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How to Properly Maintain Your Skylight: A Comprehensive Guide

TL;DR: This comprehensive guide explains the importance of regular maintenance for skylights in your home. Skylight maintenance involves cleaning, inspection, and addressing potential issues to ensure they remain functional and aesthetically pleasing. The frequency of cleaning depends on the environment, with recommended biannual cleaning. It provides step-by-step instructions for DIY cleaning, but exterior cleaning and water damage repairs are best left to professionals. Regular inspections and additional tips like reducing condensation and clearing debris are also covered. Proper skylight maintenance enhances your home’s comfort and ambiance while preventing costly repairs.

Skylights are a fantastic addition to any home, providing ample natural light and enhancing the overall ambiance of your living space. However, they require regular maintenance to look fantastic and function optimally. 

By following a few simple steps, you can ensure that your skylight remains in excellent condition for years to come. In this comprehensive guide, we will tell you more about how to maintain your skylight, helping you save money on repairs and prolong the lifespan of this beautiful feature.

Why Skylight Maintenance Matters

Regular skylight maintenance is essential for several reasons. First, cleaning your skylight helps to remove dirt, dust, and debris that can accumulate over time, obstructing the flow of natural light. Neglecting your skylight maintenance can cause excess condensation, leaks, and damage to the glass or frame. By implementing a proper maintenance routine, you can prevent these problems and ensure that your skylight continues to enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal and functionality.

Furthermore, regular maintenance allows you to identify and address potential problems before they worsen. This can prevent costly repairs or the need for a complete skylight replacement. By taking the time to clean and inspect your skylight regularly, you are preserving its functionality and protecting the overall value of your home.

How Often Should You Clean Your Skylight?

The frequency of skylight cleaning depends on various factors, including the environment in which your home is situated and the amount of debris or pollution in the area. Generally, you should clean your skylight at least twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall. This biannual cleaning routine will help ensure your skylight remains clear and free from any buildup that could affect its performance. 

Keeping up with such a skylight maintenance routine helps retain its functionality in addition to keeping it crystal clear. Regular checks include looking for any potential cracks or leaks in the glass or seals and inspecting the surrounding frame for any signs of wear or damage. 

While you can do all this yourself, scheduling a professional skylight cleaning service is recommended if you are uncomfortable or inexperienced in doing it yourself.

How to Maintain Your Skylight: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cleaning your skylight is a relatively straightforward process you can do yourself with the right tools and techniques. However, it is essential to exercise caution and follow safety guidelines, especially if your skylight is located at a height or in a hard-to-reach area. So, before climbing up, make sure you put safety first and then follow these steps: 

Gather Your Tools and Materials

Before starting the cleaning process, ensure you can easily reach everything you need. That means starting by gathering and organizing the following items: 

  • Ladder
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Mild detergent or glass cleaner
  • Squeegee

Prepare the Skylight for Cleaning

Ensure your safety by setting up a sturdy ladder to reach the skylight comfortably. Once you are up there, the first thing to focus on is removing any loose debris from the skylight’s exterior, such as leaves or twigs. This is important because it helps prevent the debris from falling onto the glass during cleaning. 

Start With the Interior Glass

Begin cleaning by addressing the interior glass of the skylight first. Dampen a soft cloth or sponge into a mixture of warm water and mild detergent or glass cleaner. Then, gently wipe the glass in a circular motion, removing any dirt or smudges.

Clean the Exterior Glass

Cleaning the exterior glass of a skylight can be more challenging, especially if you can’t reach it easily. If and when you are comfortable and confident in your ability to do so safely, consider the following steps:

  1. Use a ladder to reach the exterior of the skylight.
  2. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the bucket of warm water and mild detergent or glass cleaner. Gently scrub the glass, paying extra attention to areas with stubborn dirt or stains.
  3. Finish by rinsing the skylight with clean water, removing all soapy residue.
  4. Dry the glass with a squeegee or a clean, preferably lint-free, cloth to prevent streaks.

Inspect for damage

After cleaning your skylight, do a detailed inspection and identify any potential signs of damage. Look for cracks in the glass, loose seals, damage or moisture build-up in the frame, or any other issues. If you address such issues from the moment they appear, you can prevent further damage and potential leaks. In most cases, such problems will require professional attention, but you can always call a reliable company like Elite Roofing to handle the matter.

Professional Skylight Maintenance

While DIY cleaning is suitable for regular maintenance, some aspects of skylight maintenance are best left to professionals. Here are a few instances when you should consider hiring a professional for skylight maintenance instead of risking your safety: 

Exterior Cleaning

While you can clean the interior of your skylight yourself, it is advisable to leave the exterior cleaning to professionals. They have the expertise, safety equipment, and knowledge to clean the skylight’s exterior without causing damage or putting themselves at risk. As mentioned earlier, cleaning the exterior twice a year is more than sufficient, while you can quickly take care of the interior whenever you desire.  

Water Damage Repairs

If you notice any signs of water damage, such as leaks or discoloration around the frame of your skylight, it is crucial to seek professional assistance. Water and condensation damage can be challenging to address without proper tools and knowledge, so relying on a roofing expert is the best action.

Regular inspections

While you can perform visual inspections yourself, scheduling regular professional inspections is highly recommended. Experts can thoroughly examine your skylight, including the flashing and surrounding areas, to identify any potential issues that may require attention and you might have missed. 

Additional Skylight Maintenance Tips

In addition to regular cleaning and professional inspections and repairs, we have a few extra tips and tricks on how to maintain your skylight. By following them and implementing a regular cleaning routine, you can enjoy the benefits of a clean and well-maintained skylight for years to come:

  • Limit condensation: Excessive condensation can lead to water damage and other issues. To reduce condensation, ensure proper ventilation by opening your skylight for a few minutes daily and maintaining a constant room temperature.
  • Clear debris: Regularly clear leaves, twigs, and other debris from the flashing around your skylight to prevent clogs and ensure proper water drainage.
  • Check for leaks: Look for any signs of leaks, such as water stains or dampness around your skylight. Contact a professional immediately to prevent further damage if you notice any issues.
  • Protect the wood: If your skylight has a wooden frame, ensure it receives the necessary treatment every few years to protect it from the elements and maintain its appearance.

Concluding Thoughts on Skylight Maintenance

Maintaining your skylight doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the steps outlined in this guide and implementing the additional maintenance tips, you can enjoy the full benefits of natural light and a beautiful view through your skylight while prolonging its lifespan and preventing costly repairs. 

Remember, a well-maintained skylight is not only aesthetically pleasing but also contributes to your home’s overall comfort and ambiance. Regular cleaning and inspections are what our team of experts at Elite Roofing does best, so feel free to contact us for professional skylight assistance whenever needed!


How often should I clean my skylight?

Skylights should be cleaned at least twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall. However, the frequency can vary based on environmental factors and the amount of debris in your area. Regular cleaning helps maintain their clarity and functionality.

Can I clean the exterior of my skylight myself?

While you can clean the interior of your skylight yourself, it’s advisable to leave the exterior cleaning to professionals. They have the expertise, safety equipment, and knowledge to clean the exterior without causing damage or risking their safety.

What signs of water damage should I look for during skylight maintenance?

Signs of water damage include leaks, water stains, or discoloration around the skylight frame. If you notice any of these issues, it’s crucial to seek professional assistance promptly to prevent further damage.

How can I reduce condensation on my skylight?

To reduce condensation, ensure proper ventilation by briefly opening your skylight daily. Maintaining a constant room temperature also helps. Proper ventilation prevents excessive condensation, which can lead to water damage and other issues.