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I have two skylights on my roof that I think are original to the house which was built in the 1970s.

There were some signs of water leakage on the wood around the inside on the skylight that the home inspector pointed out to us. We brought these up issues to the sellers who said there had been a leak in the past and that they had been repaired.

We have owned the house for two years and have been through two winters of snow on the roof and many pouring rainstorms and have never seen a leak.

The other day we got over 24 inches of snow in a single storm (which is more than we have ever had). When it began to thaw I saw a minor but consistent leak coming from the ceiling a few feet below the skylight. By the next day it had stopped and we have not seen any leaks since. The snow all melted off and we have already been through another “normal” snow and a heavy rain downpour that lasted for two days. No leaks.

My takeaway from this is that the weight of the extreme amounts of snow opened something up enough for water to get it but that once the weight was relieved the issue abated.

We had a roofer take a look at the issue and he said he could repair the seals as long as we didn't hold him responsible for future issues or we could replace the skylights. I would rather not spend the money to replace them if a repair is all that is needed and I am certainly ok with not holding him responsible.

So, all this background is to ask the question, given that I have experienced no leaks before or since this big snowfall, is it a reasonable decision to just have him repair the issue or is this a clear sign that something more significant will inevitably develop and it would be irresponsible to not take care of it now by fully replacing them.

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  • Slightly relevant anecdote: I had a customer with an industrial bakery (mmmm, donuts..nothing like fresh donuts hot off the line, but I digress). Old (probably > 60 years) building. Frequent roof leaks. Told landlord about problems. Sure enough, 2 foot snowstorm and the roof caved in. Literally. Half the building unusable and all condemned. Out of business. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jan 7 at 18:32
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Is he sure it is the seals? Sounds like NO.

It is reasonable IF you are sure it is the seals that are the problem.

It could be that the flashing is the problem, when the snow was deep enough to cover the top of flashing it may have leaked in at that point. Without knowing the exact problem then it is a gamble weather or not repairing the seals is a reasonable coarse of action.

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    Should be "whether", but "weather" is punnily appropriate here! – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jan 7 at 18:31
  • He was up on the roof an inspected it and used the word "seals". – AdamG Jan 7 at 18:33
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    He said he could repair the seals. Presumably meaning he saw signs of damage to the seals. But that does not mean the seals are the only, or even the main, problem - flashing is a different issue. On the other hand, the roofer may have lumped the two items together for simplicity's sake. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jan 7 at 18:35
  • He clarified "we can Lexal the glass and put a bead of black jack around where the shingle meets the unit." – AdamG Jan 7 at 20:41

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