim to condensation. But how do you tell which problem it is in your building? If you notice a drip, drip from your skylights, here are some of the signs and causes of leaks and condensation so you can determine which is the culprit and find the right fix.  

Signs and causes of condensation

It is fairly common for skylights to get a little foggy at times. When the internal air is warmer than the skylight pane which is cooled by external air, the moisture of the internal air will condense on the surface. Many of today’s commercial skylights are engineered with insulating layers to minimize this reaction, but when it does occur they are also designed to funnel the condensation into weep holes which move the water outside. If these weep holes or condensation wicking systems are not functioning properly, the water will instead remain inside and drip from the skylight. To determine if condensation is the cause of your puddles of water, see if the weep holes have been obstructed. If when you remove the clog your drip stops, it was likely a problem of condensation. 

Signs and causes of leaks

If you have worked to fix any issues with your skylight’s condensation wicking system and the dripping does not stop, you probably have a leak. Leaks can occur for a range of reasons. One basic and unfortunate reason is that they were improperly installed in the first place. But exposure to the elements over time also takes its toll. The metal flashing around the skylight can become corroded or dented. The material used to seal the skylight pane to its frame can become compromised. If the skylight was installed with roof cement that material can crumble over time. All of these could potentially be the source of your leak. Like when you work with home remodeling contractors to address skilled residential repairs, its a good idea to contact a professional to diagnose and remedy issues with skylights. 


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