How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
What is the average life expectancy of skylights?
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
How long do skylights last?
You can expect a skylight or solar tube to last 8 to 20 years, with an average of 14 years. Like any roof penetration, a skylight that is poorly installed will soon leak, and any roofer will tell you “it’s not if a skylight will leak, it’s when.” Skylights with no curb or a very low curb have the most problems and are soon ringed with caulk in a futile effort to stop the ceiling wetness after a heavy rain. Also, see our article How do you flash skylight, chimney, and pipe vent roof penetrations on a metal roof?
Here’s a bar graph that compares estimated life of a skylight with other roof components.
Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house? for rating of other house components. To understand the basis, potential use, and limitations of lifespan ratings, see How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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To learn more about roofs and attics, see these other blog posts:
NOTE: These life expectancies are based on data provided by InterNACHI, NAHB, FannieMae, and our own professional experience. Because of the numerous variables that can affect a lifespan, they should be used as rough guidelines only, and not relied upon as a warranty or guarantee of future performance.
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