March 14, 2023
Skylight maintenance is required on occasion to increase a skylight’s longevity. But what is really necessary, and does this require professional help or can it be done DIY? Different materials require different techniques and considerations when being cleaned. Acrylic and glass skylights face separate challenges and require a different level of maintenance. Skylights must be maintained to protect the flashing from leakage, and also clean any debris or fogginess off the lens so that buildup doesn’t occur – which will eventually become much harder to remove in the long term.
Frequency of maintenance
You should give your skylight a proper inspection annually. They are generally pretty hardy, but checking up can increase their lifespan and reduce the incidence of problems. A checkup may yield issues like a cloudy or dirty interior face, which can be cleaned easily with a microfibre cloth or a non-abrasive household cleaner. If you use harsh chemicals – essentially anything stronger than dish soap and vinegar – you will most likely wreck an acrylic face or the film on your glass skylight. If your skylight is in a hard-to-reach place, there are some things you can do to ensure it gets a proper clean.
You should first remove any dirt or debris around the flashing. Using a soft-bristled brush to gently sweep away dirt or leaves, then follow with a hose-down of the skylight exterior. You can additionally use a cloth to wipe down the surface and minimise the number of streaks that will appear later on. If you have a hard-to-reach skylight, consider using a long-handled cleaning tool or a makeshift rag attached to a pole. Professional cleaners can ensure that your hard-to-reach skylight is cared for and maintained to a quality standard.
Myths about skylight maintenance
There are several myths surrounding skylight maintenance that can lead to improper care or damage to your skylight. One common myth is that skylights will always leak – this is an extremely common misgiving and some people believe that it’s just a matter of time before theirs will start leaking after installation. However, professional fitting and maintenance reduce the risk of leaks greatly. Ensuring that proper flashing and sealing is installed goes a long way, and so do regular inspections to mitigate damage.
Above: The NLP install team adds the seal to the hob before the skylight is installed.
Some homeowners also believe that tinted or coated skylights do not require cleaning. This is untrue, as while tinted or coated skylights do not get as obviously dirty and are prone to minimal visibility anyways, they still require general upkeep and maintenance. This is generally just to ensure that the sealing and flashing are in good condition, rather than about getting the skylight crystal-clear and streak-free.
Acrylic vs. glass
Acrylic skylights are often used in commercial or industrial settings due to their affordability and durability. When cleaning an acrylic skylight, there are a few things you need to be uniquely aware of to prolong its lifespan.
Inspect acrylic skylights for cracks and damages more regularly than you would inspect glass skylights. This kind is more prone to damage from weather and the elements. Acrylic skylights are also more susceptible to yellowing or discolouration over time due to exposure to UV rays. Consider installing a UV-blocking film or coating to protect the skylight, or just switch to one of Natural Lighting Products’ 95-99% UV-blocking glass skylights after it begins to look a little worse for wear.
Glass skylights are generally more durable and much more UV-resistant due to possessing a higher U-value, which indicates the amount of thermal resistance a material provides. To avoid most of the hassle that accompanies skylight cleaning, INFINITI glass skylights come equipped with a self-cleaning coating that works by reacting with UV to break down organic matter. The remaining detritus can easily be rinsed away by rain or a quick hose-down to reveal a perfect, sparkling finish. For those worried about the effort of skylight maintenance, choosing a glass skylight will be much more efficient when all things are considered.
Skylight maintenance is something that should be conducted to improve the longevity of your glass or acrylic skylight. It can be executed by a homeowner or a professional, in cases of hard-to-reach skylights. Cleaning glass and acrylic poses different challenges but generally, in order to cut down on maintenance effort, a self-cleaning glass skylight can save a lot of work. Inquire with Natural Lighting Products today to go about replacing an old acrylic or glass skylight with a self-cleaning model.