Metal Roofing and Skylights

March 25, 2014 | Filed under: Articles, Roofing Installation

Any type of roofing and skylights have special installation considerations to ensure water-tightness. Many homeowners ask me if they can have a skylight with their metal roof. The answer, of course, is “Yes!” but there are a few things that must be kept in mind.

  1. Folks will worry about the noise from rain hitting a metal roof. Generally speaking, this is not a problem but rain hitting a skylight can be deafening.
  2. Skylights with chases through your attic can create air leaks from the living space into the attic. This can lead to condensation and mold in the attic and also can cause ice dams on the roof.
  3. A skylight in a metal roof must be curb-mounted in order to be properly flashed. It cannot be flush-mounted.
  4. Flashing a skylight may involve sealant as one line of defense against water infiltration but, above all, there must be good flashing. Metal roofing manufacturers can explain how to flash their products against skylights and other protrusions.

And #5: Critical Advice for Roofing and Skylights

Perhaps most importantly — if you are re-roofing your home and you have existing skylights, I urge you to replace any skylights that are over 10 years old. They have served you well and have a limited life. Even the best skylights have no more than 20-year warranties. It makes no sense to install your permanent metal roof with a skylight that will need to be replaced in a few years. Replacing a skylight in a metal roof will be difficult and may require the significant deconstruction of the roof system if it’s not planned for with the installation.

Another Roofing Challenge: Solar

For additional information on metal roofing and solar energy, you can visit our page on Green American Home.

More questions about metal roofing and skylights or other installations?

If you have any specific questions about metal roofs and the installation of skylights, solar energy, or other features, please email me at

todd Miller

has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.

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42 responses to “Metal Roofing and Skylights”

  1. Ben Rowles says:

    Do you know of any diagrams or websites that specifically shows you how to flash in a curb mounted skylight to a standing seam metal roof? Thanks

  2. Cheryl virelli says:

    I am an elderly lady who lives alone. I am in a moble home and my skylight is leaking. Plz help me.

    • toddmiller says:

      If you let me know where you are located, I might be able to refer you to a contractor near you. Other than that, I would suggest you contact a qualified roofing contractor.

  3. Jeff Riley says:

    i would like to know if I can put a metal roof around my existing skylights. They are on shingled roof now.

    • toddmiller says:

      Hi Jeff. Good question. If the skylights are curbed rather than flush to the roof, yes a metal roof can be flashed around them and metal roofing manufacturers should all have instructions for doing so. One thing I do suggest … if the skylights are 10+ years old, I suggest replacing them. Even the best skylights have only a 20 year warranty. Trying to remove and replace a well flashed skylight from a metal roof is not an easy task. Better to replace them now than in 5 years. Feel free to send me photos of your skylights if you still have questions.

  4. Hope Spring says:

    We have a 20 year old house, metal roof and two skylights that help brighten the north side of our home. However, one has had a broken seal for a couple years, but no damage we could see. However, we just noticed water damage around it inside on the drywall. I fear this could be a pricey fix. Do you now any contractors in the Grand Rapids MI market? Thanks!

    • toddmiller says:

      Thank you. You are correct in that this likely will not be a quick and easy repair. The metal roofing contractor I have worked with the most in Michigan is American Metal Roofs. I am not positive they will want to take on a repair of this type but they are certainly capable of doing well at it.

  5. James says:

    My house and its metal roof are seven years old and has three skylights that were installed correctly but the insulation around the skylights was poorly done and there are condensation issues. Access to the insulation area around the skylights is extremely restricted so I am considering removing the skylights completely and rebuilding the roof just in the skylight zones. I live in NW Michigan and the past two winters have been quite brutal so the condensation has been significant. I’ll miss the skylights but I prefer to solid insulation and a solid roof. Do you have any advice or cautions?

    • toddmiller says:

      Kind of interesting. I was talking to someone today in Canada with similar issues. The thermal bridging of skylights can very much cause these issues if they are not well insulated.I am sure that you understand your exact construction better than I do but chances are there is some rot in the area and possibly mold … so your plan is probably a good move. I would consider spray foaming closed cell urethane around the skylight chases.

