Skylights and Weather: How Can Rain, Hail, or Snow Affect Your Daylighting System?

Skylights and Weather

Can Hail Damage A Skylight?

From seasonal snowfall to unexpected hail storms, a wide variety of weather events can make daylighting seem like an unreliable choice. However, modern daylighting systems use a variety of protections to make sure Mother Nature is no threat.

In this blog post, we’ll explain how your daylighting system is protected from hail, snow, and other extreme weather. Read on to learn more about selecting the right daylighting system for regions subject to demanding weather conditions.

Can hail damage a skylight?

If you live in a region that experiences hailstorms, you may have seen reports on TV of broken windows and skylights. While hail can break a skylight, the reports you’ll see on TV are generally of older skylights that aren’t built to modern standards.

Not all modern skylights are built to resist hail, but certain models are. Our Energy Star Fiberlite and Tufflite skylights are manufactured from polycarbonate, making them resistant to hail and other extreme weather conditions.

How are skylights tested for hail resistance?

There are a variety of quality control standards used to assess the strength of glass and other materials used in daylighting systems. The one that web believe is most relevant to hail resistance is the Factory Mutual’s FM 4431 Section 4.2 Test.

This test is also known as the “Severe Hail Test.” It simulates the effects of extreme hail on a skylight’s glazing material. In the test, two-inch balls of frozen ice are shot from a pneumatic gun into the material from five feet at a speed of 76mph.

The skylights in our Energy Star Fibrelite and Tufflite range pass the Factory Mutual test. This makes them suitable for use in environments that are occasionally affected by hail, snowfall, and other extreme weather.

Can snow damage a skylight?

Does your region experience a great deal of winter snowfall? Snow is generally not a risk to your skylight, although massive amounts of snow can damage some skylights due to the snow’s sheer weight.

Our skylights are FM Global Approved, meaning that they comply with all modern safety standards related to snow load. The maximum snow load for most skylights measures 10 pounds per square foot or 49 kilograms per square meter.

Since these conditions almost never occur in most areas of the United States, there’s virtually no chance of snow load damaging your skylight. Removing snow from your home or building’s roof is dangerous, and should only be done in safe conditions.

Can rain damage a skylight?

Have you ever noticed a leak coming from a skylight? Many older skylights are not designed to cope with large amounts of water, and heavy rain can often break seals and produce noticeable leaks.

This isn’t the case with our skylights. Our Fibrelite skylights are constructed using a leakproof design that meets Federal OSHA and California OSHA standards. Since our skylights use on-piece construction, the typical wear that leads to leaks can’t occur.

From the Pacific Northwest to tropical South Florida, businesses located in regions that experience plenty of rain have nothing to fear when installing skylights. Even a serious will fail to produce leaks in our leakproof industrial skylights.

“Image courtesy of Barry Calhoun

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