For those who love natural light and can’t get enough windows in their home, there may be one place they haven’t considered: the roof.
While roofing expert and installer Peter Bowman says there are hundreds of different skylights to choose from, he said that the quality can vary greatly.
“It’s like anything else, you can buy a Cadillac or you can buy a Chevy,” said the Dominion Roofing general manager of renovation.
“When a skylight leaks, it’s a huge leakage issue. It can do thousands of dollars damage in a very short period of time.
“Once you get a leak, you get mould, and then you’ve got a toxic substance to deal with.”
Bowman also advises avoiding the do-it-yourself method when installing a skylight as knowing that your roof is structurally stable enough to support one is key.
“I would get a professional to put it in simply because you are cutting through the roof of your house and you want to make sure that it’s put in alright structurally,” he said. “You need to make sure your roof is in good condition, plus you have to strip a bigger area than you cut out, so really you should have a professional do it.”
When it comes to installation, he says it would be in your best interest to ensure that you hire a licensed installer.
“Anybody with a truck and a ladder can hang on a shingle and say they’re a roofer,” he said. “So it’s important for the customer to look at the longevity of the company, get some references, and know that the workmanship warranty that they offer has some validity to it.”
Bowman said the installers you want are usually certified by all major manufacturers.
“It means the company has been certified by the manufacturer, so if there’s a warranty issue, the installer is also certified,” he said.
“(It’s good to) know that if you have a problem in three or four years, they can call the phone number and someone’s going to answer the phone and look after them.”
But even then, you need to be careful, because roofing is not the same as most other trades, which have apprenticeships.
“Always use a recommended and certified installer,” he said. “That can be easily found from Toronto Home Builders’ (Association), or if (your home) is a rental you can go to Rental Mart where there are certified companies that are a part of BILD (Building Industry and Land Development).”
So you’ve found yourself a reliable installer, and you’re ready to go, right? Almost. There’s one other oft-overlooked aspect Bowman gives warning about.
“A lot of people put a skylight in and they forget about the direct sunlight on their furniture,” he said. “So you have to take into consideration there are some options for blinds.”
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