We’re working in Vancouver today. Doing roof upgrades to critical areas of this home. We’re adding new drains, overflow scuppers and a layer of granular cap sheet membrane. We’re also applying aluminum paint to an aged APP roof. This should give the home owner many more years of service out of their roof. The biggest positive effect we achieved today was installing a Velux venting skylight where an old non-venting acrylic domed skylight used to be. What a difference. We could feel improved air flow in the house immediately! Now I want one in my house.
The evidence was overwhelming. I saw it in Vancouver today and I’ve seen it elsewhere before. An aged skylight had a cracked frame and was failing. I’ve seen it before and now here is photographic proof. This is why I only install Velux skylights. They have eliminated this design failure in their new models. Velux now manufactures a single piece skylight. This old skylight was 15 years old but that’s not old enough to have this sort of failure in my opinion.
Let’s talk about skylights. I love them and feel they add so much to a room or space. There are two major manufacturers of skylights that are distributed in the Lower Mainland area. The two companies are Columbia Skylights and Velux. Don’t be confused by the name “Columbia” as Columbia Skylights is not related to the concrete tile manufacturer called Columbia Concrete Roof Tiles. Skylights can be broken down into two categories. Acrylic domed is the less expensive style compared to that of a sealed glass unit. When comparing these two model styles, it’s a case of you get what you pay for. To summarize MY position, I will only install sealed glass units and the skylights.
I recommend are made by Velux. Acrylic domed skylights are prone to condensation. They are not a tightly sealed unit and therefore have no thermal break. I’ve seen these skylights condensate in less than a year from original installation. That is not desirable. In addition they act as a virtual magnifying glass in the summer. What I mean is that the room below the skylight is going to be very warm when the sun beats down on the unit. Sealed glass units will only condensate when the air-tight seal has expired. That tells you it is time to replace it. Typically this seal will last 10-15 years, or more, past initial installation. Also sealed glass units are reflective so the room below will not be as warm as that of those with acrylic domed units.
Now let’s talk about leaks. The Columbia manufacturer has maintained a design that incorporates three separate pieces. The three pieces are the plastic saddle that sits on the curb, the glass or domed window and the frame which ties everything together. Too many times I have disassembled a Columbia skylight to find the plastic saddle cracked and allowing water to enter the house. Velux has recently evolved their design detail to incorporate the whole skylight assembly into a single piece unit. Velux’s design is superior in other ways also. There is a rubber baffle gasket around the perimeter of the skylight which when compressed allows a much more airtight seal onto the top of the curb. A Velux skylight can also be tightly snugged up to the upslope span of the curb which eliminates the possibility of snow build up entering the room below or a bouncing rain getting in under the frame causing a leak.
If you’re considering upgrading your skylights, call my cell 604-561-8798 for a free assessment and consultation.