Skylights And Your Metal Roof: What to know

Skylights And Your Metal Roof: What To Know

by

James
February 25, 2022
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If the inside of your home is looking dark in places, you might consider installing windows to encourage more of the sun to enter your living space, but what about installing skylights instead?

Skylights give your home more natural light, plus they add a touch of elegance to its architectural design.

If you have a metal roof, however, you might wonder if skylights are even possible. The good news is that you can install skylights on your metal roof. 

Are skylights compatible with all metal roofs?

You don’t have to worry about skylight compatibility because whether you have an aluminum, steel, or other metal roof, you will be able to install skylights in it.

However, it’s good to know some important things pertaining to skylight installation as this process is crucial to do properly so that your roof won’t experience leaks and water damage.

Let’s explore what you need to know about skylights and look at some concerns you might have about metal roofs. 

What Are Skylights?

Skylights And Your Metal Roof: What to know

Skylights are basically like windows on your roof. They’re glazed openings that you can install on a flat or pitched roof so that your home gets more natural light. They can also let air inside if they’re vented or can be opened, which is a great way to increase your home’s indoor air quality.

This can also help you to maintain better temperature control in your home. By warming your indoor space and keeping it cool when the external temperature is uncomfortable, skylights can make your home more energy efficient and less reliant on air conditioning systems. 

Skylights come with other advantages for the home. They give you more natural views of your environment, such as trees and sky, which is not only appealing but makes the living space appear larger, in the same way that having mirrors and windows in the home has an enlarging effect.

Skylights are also valuable in the future if you want to sell your home. While they won’t actually add monetary value to your house, they have a swimming pool-like effect on the home. This is because, like a swimming pool, skylights improve the overall appearance of your home, which will appeal to potential home buyers. 

Types Of Skylights For Metal Roofs 

There are two popular types of skylights for metal roofs. These are light transmitting panels (LTPs) and curb-mount skylights.

Both of these have many similar benefits, but some important differences to know about.

LTPS 

Skylights And Your Metal Roof: What to know

LTPs are made from see-through material and since the panel is formed so that it will be suitable for the configuration of the roofing system into which it is being installed, it’s a seamless solution. This means that it will work well with specific metal roofs.

These skylights are available in a variety of panel designs and can be used in metal roofs as well as on metal wall panels. This is great if you have a home made out of metal and you want skylights instead of windows to bring more natural light into your living space.

Curb-Mount  

Skylights And Your Metal Roof: What to know

By comparison, curb-mount skylights have a raised “curb” or structure around the opening of the roof where the skylight gets installed. These are useful to accommodate the pitch and slope of your roof.

Curb-mount skylights come in a variety of styles and shapes to match your preferences. 

How To Install Skylights On A Metal Roof 

While you’re naturally pleased to know that skylights can be safely mounted onto metal roofs, you have to ensure that you know some important things about their installation. 

  • For starters, you need to have the skylights installed on a metal roof by a professional. If your skylight is flush-mounted instead of curb-mounted, it can cause leaks in the seams. Generally, incorrect mounting can cause water damage in the home, which is what you want to avoid.
  • You need to prevent skylights from being noisy. You can insulate your metal roof to prevent rain and storms from making a noise on it, but skylights can also become loud during unpredictable weather conditions. After all, they’re basically like glass windows, so they will amplify the sounds of storms and hail during harsh weather conditions. You will have to ask a professional installer about interior covers that can open and close to reduce noise. This is important to make your living conditions more comfortable. 
  • You will need thermal glass. Just because you’ve had a skylight installed in your roof, it doesn’t mean that it will inherently provide warmth or improve how cool your living space feels during hot weather. To maximize the ability of the skylight to prevent a loss of energy in your home, you need to ensure the skylight contains thermal glass. 
  • You will need to install flashing. Roof flashing is thin metal that will be used during the skylight installation to move water away from certain parts of the roof to prevent it from accumulating and causing leaks. The flashing needs to be done correctly, which is why you have to get your skylights professionally installed. Roof flashing is not something to try to work around – your roof has to make use of it to be as watertight as possible! 

Concerns You Might Have About Metal Roofs

Skylights And Your Metal Roof: What to know

Now that we’ve looked at some important things to know about skylights and their installation, you might still have some questions about metal roofs, such as if they’re too susceptible to corrosion to have skylights installed in them.

Let’s explore some of the most common concerns homeowners have about metal roofs. 

Do Metal Roofs Corrode?

One of the biggest concerns you might have when installing skylights on a metal roof is that the metal will corrode and rust. While this is possible, you can ensure that the metal is kept in good condition to prevent it.

