Metal roofs are a fantastic choice for durability and longevity. They can withstand harsh weather conditions and come in a variety of styles and colors. But sometimes, a metal roof can leave your interior feeling a little dark. 

Skylights offer a brilliant solution, bringing in natural light and transforming your space. However, installing a skylight in a metal roof requires extra care and attention to detail compared to traditional shingle roofs.

Important Note: This guide offers a general overview. However, it’s recommended to consult a professional roofer for complex installations or if you’re unsure about your DIY skills.

Step 1: Planning and Preparation

  • Skylight Selection: There are various skylight options available, including fixed, vented, and electric. Consider factors like ventilation needs, desired level of light control, and opening mechanism before choosing. For metal roofs, curb-mounted skylights are generally the preferred choice, as they create a raised profile that allows for proper flashing installation.
  • Metal Roof Compatibility: Ensure the chosen skylight is compatible with your specific metal roof type. Standing seam roofs and corrugated metal roofs have different flashing requirements.
  • Permitting: Check with your local building department to see if a permit is required for skylight installation.
  • Safety First: Working on a roof can be dangerous. Always use proper fall protection equipment like a harness and lifeline.

Step 2: Tools and Materials

  • Safety gear (harness, lifeline)
  • Power drill
  • Jigsaw or metal shears
  • Sealant caulk
  • Roofing screws
  • Flashing kit (specific to your skylight and metal roof type)
  • Underlayment material
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure

Step 3: Choosing the Skylight Location

  • Sun Positioning: Consider the path of the sun throughout the day. South-facing skylights offer the most natural light, while north-facing ones provide softer, cooler light.
  • Structural Support: Metal roof supports (purlins or trusses) should be considered when positioning the skylight. You don’t want to cut into a critical structural element.
  • Interior Layout: Think about how the natural light will illuminate your space. Avoid placing the skylight directly above furniture or in a way that creates glare.

Step 4: Cutting the Roof Opening

  • Carefully measure the skylight rough opening dimensions according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Transfer the measurements to the metal roof using a level and pencil.
  • Use metal shears or a jigsaw to cut the opening. Cut on the outside of the lines to ensure the skylight fits snugly.

Step 5: Installing the Flashing

  • Flashing is crucial for a watertight seal around the skylight. Most skylights come with compatible flashing kits made from the same material as your metal roof.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions meticulously for installing the flashing. It typically involves bending the flashing pieces to fit the roof contours and layering them to create a watertight channel.
  • Apply sealant caulk along all seams and overlaps in the flashing for added protection.

Step 6:  Installing the Skylight

  • Carefully lift the skylight onto the roof opening.
  • Following the manufacturer’s instructions, secure the skylight to the surrounding roof structure using appropriate fasteners.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

  • Inside the house, install any interior trim or framing components according to the skylight’s instructions.
  • Caulk any gaps between the skylight frame and the interior drywall for a finished look.

For a visual guide on installing a skylight in a metal roof, here are some helpful videos:

Pro Tips for Success

  • Work on a dry, calm day with no rain or strong winds in the forecast.
  • Double-check all measurements before cutting into your metal roof.
  • Use high-quality roofing materials and sealants to ensure a long-lasting, weatherproof installation.
  • If you’re not comfortable with DIY roof work, consider hiring a professional roofer experienced in metal roof skylight installations.