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Question DetailsAsked on 6/15/2011

Do I need to replace skylights with roof or can I just reflash them?

I just received a quote for roofing in Raleigh, NC. The contractor comes highly recommended both from friends as well as another general contractor that I have done business w/ for about 5 years. Although pricey he seems to have all the bases covered. One thing that he recommends is REPLACING the skylights during the re-roofing job. Now these skylights are Velux brand, and are about 11 yrs old. They have never leaked and I've never had any probs. The roofing guy says that disturbing the area around the skylights could lead to leaks and is LIKELY to lead to leaks. Well, I called the mfg (Velux) and they thought that this was crazy! They said, Just re-flash the skylights when the new roof goes on. My trusted contractor (the guy who recommended the roofer) agrees with Velux. Another good friend of mine who is in the door and window business also agrees with the just re-flash approach.The roofing guy insists that he has my best interest at heart and in reality, the price differential is only about $1000 but I don't want to spend $1K if it's not needed.At the moment, I am leaning towards only re-flashing.

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8 Answers

Voted Best Answer

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS Replace the skylight when doing a roof. If the seal fails after the roof install, you need to rip it all up

Any roofer who does not sell you on this method is probably the wrong roofer not looking out for your best interest.

Here's the secret.... A skylight replacement during a roof is a low margin job.. but a skylight AFTER a roof replacement is a cash cow!!

Answered 9 years ago by Onlythebestbuilder


I am not a roofer but I have slept in one of those motels and I've lived under roofs for nearly 60 years. Means I probably won't have a good answer and I'll likely confuse the issue.

I have inexpensive, bubble-shapped plexiglass skylights. If I was going to re-roof, I would replace them because plexiglass cracks and does all manner of things that you might as well correct while you are there and the additional cost wouldn't be much.

Velux, on the other hand, is a great product with an equally great reputation. My expectation would be new flashing only and you'd be good to go. I would look at it much the same as new siding on your house....if you got new siding would you expect to have new windows and doors too?

Now the tricky part. The roofer that comes highly-recommended feels differently. I'd ask him why, in light Velux's assurance, would he really want to do the additional work:

    If you say no, will it affect his warranty? Will he be doing anything that affects the water-tight nature of the skylight?Can't he assure a water-tight roof by doing the same good flashing job around the skylights that he does on the rest of the house?Were the (existing) skylights an add-on and may not fit exactly the same after he does a tear-off of your roof (if that's the case I'd side with the roofer immediately).

My suspicion is that the roofer is trying to cover his backside and not get into a situation where his good work and the good reputation you sought are called into question because of a leak from the skylights down the road. If he has been burned with similar problems in the past, you might expect him to stand firm on the need to replace what seems to be perfectly fine (but 11 years old) skylights and warranty the entire job.

Try this if the roofer stands on his claim they need to be replaced if he does the work:

    Ask if he will do the skylights on a strictly cost-basis. Lets him protect his reputation and you are assured that the new ones are made an integral part of the job without spending more than absolutely necessary.Ask your General Contractor if he will write the job using the roofer as a sub and guarantee the work without replacing the skylights. My suspicion would be he won't want to.Consider getting another estimate from an equally-qualified roofer.

When everyone you ask points to a single source and says: "Go with him", you might have to honor what created that person's reputation and respect it or go back to your friends and ask who their second-favorite roofer is.

Good luck!

Answered 9 years ago by Old Grouch


YES ALWAYS REPLACE THEM,WE USE TO TRY AND SAVE THEM FOR OUR CUSTOMERS AND EVERY TIME NOT SOME BUT EVERY time we had to end up coming back and replacing them with new ones,The bubble type especially,The problem with the Velux is they will warp when you tear off the shingles around them and if the seal is broken in it you will create a energy loss and moisture build up..So for a few more dollars you should replace them also make sure they use a "6" nail pattern for there shingles and also make sure they use a true starter shingle for starters like a Swift Start from Certainteed or Pro-Start from G.A.F. this is required to meet the new Internatioinal Building code and High Wind Rating..