  6. Hope says:

    Just wanted to let you know that we had our skylights replaced and the roof inspected with great success by West Michigan Roofing ( and they did a great job. We were fortunate in having no wood rot or water damage, and the new skylights are great!

  7. Hugh. Burford says:

    Went to replace a skylight on a porch. Area code is 28786, Asheville, NC. Can you recommend supplier and contractor.

    • Todd Miller says:

      Thanks for your inquiry. I am not sure I can think of any contacts specifically for what you need. If you contact AAC Building Materials there in Asheville and explain your exact situation, I bet they will have some recommendations. As far as brand of skylights, Velux’s high end models have a 20 year warranty and I like that.

  8. Hope says:

    I might also suggest attending your local home & garden show this spring. That’s where we found our (awesome) contractor. We’re not in NC, but it’s a good place to scope out vendors here in MI.

  9. Whitney says:

    Which Skylights or Sun Tunnels do you recommend with metal roof? We are planning to install a new metal roof, and want to add some skylights or sun tunnels in a few different spots on the roof. Is there a certain model you recommend?

    • Todd Miller says:

      Thank you. It is important that skylights be raised, such as up on a curb. That gives you something to flash to. Flush-mounted skylights do not work well with metal roofs. As far as a brand, Velux seems to have the best warranty.

      In regards to sun tunnels, they can be a bit challenging and usually a lot of sealant is used around the, It is possible to put a curb around them as well, and orient it like a diamond on the roof. That can be helpful. If you send me an email, I can reply with a photo of this. My email is I do not know of any brands of sun tunnels to recommend.

  10. Tony Q. King says:

    I’m in southern Quebec, on the NY border.
    I have not seen any mention about electrolysis between aluminum skylight and a steel roof. Is this a concern?
    BTW, I have a steel roof ON TOP of a shingle roof (probably about 4″deep) at a 45-degree angle.
    The steel-roof installer, (a friend) said it was a lot cheaper this way, than to start removing all the old 20-year old shingles damaged during the great ’98 ice storm, which we survived without electric power for 27 days!
    The skylight(s) would be installed BELOW any attic consideration.
    Anyhow- I’m most concerned about aluminum-steel electric interaction.

    • Todd Miller says:

      Tony, you are correct that electrolysis / galvanic reaction can occur between dissimilar metals. Usually in the case of skylights on steel roofs, though, you have various quality coatings on the two metals, as well as sealants, which prevent direct contact of dissimilar metals. I have never seen this to be a problem on skylights but, that said, I do not know exactly how yours were done.

  11. Heather Carter says:

    Hi, a very unusual problem, a local, well respected roofer made a huge error. We were away for the weekend, returned to our home Mon night at 7 to ind a very upset roofing co representative. Her crew were supposed to replace a roof at #297 and came to #279, our house by mistake, ripped off the front half of our asphalt shingle roof(black) and replaced it with brown shingles of the same type. Our house is dark gray! How would you handle this?Thanks h

  12. Heather Carter says:

    We all live in a small town, not interested in a big flap, just want to do what’s fair to resolve situation.

    • toddmiller says:

      This is not the first time this has happened, believe it or not. I would request that they either change the back side of the roof to match the brown … or re-do the front side with black.

      Ideally, they’d replace your entire roof with black but that may be a bit much to ask for.

  13. Heather Carter says:

    Thanks, hopefully the negotiations go well!

  14. Anderson J Wang says:

    I need to find a roof contractor to replace my two roof skylights.
    They are dome shaped framed skylights. There is a wood frame underneath it. How do I measure the skylights that I need? Do I measure the wood frame or the skylight itself? Inside or outside measurements?

    Thanks a lot.

  15. bruce stenglein says:

    I live in upstate n.y. with a 14625 area code. I had a metal roof put on with a post and beam ceiling, no attic. Thinking about put 1 skylight in the living room area 3′ w by 4′ or 3′ long. Any suggestions as to who is respected in my area to do this job? And what do you think as far as which skylight manufacturer? Thanks

    • toddmiller says:

      I am so sorry for the delay in my response. With the holidays and all. I hope that the new year is off to a great start for you.