Some metal roof manufacturers use silicone products to create a barrier against moisture. You can also do some metal roof maintenance to prevent the roof from corroding, such as by ensuring you remove snow and ice after storms so the water doesn’t accumulate and puddle on the roof and corrode it over time. 

Do Metal Roofs Get Dented More Easily Than Other Roofs? 

Although it’s a common idea that metal roofs tend to become dented more than other types of roofing materials, the truth is that metal roofs are quite durable.

It’s actually difficult to dent metal, and this is also why you can walk on your metal roof, as long as you bear some precautions in mind. To find out more, read our guide, “Can You Walk On A Metal Roof?

As long as your metal roof has been installed properly, it can withstand damage. Even when it comes to hail, which one would assume would easily dent metal, the truth is that most hail stones aren’t large enough to cause dents in metal roofs. 

Do Metal Roofs Get Dusty? 

Skylights And Your Metal Roof: What to know

You should clean your metal roof regularly, just as you should if you own other roofing materials, and this should take the form of rinsing your roof to remove dust and dirt. If these are left to accumulate, it can cause your metal roof to look dirty or even become stained.

While it’s thought that metal roofs get dirtier than other roofing materials, it’s just that dust and dirt are more noticeable on them because of their smooth surfaces. 

What About Metal Roof Thermal Expansion?

Another thing to consider when you want to install a metal roof on your home, and perhaps have skylights, is that your metal roof will expand as a result of the heat.

When the sun heats up your metal roof, its segments will expand and these will also move against the segments that aren’t expanding at the same pace. This can cause friction and tension, and it can also cause some noises in the metal roof.

However, having your metal roof properly installed will ensure that your roof’s thermal expansion is nothing to worry about.

The metal roofing will actually accommodate this natural process when it happens. You might still hear expansion noises, such as clicks, but they won’t last long or be too loud. 

Is It Easy To Install Skylights On A Metal Roof? 

Skylights And Your Metal Roof: What to know

It is generally easier to install skylights on a metal roof when the roof is being installed, so they can both be installed at the same time. However, installing skylights in a metal roof should be done by a professional.

Flashing details need to be done, and these should be prioritized to prevent leaks at the metal seams when it rains. If the skylight is not properly installed in the roof, it will cause water to enter the home. You should only consider installing skylights yourself if you have previous experience. 

How Much Does It Cost To Install Skylights In A Metal Roof? 

You’ve decided that you want to go ahead and install skylights in your metal roof. Great! Now you have to think about how much it will cost.

When getting your skylights installed in a metal roof, you will need to consider the type and size of your skylight as this will affect the pricing. Bear in mind that since you’ll require the installation to be done by a skilled professional, this can bump up your costs.

Skylight installation costs around $800 to $1,200, when the roof is already installed in your home. If you’re replacing your roof at the same time as installing skylights, this will cost less money because it will take less time, so that’s something to consider.

What Roof Slope Is Ideal For Skylight Installation? 

Before you go ahead and choose skylights for your home, you have to consider your roof slope and if it will be adequate for skylight installation.

If you have a flat metal roof, you need to ensure there’s a minimum pitch (or fall) of 0.6 in 12 for skylights to be installed. This pitch will prevent water from accumulating on the skylight glass, therefore protecting your metal roof and skylight against water damage and leaks.  

Even better, having more pitch will ensure that the water drains off more effectively and faster, so a higher pitch of 1 in 12 will be ideal.

Note that sometimes installation techniques can accommodate a flatter pitch. For example, in order to ensure you get the right pitch for the skylight a curb can be built around the roof aperture. This accommodates the slope so that the skylight can be properly fixed to it and encourage greater water runoff.  

Related Questions 

Do skylights leak?

As long as you get your skylights installed by a professional with experience, you will be able to extend the lifespan of your skylights and prevent unnecessary water damage.

How long do skylights last?

A skylight will have a lifespan of between eight and 15 years, but this does depend on how well it was installed and its quality.

Conclusion 

If you have a metal roof and you want to bring more light into your home, you might consider installing skylights. But can you?

In this article, we’ve featured all the information you need to know about metal roof skylights, hopefully removing your fear that you can’t install skylights on a metal roof. We’ve also busted other metal roof myths, such as that they’re noisy and prone to denting.

Sources:

James

James Weldon is a professional roofing contractor with many years of experience on the job. He does not only handle large projects and provide excellent services for his company’s many clients; James Weldon also dedicates his spare time to teaching others useful tricks of the trade. Using BuildCampus as an avenue to reach many roofers and aspiring roofing contractors, James Weldon continues to provide high-quality educational posts and buying recommendations for anyone who visits the website.