Skylights can be wonderful additions to a home, allowing in natural sunlight and making the place feel larger, airier, more welcoming and less gloomy. The only problem is they don’t last forever, and sometimes they need repairing or even replacing, which can be expensive.
Fortunately, when the time comes to have your skylight changed, there is a number of things you can do to ensure you pay as little as possible – and for anyone who needs this information, here are our top money-saving tips for skylight replacement costs.
1. Think long-term
When it comes to replacing a skylight or skylights, a guiding principle to follow if you want to save money is to think long-term.
You might be able to save yourself a bit of cash when you have the job done by cutting a few corners, choosing inferior materials or going with the cheapest roofer’s quote, but in most cases, this will turn out to be a false economy.
When thinking about saving money, the most important thing is to realize that you will save more money over time than you will by going cheap in the short term.
2. Know when to replace a skylight
Make sure you know when a skylight needs replacing. This can be a difficult decision since replacing it too early may be a waste of money but putting it off too long can end up costing you even more – remember, a stitch in time saves nine.
What are the signs you should look for? One sure indication that a skylight needs replacing is if it is leaking – although you may be able to stop this without the need for such substantial work being done.
Another indication that a skylight might need replacing is if the panes start to fog up. With double-pane skylights, the gap between the panes should be airtight, and if the seal is broken, they lose much of their insulating capabilities.
Fogging tells you that the seal has been compromised, at which point you might need to think about a replacement.
If the flashing is damaged and visibly hanging from the skylight, you might need a new one, and a cracked skylight is an obvious sign that it’s time to look for a replacement.
Sometimes, the tilt of a skylight window might become misaligned or loose with time, and this is another good reason to have it replaced.
Finally, you may choose to replace a skylight to improve energy efficiency – although you need to do the sums carefully because it may take you many years to recoup the initial outlay through reduced energy bills alone.
3. Consider repairing the flashing only
If the problem is the flashing, you may be able to avoid replacing the skylight. Instead, you can have the flashing repaired and wait until a more convenient time to have the whole skylight replaced.
4. Consider replacing skylights when you replace a roof
One of the best ways to save money when replacing a skylight is to have the work done when you replace the roof.
Many people might prefer not to do this since both jobs are expensive and doing them at the same time is likely to cost a lot. However, you can make considerable savings by doing both at once.
It might seem like a lot right now, but if you replace the roof now and replace the skylight later, it will end up costing you even more – so if you think your skylight will need replacing in the next few years, try to do it at the same time because it will save you money down the line.
Remember, think long-term!
5. Don’t salvage an old skylight
When replacing a roof, some people think it is a good idea to salvage an old skylight. However, this is another false economy because refitting an old skylight is asking for problems.
Some roofers or builders might suggest this as a way of saving money, but if you do it, you are likely to end up paying more later since the old skylight might not fit as well and will probably need repairing or replacing relatively soon after.
6. Get quotes from more than one roofer
This is a tip that is relevant to any kind of work, but it is still worth mentioning. Make sure you shop around and get quotes from several contractors because you agree on the work.
This will allow you to evaluate how much the work should really cost as well as letting you compare prices. This way, you are in a stronger position to get the best deal.
7. Compare different brands
As well as comparing the prices from different roofers, make sure you compare the different brands that are on offer. Think about your requirements carefully and look at the advantages and disadvantages of different brands to find the best combination of cost and quality for you.
8. Ask for the roofer’s advice
Ask for the roofer’s advice over the work that should be done. They are the ones with the experience here, and they will have a good idea of what will work best. They will often be able to give you advice on how to install something that will work well and cost less.
At the same time, beware of the more unscrupulous sort of builder who will quote you a low price to win the job and then cut corners. Of course, most roofers are honest, but unfortunately, there are bad ones out there too, just like in any profession.
9. Install a good quality skylight
Don’t be tempted to opt for the cheapest skylight you can find. Again, this might save you money up-front, but in the long term, you are likely to end up paying more. Poor-quality products will need replacing sooner and won’t perform to the standards you expected.
10. Think about energy efficiency
One of the most important considerations when replacing a skylight is energy efficiency.
We mentioned before that it might not make much financial sense to replace a skylight just to increase energy efficiency since it can cost a lot to do, but when replacing one for other reasons, it is something that you should definitely take into consideration.
The type you choose will be affected by where you live and the kind of climate you have there. For example, if you live somewhere hot, a skylight can contribute significantly to your house heating up during the day when the sun is shining on it.
This means that investing more in a skylight that can prevent the rays of the sun from penetrating your home can help reduce the amount you need to spend on air conditioning.
Similarly, spending a little extra on a skylight with a blind can help, as can choosing a skylight that can open to allow in a breeze.
On the other hand, in colder areas, choosing skylights that can help with insulation is highly recommended. A single-pane skylight will allow heat to leak out through the glass, greatly increasing your heating bills.
In this case, it is far better to opt for a double-pane version to help reduce the amount you need to spend keeping your house warm during the winter.
Again, while it might not be worth the expense of replacing a skylight for these reasons alone, when you need to do it anyway, it is a good opportunity to spend a bit more, allowing you to benefit from savings further down the line.
One other smart energy-saving tip is that it can save you money if you install a solar-powered skylight.
This is partly because once installed, you won’t need to pay energy costs to run it – but also because a solar-powered skylight might be less expensive to install since it doesn’t need to be wired into the electrical system in your home.
11. Cut branches from nearby trees
This is perhaps not strictly related to saving money when replacing a skylight but rather part of keeping your skylight safe.
A common cause of skylight damage is from tree branches breaking off and falling on them during storms.
For this reason, if you have a tree above or near your skylight, you should pay attention to its health and make sure that no weakened branches are likely to break off in strong wind.
It is much cheaper to pay a tree doctor to evaluate the tree and potentially remove dangerous branches than to wait for one to come crashing through your skylight and then have it repaired after a storm.
Several ways to reduce costs
As you can see, there are quite a few ways you can reduce the costs when replacing a skylight. However, in many cases, it will involve spending a little extra now to reap the benefits later.
Beware of cutting corners since this may end up costing you more in the future, but if you are willing to put your hand in your pocket now, you may see considerable savings down the line.