Can Solar Panels Damage My Roof?

can solar panel damage my roof
Tony Schlessinger
Tony Schlessinger

Founder

When you decide to install solar panels in your home, you can save money on electric bills plus you are also able to go greener and protect the environment. This is a move many homeowners would like to make but some of them are skeptical about the impact this could have on their roof. They think that installing solar panels can damage the roof of their homes and you know that fixing a damaged roof cost money. 

They ask questions like; will the solar panels make holes on my roof? Will the weight be too heavy for my roof to carry? These are legitimate concerns, but all of that will be dealt with in this article. You will be shown how best to install solar panels in your home without damaging your roof. The truth is that it is in your hands to make sure there are no damages. 

What to Consider Before Installing Solar Panels on your Roof.

Things to consider before Installing Solar Panels on your Roof
Solar Panels On The Roof Of A House Under A Bright Sunny Sky

When choosing between getting solar panels on your roof or not, there are certain factors you have to consider and most of these factors have to do with the condition and the peculiar characteristics of your roof.

  1. The strength of your roof
    Your roof has to be strong enough to carry the weight of the solar panels, if it’s not that strong, then it needs support. Also, you have to ensure that your roof is big enough for the solar panels you want to install. There are various sizes of solar panels, and you need to make sure that your roof has enough space to accommodate the panels that are required to power your home.
  2. The age of the roof
    The age of your roof is very vital, because the older a roof is, the more likely it is to get damaged from wear and tear. The truth is, having a roof that is not too old helps reduce the risk of damage when installing solar panels. Although with proper care a solar panel can be installed on an older roof, there is a chance that it could get damaged. However, even if you decide to install it on an older roof, just ensure that the roof is in a good condition. Try to repair any existing damage or missing shingles.
     
  3. Which direction do the slopes of your roof face
    When you want to install solar panels, you have to place them in a direction that will help them to generate maximum power. Some professionals will say that it should be placed to face the south, while others will say the best is to face the west. Irrespective of which opinion you eventually lean-to, just make sure your roof is sloped right. 
  4. Where the water will go
    The next thing you have to consider is where the water will go. When it rains, usually water runs down your roof and away from your home via the gutters. When you want to install your solar panels you have to make sure that equipment like the racking is installed properly, so that it does not change the direction of the water movement. In some situations, the solar equipment can change the direction of the water and this will lead to leaks and some other major problems. All of these problems can lead to the removal of the solar panels and reinstalling them which can still damage your roof further. 
  5. Did you get the best contractor? 
    This is one of the major issues you have to consider. Because you can prepare your roof all you want but if you get a bad contractor, they will still damage your roof. So you have to shop around for the best contractor you can find. Never settle for mediocrity or try to save money and then get a bad contractor. Everything rises and falls on the workmanship. If you get the best hands to handle your project then most of your concerns have been solved. 

These are some of the factors you have to consider even before you start preparing your roof for solar panel installation.

How to Prepare your Roof for Solar Panels

Earlier, you were introduced to certain characteristics of your roof that you need to pay attention to. However, there are various other things you need to do to prepare your roof for solar panels installation. As earlier stated the first thing you must do is to inspect your roof. You can do this yourself but it is better to get a professional to inspect the roof. Roof Royale professional roofers can help ensure that there are no damaged shingles and potential leaks. Fix any problem that the roof may have or install a new one if the roof is too old. 

The next thing you have to do is to make sure that your roof is in the sun. That is, the sun has direct access to your roof. Ensure that there are no trees that are over your roof. If there are then you need to trim them away. If you do not deal with these trees, they will impact the effectiveness of the solar panel system as they will block direct sunlight from the panels. If you cannot handle the branches yourself, you should get a professional.

After that, you measure the area of your roof. Measure the length of the roof and also the width, then multiply it to determine the total area of your roof. Knowing the area of your roof will help you to know how large the system may need to be. 

After handling all of these issues, you can contact a professional to help you look around and ensure that your roof is ready for installing a solar panel. Sometimes they may spot one or two weaknesses that you were not able to detect, so it is always better to work with a professional.

Need the services of a roofing expert to help inspect your roof, click here to get in touch with one. 

How to Install your Solar Panels on your roof

How to Install your Solar Panels on your roof
Man installing solar panels on the roof

Being concerned about potential roof damage when installing solar panels in your home is not unfounded. The truth is, if the installation is not done properly, it can cause damage to your roof. There are many stages of the installation process that can potentially put your roof at risk. This is why many homeowners are concerned.

