Must Skylight Installers Know and Follow Building Codes?

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Posted by: from Toronto
1/20/2012 at 12:52:33 PM

I have been advised by a skylight installer that they are not required to know code, but must follow it if someone tells them what it is. From my point of view, I rely on them to know and follow code according to their license - this is why licenses are issued. I called the licensing office and very single number was busy or mailbox full except one.

The person there offered personal opinions about what they would like. I eventually said I did not want personal opinions and would like to know what law says - they said I was hostile and hung up.

What is a practical way to proceed with achieving some work done to code?

Am I missing something?

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Date/Time1/20/2012 at 2:06:21 PM

Hi Gary:

Most skylights are designed to fit within existing truss dimensions, which are normally 24 inches centre to centre. When installing them, it is not afffecting the structure in terms of framing, but they must be aware of the proper amount and type of flashing that is to be used. However, if the skylight requires the cutting of trusses in order to accomadate the larger size, they must be aware of any changes to the structure. In some instances, engineered drawings might be required to make the necessary adjustments, as you are now dealing with a change to the structure of the roof.

It all depends on what type and size of skylight that you are thinking of.

By the way. Just a note. Make sure that your installer secures the skylight. There have been a lot of skylights take flight because of this oversight.


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Gary in Toronto
Date/Time1/20/2012 at 10:14:28 PM

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for the response. Can you tell me if skylight companies are required to have a license, and whether they are required to follow building code automatically without my having to learn these details and require this of them as a customer?

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Gary in Toronto
Date/Time1/20/2012 at 10:16:06 PM

And, where I can go to see if they are licensed.

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Date/Time1/25/2012 at 12:41:20 PM

Just call the Toronto building department and ask about licenses, every town is different. If the trusses have to be cut then you need a permit for sure.

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Date/Time1/31/2012 at 9:51:56 PM

Hi Gary,

Licensing is a strange subject.

The term licensed refers to the holding of a valid license, that is all.

The various municipalities have licensing departments. These are municipal licenses that permit a company to conduct business in that municipality. These are not to be confused with a trade license such as a gas fitter or electrician.

While anyone that performs a construction service for a living should in good conscience be educated in the field they have chosen, this is not always the case. Just as hiring a licensed plumbing company does not ensure that you do not have a 1st year apprentice employed by a licensed plumbing company working on your home.

When it comes to roofing perform all of your due dilligence before hiring your chosen contractor...then start YOUR homework.

Think of a waterproof roof with the general rule of thumb that water flows down from the sky or top and that a tube of silicone caulk or roofing caulk is not designed to fill in a gaping hole or gap in flashing or roofing. Simply put each layer of roofing material must end ON TOP of the one below it, and any "OOPS" will leak regardless of the quantity of tar you or your roofer smears on it.

Any skylight will either be curb mounted or flush mounted. Curb mounted means you are installing the skylight on top of a built up frame, essentially lifting it up out of the path of water. All skylight companies also sell flashing kits specifically designed for their products but usually sold separately. If you or your roofer does not know better, this is an expense and item that will get missed. The head flashing or top flashing should be one piece and should be the full width of the skylight and factory bent to extend a few inches down each side.

The sides of skylights require step flashing. These are pieces of roofing sheet metal that are bent at a 90 degree angle. They are not installed all at once but rather each piece is installed in conjunction with the shingles. Each step flashing should land on a course of shingles.

Unfortunately Municipal Inspectors do not and are not required to climb on top of roofs. YOU SHOULD (SAFELY!!!) If it doesn't make sense, ask!


Shingles above the skylight must land on top of the head flashing Shingles on the side of the skylight must land on top of step flashing. All nail heads should be covered by the shingle above.

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