Skylight Stress

You can’t make detailed plans too far ahead with building projects, because things are constantly changing. You plan to do one thing, but don’t have something for it and the hardware store is closed, so you do something else instead. Things take longer, and you don’t always have extra people around to help. Things don’t go as you expected. But if you don’t make plans and deadlines, you won’t get anything done!

For the beginning of June, I had a list of things to do, and a rough outline of what I would do on each of my days off for two weeks. I didn’t plan the whole month though, because I knew plans would change too much by then. But by the time I finished that list and the middle of the month rolled around, I was busy with other parts of my life. I went zip-lining, hung out in my hammock reading, caught up with friends, spent time with my dad who’s home from Ottawa, and spent a day hiking and swimming with a friend at a local waterfall. πŸ˜€ It’s finally summer! πŸ˜€

I also needed to do some research after finishing the sheathing. New steps = learning as I go. I researched how to install skylights, ice and water shield, drip edges, house wrap, and more. You could spend forever reading forums of carpenters arguing about the correct way to do something and there’s no clear answer. Dylan’s also been working more now that it’s summer, so I often don’t have his help during the day.

After he got home from work one day, I was ready to work on the house and get my skylights installed, which seemed like the next step. Better to seal up the roof as soon as possible, while the walls could wait. So I got up in the loft to measure to cut the rough opening for my first skylight, and discovered that it would take up almost the entire width of the ceiling! When I ordered the skylights, I was more focused on getting my custom little windows all sorted out, and simply picked the middle size of 3 standard size skylights. It technically could fit, but I am not going to cut a hole in my roof that big. The way it is, yes the width of the roof is big enough on the top, but when you take away the overhang, the width of the wall, and the ridge board, you get less than 2″ on the top and bottom of the skylight. (Never mind that the instructions say to leave 24″ on the top and bottom of a skylight, which would be entirely impossible on my roof.) To frame it and trim it properly, to flash it and fit the roofing around it… there’s just not enough space. This was a horrible realization on the day I had planned to install the skylights, and worse because it was minutes after the hardware store had closed, so I couldn’t even call about returning them.

Discouraged, I didn’t bother trying to get anything else done on the house, and anxiously waited until morning thinking about the skylight boxes I’d ripped to get the instructions out.

The next morning, Dylan and I loaded the skylights and matching flashing kits into the car and went to the hardware store. They are stock sizes, so they should be returnable, but I was stressing that they were going to tell me no. It was my mistake this time, not theirs. Could nothing go right with the windows?!?!

I walked up to the window guy and clearly stated what I wanted. At first he hesitated, saying that he couldn’t really send them back to Ontario, but I insisted that they’re stock windows, that I needed to return them and get the smaller size, and that I wanted them next week. He said he’d call up the place to see if the flashing kits would be usable with smaller skylights, and told me he would give me a call later in the day. I told him, “I’ll wait.” So he called right away and ordered new skylights and new flashing kits. He told me they’d be in in 3-5 days and that I could return the other skylights then. It wasn’t as difficult as I’d expected, but I still walked away worrying that he’d screw me over when the new ones arrived by refusing to take the old ones with ripped boxes.

Since then, I’ve been busy working and attending my sister’s high school graduation! And of course, it’s been raining.

To be continued…


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Genevieve
    Jul 01, 2016 @ 09:43:25

    As I discovered recently, skylights are easy to install in the roof itself, and the initial underlayment wrap/flashing stuff that comes with the skylight keeps it all waterproof and tidy. However, once you get to doing the metal roofing (if that’s what you are doing) and the flashing kits that go along with that, it gets interesting.

    Holy guacamole! That is massively complicated and frustrating, and has everything to do with where your ridges are in your metal roofing and how it butts up against the skylight flashing kit. If you have standing seam or corrugated type metal roofing, think HARD and measure 50 times before you install the first panel, where exactly the ridge/seam falls in relation to the skylight flashing.

    I used Velux skylights. And I LOVE them. They make my Tiny House a place I will revel in when I finish it. But yumpin’ yiminy!

    And double check that your closure strips are the right profile for your roofing panels. And buy matching touch up paint. If you are installing it yourself there is no way in Hades you’ll get away without some scratches you’ll want to touch up.

    Good luck!


    • Natalie
      Jul 03, 2016 @ 10:34:58

      Yes, I spent a day just reading instructions and researching. The skylights themselves seemed pretty straightforward, thankfully.
      I’m using Onduvilla roofing, which is meant to look like Spanish tile but is made of asphalt and recycled materials, so hopefully it won’t be too much of a pain! And I have flashing kits designed for high profile roofing too.
      Thanks for the advice! I’m sure I’ll be up there doing some planning and test-fitting to make sure everything lands nicely.
      And I bought Velux skylights as well. πŸ™‚


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"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

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