One of their major concerns is the holes that are needed on your roof to make sure that the solar panels are properly fitted. During the installation process, holes need to be drilled on the roof to secure the racking which will in turn hold the panels. Drilling those holes is a necessity because they enable the solar panels to withstand extreme weather conditions. However, the size and the depth of the holes are dependent on the material the roof is made of. 

Having holes in your roof does not sound great but it can be done without harming or damaging your roof. If done by a professional, your roof still maintains its structural integrity and will not leak. To stop water from leaking through the hole, the bolt is usually surrounded by a flashing. This is a metal that fits under the existing roof tiles and the flashing is sealed with tar. Finally, the hole which holds the lag bolt is filled with a sealant that helps to protect your roof from water seeping through.

Another concern is the weight of the solar panel. The truth is that the weight of solar panels does not impact the integrity of your roof. Every roof is designed to be able to carry about 20-30 solar panels. Unless you are planning to install 50 solar panels, you have nothing to worry about.

Solar does not always involve holes.

Some persons are very concerned about having holes in their roofs. Well, if you are one of them, there are other routes you could explore. One popular alternative is to install solar tiles or solar shingles. This is integrated with the electricity-generating capacity of your home. This means that you will not need to mount solar panels and no holes will be involved. This option may look viable and aesthetic but it is quite expensive and the technology has not been perfected. So if you decide to go this route, ensure that you get professional advice. 

So you see it, your roof does not have to be damaged when installing solar panels. But it has to be done well and by a professional. If you do not get a professional, you risk messing it all up. 

How to Care for the Solar Panels on Your Roof to Prevent Damage. 

How to Care for the Solar Panels on Your Roof to Prevent Damage
young worker cleaning solar panels on house roof

Solar panels are supposed to last for years when maintained properly. When you take care of the panels properly, it helps to save you repair costs and also it helps to make sure that the panels look good and not look all shabby and dirty.

As a solar panel owner, it is good for you to be well versed with each solar component, so that you will be able to maintain the system in the long run. The system is easy to understand and if you get yourself acquainted with it, then you will know when there is any need for any maintenance to be done. 

Here are a couple of things you will need to do to maintain the solar panel after installation and also protect your roof. 

Check for Dirt or Debris Build-Up: 

Most people do not clean their solar panels too often, they depend on the occasional rainfall to deal with that. However it is a good practice to check your solar panel from time to time for the build-up of dirt or debris, this is because if the debris or dirt builds up without been removed, they will inadvertently mess your roof up and you do not want that to happen. Ensure that you clean your panels. And if there is a serious snow buildup then you have to deal with that too. 

Check for roof penetrations: 

The racking makes sure that your solar panels are adequately fixed on your roof. The bolt penetrations that enter your roof are quite essential too as already explained. These systems when appropriately installed are durable. However sometimes there can be leaks from those areas, these are rare but anything is possible. So be on the lookout for any leaks, once you notice this, draw the attention of the installer to deal with it. If you ignore it, it can spread and you do not want that to happen. Never try to fix those kinds of issues yourself. It should be covered under warranty if you have chosen a reputable contractor in the first place, so contact the installer. 

Always Check your Panels after Severe Weather Events.

If there is a storm, tornado, or any other extreme weather event, there is a huge likelihood that you can have broken solar panels. This will impact greatly the effectiveness of the solar system. And the solar panels may have been shifted from their holes which can result in leaks. So what you need to do is to examine the situation, diagnose the problem, and get it fixed.

If you keep your eye out for any problems, you will be able to prevent any occurrences that are preventable and keep your solar panels working effectively without damaging your roof. 

Conclusion

Installing solar panels on your roof is a welcomed development. The fact that it helps to save you money and also helps you to protect the environment is enough motivation. A lot of people are moving in this direction now and this sentiment is understood. But if you do not go about it properly you can end up messing up your roof and incurring more cost on yourself.

Can you install solar panels without damaging your roof? The answer is a resounding yes! You can install solar panels on your roof and still maintain the structural integrity of your roof. And this guide is here to help you achieve that. Ensure you follow every step provided for you above so that you get the best out of solar panel installation.

If you have more questions concerning the effect of solar panels on your roof or you have encountered some roof damage after the installation of solar panels and need a reliable roofing contractor to help you fix up the damages, kindly click here to speak with our expert.

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