Skylights are great features and can make a house seem larger, more airy and spacious, more in tune with nature, and more cheerful. But poorly kept skylights can also introduce costly leaks and water damage, so you should never buy a house without first checking out any skylights for obvious problems (and, of course, asking the seller if it's had any problems in the past). Here are some ways you can look at the skylight to determine whether it's been kept in good repair and whether it's likely to leak.
Look for signs of past leaks
If there's a water mark on the ceiling or any obvious water damage in the room (even on a nearby wall or the floor), chances are the skylight leaks. Of course, it's possible that the water damage on the floor came from a burst pipe, but you must get that water damage checked out by a professional before you make up your mind. You should also examine the skylight for condensation problems and look at the nearest wall downslope from the skylight to see if it's obviously been repainted recently (this is especially suspicious if the rest of the room hasn't been repainted).
Check the material
Examine the material of the skylight to see if it's scratched or has any micro-cracks in it, which are a sign of wear and can indicate that the skylight will soon need repair or replacement. You should also ask the seller what the skylight is made of and when it was last replaced. Some plastic skylight materials may have a short lifespan that would require you to replace the skylight in just a few years if it's a decade or two old, which may not be a deal-breaker but is definitely something you should take into consideration before making an offer.
Check the installation job
If the skylight is installed too flat, it's unlikely to drain well and it may have leaking problems in the future even if it hasn't had them in the past. Check to make sure that it's at a slight angle and, if you can open the skylight and look outside, check to see that the flashing around the skylight is correctly installed (or at least intact if you don't know much about roofs and flashing).
These tips will help you to check out a skylight's condition and quality so you know what to expect when you move into your new house. The fewer unpleasant surprises you receive, the better, so be sure to find out all you can about the skylight's history and then do your homework to find out more about common problems with the material it's made of.
For more information, contact local professionals like Alabama Glass Works Inc.