Answered 9 years ago by Ronnie1970


Being that the skylights are high quality Velux and they are only 11 years old you do not have to replace them. Your contractor is correct in saying that it is possible for a skylight which has never leaked, to start leaking in the future after being disturbed during the roofing process, but this is unlikely in your case. At 11 years old the flashing should still be in perfect shape, so you might not even have to replace the flashing. In my roofing career I have replaced over 3,000 roofs. What I always tell customers in your situation is: Save the money and do not replace the skylight, it can always be done at a later date if it gives you a problem. It does not have to be replaced with the roof. Also, our price for a simple 2 foot by 4 foot skylight is $485.00. Your contractors price seems high unless the skylight is very large.

Answered 9 years ago by Redline Roofing


$1,000 for multiple skylights to be replaced during the re-roofing seems like an appropriate cost; considering he will be replacing with the same quality you currently have, a light runs between $400 and $500, he isn't making much. This does not seem to be a large profit for him and he is garunteeing that no leaks/ problems will occur if you do it this way.

To save that $1,000 what you have is the contractor has warned you the skylights may leak; which means if they do he isn't responsible; he warned you and you disregarded it.

You have good reports on this contractor from multiple trusted sources. If you doubt his opinion right now, before the project even starts, don't bother signing a contract; what will you feel if he tells you he found rotten sheathing under your roof or suggests additional corrections once the old roof is off? Go find yourself another roofing contractor you will trust the opinion of or start trusting the one you already found.

Now, from another standpoint, at 11 years you are not talking about a new skylight. Most seals on regular windows start to give out in the 10 to 15 year range, a skylight faces much harsher conditions. The flashing on the skylight is probably in fine shape, but that is not the only place the lights wear / leak.

A reflash job, which to be done right will probably require the skylight to be disassembled at least partially. The skylights' built in flashing may be brittle or damaged, so to get the coping and counter flashing in, you may need to open the light. This may cause the old light to leak where it didn't before, etc.

Skylights leak. Do everything you can to prevent this. My opinion: Reflashing after the professional (whom you contacted after hearing a lot of good referals from trusted sources) has advised you to replace, for a negligable amount, is foolish.

Answered 9 years ago by Kenny Johnson


As a roofing contractor I always recommend that the skylights be replaced when the roof is replaced. As you can imagine not every customer will take me up on this recomendation. I would say 60% will however. For the 40% that do not I am forced to write a disclaimer into the contract, stating that we are not responsible for skylight leaks. Of the 40% who risk it 50% experience skylight leakage before the rest of the roof.

Having said that many of my competitors won't even bother reflashing the skylight. I feel that not only is replacement of all flashing absolutely essential to a long lasting roofing system, the addition of ice shield as a preflashing on sloped roofs too is of paramount importance!


Answered 8 years ago by ReliableAmericanRoof


Can they be re-flashed...yes.

Do we recommend replacement when we are doing a roof...yes.

I prefer Curb mount units so that they can be serviced in the future without disturbing the roof but given the investment in the roof, I would replaced the skylights at the same time.

Answered 6 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions


A journeyman quality roofer would/should be able to flash any part of a roof the requires flashing. You wouldn't replace a chimney, you simply install the flashing properly. (unless the mortar and bricks were in bad shape). The same with skylights. If the skylight is in good shape then no reason to replace. Unless you want a different or size. There is a difference between a roofer and a shingler.

Source: fifteen years experiance as a roofer on all types structures and roofing materials

Answered 6 years ago by Guest_9464385


Velux are low end trash.

Mine leaked around the glass at 4 years the other two made it almost ten years before having the same problems.

Not a roofing issue a manufacturing issue.

So replace with another brand.

Source: Personal experience

Answered 4 years ago by Jonathan

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