Replacing a skylight is a task that is possible to do yourself at home, but generally, a Baltimore, Maryland professional will yield better end results. A couple things come into play when you are looking to make changes to your skylights like the type of skylight is currently in use and the framing of the opening. Here is some information about how you can replace your skylight to save on energy costs and enjoy the natural light flooding into your room.
Type of Skylights
Installing a skylight is often considered easier than installing replacement windows in your home. The best skylights include a system of flashing that work to seal everything effectively. Two types of skylights are usually used. Curb-mounted skylights rise above the roof and sits on a wooden frame curb or the curb is a part of the unit itself. A framed-in-place skylight is flush with the roof more like a window. It is held where it belongs with some L-shaped brackets.
Curb-mounted skylights are usually topped with an acrylic dome. The glass often protects from UV damage and can even contain argon gas to add energy efficiency. The flashing is made up of a few separate pieces. A piece of head flashing slips under the shingles just above the opening. Side flashing slips under the head flashing and the shingles along the sides of the unit. Sill flashing goes under sill flashing but over the shingles below the skylight. This allows any water to just run around and off of the skylight.
Framed-in-place skylights have solid head flashing and sill flashing but change it up for the rest. Side flashing is a set of step shingles that matches the exposure of each roofing row. They are woven into the actually roofing and slip under each individual shingle.
The rough opening actually consists of three parts as well. You will not be able to see all of this until you have removed the skylight you are replacing. You will then be able to see how it is framed with headers. This lumber runs horizontally across the hole. It is securely nailed to the rafters which supports the structure. They are cut from lumber that matches the rafters. Curb-mounted skylights will require the use of a framed curb. The curb sits on the roof sheathing around the outside of the opening. The skylight then sits on the curb.
A roof shaft is the area between the skylight and the room below. Usually this is framed off to the same size as your skylight. Luckily, if you are only looking to replace a skylight, you will not have to worry about making a new frame and opening. You can make use of the hole already there.
Installing a curb-mounted skylight can be simple. Either use the curb provided or make your own as specified by the manufacturer of your skylight. Square your skylight and toenail it into place with galvanized nails. A bead of caulking should be run all around the top of the curb unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. Set the skylight into place and fasten it down. You will then need to replace shingles and insert the flashing.
Framed-in-place skylights can be mounted with the brackets and set into place. Fasten it in place and make sure that it is perfectly square. You are then ready to install the flashing.
Replacing a skylight is not that rough of a do it yourself project. By knowing what you are doing and having a little bit of help moving the heavy materials high up in the air, you should be able to successfully install a new one. If things get more complicated, contact a contractor that can help you finish the job right.