Once I had a customer who was having trouble with her skylight leaking into her house. The skylight had been improperly repaired by a teenager handyman who, apparently, knew absolutely nothing about the proper repair procedures. When I inspected the skylight I found a small tar covered paint brush stuck to the skylight. Tar is a common leak repair material, but it usually makes the situation worse.
Because of the age and condition of the skylight I recommended that a new one be purchased instead of trying to repair the existing fixture. The homeowner agreed so I then set off looking for the replacement.
The problem was that this was an exceptionally large residential skylight, approximately five feet square, something hard to find as a stock item. Therefore, I decided to search out a manufacturer instead of attempting to find an exact replacement in a store.
A quick check in the phone book revealed several possibilities and I followed up on a couple of potential manufacturers. To my surprise, the cost was exceptionally reasonable and the turn-around time only a couple of days. In addition, I was offered the choice between a single or double dome, and the option of clear or bronze tinting.
After a quick check with the homeowner about the pricing and the options and I placed the order.
A couple of days later I was told the skylight was ready so I drove by to pick it up. Although the skylight was rather large I had it placed in the back of my pickup and drove to the jobsite.
When the crew arrived we started the job by reworking the framing to give more structural support and then lifted the skylight to the roof. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred during the installation, and within a couple of hours we had completed the job.
Since that first installation of a customize skylight I have never gone back to installing off-the-shelf products. The ease of having it manufactured to my specifications make more sense than driving all over town trying to find a specific size. In addition, there is more leeway if the homeowner wants to make any modifications.
If you are considering installing a skylight yourself, or by using a contractor, think about having the skylight manufactured–the process is virtually painless and may even save you some money.