      Adding a skylight to an existing metal roof is difficult. Frankly, I’d advise against it.

      If it must be done, though, I’d suggest going back to the company that installed the metal roof. I also suggest Velux as a skylight brand. I hope this helps. Please contact me anytime.

  16. henry grulkowski says:

    we had a new metal roof installed over shingles the roof dont leak during rain storms but will drip after a frost the inside framing is not installed at this time would this be why its leaking?

    • toddmiller says:

      If warm moist air from inside the structure reaches a cool surface, it will condense. If it’s cold enough, it will turn to frost and then melt later. So, the things to think through are what is the cool surface it is condensing on … and how through sealing, insulation, or ventilation, can you stop the warm moist air from reaching the cold surface? The metal roof may pose a colder surface than was there before. The lack of inside framing may be the source of an air leak that otherwise may not be there. And, finally, the new roof may have created a situation with less attic ventilation than you had before.

  17. Sandra Stubbs says:

    We are DIYers and would like to put some domes in the metal roof we are putting on our new porch. Are there any videos that would show us what we need to do for installation? Thanke

    • Todd Miller says:

      For most metal roofs, the skylights need to be curbed not flush mounted. I do not have any videos that probably show what you want but, if you can drop me an email and include the type / profile of metal roof you’re installing and perhaps a bit more information on the skylights, I will try to reply with some helpful things.

  18. Jon Koller says:

    I have a pan roof over my shingle roof on my mobile home a d the skylight is starting to leak can they remove the three metal panels around my skylight and leave the skylight gone.

  19. Dave Savoy says:

    Hello Todd, I would like to install metal roofing over my existing shingle roof … which is older and starting to leak…that also has skylights installed. This is a cover over my deck, not on my house. I am a DIY and have installed metal roofing before over other exterior structures.. that is not the issue, just want to ensure that I flash around the skylights properly if it can be done over the existing shingles. A site to show me how to compensate for the sunken skylights once I raise the metal roof above the existing shingles would be great. Thanks for your time

    • Todd Miller says:

      I would highly encourage you to put the skylights on curbs and then flash around them. Whoever you get your metal roofing from should have instructions for flashing a curbed skylight. If not, drop me a note and I will send them to you.

  20. Joseph DeGraft-Amanfu says:

    Hi Todd, which skylight is best for my metal roof; tempered or laminated?

    Thanks Degraft

  21. Shaun Justus says:

    Yes I have a metal roof with a skylight leaking really bad. Do I need to sand the roof that the skylight sits on before I caulk around the he skylight? Also does the skylight need to be at a specific angle? My skylight is in a trailer over top of the master bathtub. Thanks for any advice.

    • Todd Miller says:

      Thanks for your question. Any surface you apply sealant to must be very clean and also sound — not flaking, peeling, etc. That said, I can’t say for sure that sealant will fix the problem. The skylight itself may be leaking or you may also have some condensation occurring that appears to be a leak. As far as the angle of the skylight — normally it will match the roof but I do not know your exact situation nor how the skylight was designed to perform. I’d suggest contacting the skylight manufacturer.

  22. Linnea says:

    We have a metal roof with 4 deck mounted skylights, which we believe to be about 14 years old. There were no issues until last year when one skylight leaked as snow melted. We had it resealed. Now it is leaking even when it rains. Are there any options other than replacing the skylights and the metal roof (so that there can be better flashing)? It’s hard to find anyone to even think about a repair. We’re in the southern Berkshires of MA.

    • Todd Miller says:

      Thanks. There probably are no options other than to hire a contractor who is quite experienced with metal to work on this. Chances are the skylights need to be replaced. There probably are no simpler options.

  23. Jesse Ford says:

    Thanks for the advice to replace skylights that are over 10 years old. We moved into our current house a little over five years ago now but we need to get the roof replaced, so it’d probably be a good bet to say that the skylight needs to be updated too. I’ll be sure to hire a professional to take a look at it before we start the project next month.

  24. Mary Etter says:

    I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation for this blog post.

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