Metal rooflight maintenance tips
Updated: Sep 13
One of the big draws of metal rooflights is their durability and ability to stand the test of time. In fact, this is why metal rooflight installers will often offer such extended warranties on them. However, like all warranties, they’re only effective if you apply the correct maintenance. So, how can you make your metal rooflight last even longer?
Do I Need Rooflight Maintenance?
The strength, security and versatility of metal rooflights make them an attractive option. However, customers are often sold on the promise of low maintenance. After all, exciting features such as self-cleaning glass and protective coating do help to provide peace of mind of the rooflight’s longevity.
However, rooflights face a range of conditions that put them to the test. From rain, wind, hail and snow, the weather can almost certainly play a part in the longevity of your rooflight. Furthermore, different environments can also speed up corrosion, such as coastal locations with a high salt content atmosphere. In fact, if you live within 5km of the coast, then it is important to protect your rooflight with the right coating and an increased maintenance schedule.
Your Choice Of Steel
There are two main options for metal rooflights: carbon steel and stainless steel. Your choice of steel will dramatically change the amount of maintenance your rooflights require.
Carbon steel, also known as mild steel, is often used because it is a cheaper option. However, carbon steel is far more susceptible to rust. When the carbon steel is exposed to the environment, it oxidises, which causes rust. You can help to prevent this with a protective coating layer. However, if any scratches or chips occur in the paintwork, you expose the steel, making it vulnerable to corrosion.
The other option is stainless steel. This is more expensive in the short-term, but is corrosion-resistant. Stainless steel has higher chromium levels, which helps protect the steel from rusting and degradation. Arguably, due to the fact that stainless steel will not rust, the extended lifespan that it offers makes it a much more cost effective long term solution.
My rooflights have a protective coating; do they need maintenance?
Again, a protective coating such as C5 paint can help to ensure the longevity of your rooflight. Stella Rooflight offers a high quality marine grade powder-coating on all rooflights as standard. This is suitable for aggressive atmospheres, such as marine and coastal areas with high levels of salt and built-up industrial environments with high levels of pollution. However, many other providers will only offer a C3 paint as standard that, while offers a level of protection, may not be suitable for all environments.
While the powder coating helps to protect the steel, just like the paint on your car, it still needs regular cleaning, inspections and possible touch-ups to ensure it is in the best condition possible.
In the case of carbon steel rooflights, ensuring maintenance of the coating is essential to avoid corrosion. Whereas for stainless steel rooflights, maintaining the protective coating is largely for aesthetic purposes.
So, if you want to ensure that your rooflights provide a great return on investment, following a maintenance schedule can be vital – not just to protect the warranty but to ensure the rooflight’s longevity.
Metal Rooflight Maintenance
Every 4 weeks
· Operate the opening and closing of the window to ensure the manual winder is in good working order or that electric motors are self-lubricating
· Check all internal rubbers are clear of dust and debris
These two tasks should be relatively easy to uphold for homeowners.
· Lubricate any manual spindles
· Clean windows (if not self-cleaning glass – again, all Stella Rooflights come with a high specification of genuine self-clean glazing as standard, but be aware that this is not the case with all rooflight manufacturers)
· Operate gas springs to check the pressure
If you have opted for a manual spindle to open and close the window, then each month should include a quick check of the motion and a spray of light oil (such as WD40) to keep it moving freely and easily without any build-up or resistance.
A monthly window clean can be essential to remove dirt from pollutants, rainwater, tree sap, pollen, and bird droppings if the glass is not self-cleaning. If your glass is self-cleaning, then a manual window clean only needs to happen every six months.
If you have gas springs, make sure to operate your window at least once per month to check that they’re working well and still have the correct level of pressure.
Every Six Months
· Check the paint finish to ensure that any debris is cleared away and that no damage to the coating has occurred since the last check
· Clean any piston rods
· Clean any self-cleaning windows
By this point, it can be important to take a closer look at your windows. Of course, it is not always easy to access your roof. So at this point, you may want to ask for professional help in giving your windows a quick check over and servicing.
The first thing to do is to give the windows a clean. Depending on your environment, this may simply need a light hosing. However, you may prefer to use a mild detergent and warm water for an extra clean.
To clean the exterior of your windows:
- Brush away any dirt, debris or cobwebs
- Use a mild detergent and warm water to clean the rooflight, its surround and fixings
- Dry the whole area using a squeegee and finish with a soft, non-abrasive cloth.
To clean the interior of your windows:
- Lay a plastic sheet below the window and brush away dirt and dust
- Clean the glass using a gentle cleaner, warm water and squeegee
- Dry the window so that it is streak-free with a lint-free cloth.
It is important to remember that you may need a specialist ladder to access the rooflight. Furthermore, you should never lean or stand on any part of the rooflight unit. If this will be a challenge, then it really is best to hire a professional cleaner.
Once the glazing is clean, you can then check the paint and coating on the metalwork for any signs of chipping, cracking and corrosion. If you have carbon steel rooflights and you notice paintwork damage, then it’s wise to get in touch with your installer, who can assist you in rectifying the issue before corrosion occurs. If you have stainless steel rooflights, then there is less urgency to remedy the issue, but you may choose to if it is part of your warranty or enhance its aesthetic.
Finally, if you have a rooflight with gas springs, then the final six-month task is to clean the piston rod with a dry cloth, such as a kitchen towel.
A final annual task is to check the hinge bolts are tight and then apply a very small amount of oil to the middle of the hinge and nylon washer. The oil here can evaporate quickly, so oiling the hinges at least once a year is an important aspect of maintenance.
What Can Change The Maintenance Schedule?
The above schedule is just a guide. However, it will need to be adjusted depending on your specific rooflights and environment. If you’re unsure what your specific maintenance will be, it is best to check with the rooflight manufacturer and installer. As all Stella Rooflights are bespoke, the maintenance advice will be slightly different for each customer.
You may need to increase your maintenance schedule if you live:
· Within 5km of the coast and where there are high levels of salt in the atmosphere
· If you live on a busy road or a built-up area where there are greater levels of dirt, dust and pollutants.
Also, if your skylight has stuck-on glazing bars, then this will need further cleaning and maintenance. Unlike genuine bars, stuck-on bars will lift over time, making it easy for dirt, water and algae to get trapped and build up. This is the reason why Stella Rooflight only uses genuine bars to help prevent this issue from occurring and to increase the longevity of your rooflight.
If you need support in the maintenance or repair of your rooflights, Stella Rooflight is here to help. We want you to get the most from your beautiful rooflights, so do reach out to our team if you need any support by calling 01794 745445.