Arizona’s hundreds of days of sunshine every year make it an ideal climate for solar power, and as a result many residents have either already opted to make this switch or are strongly considering it. While homeowners often have many questions that need to be answered before making the decision to switch, few ask whether or not the solar panel installation process will compromise their roof. After all, the majority of residential solar installations are rooftop panel arrays, which are often secured to your roof by drilling bolts through it, creating holes that can cause leaks.
Here is the information you need to know about whether or not solar panels can damage your roof so you know what to expect during the installation process.
How Panels Are Installed
As stated previously, rooftop solar arrays often involve mounting panels on specialized hardware that’s attached to your roof using lag bolts, which are thick hardware specifically designed to withstand high winds, heavy impacts, and pretty much the worst that Mother Nature can throw at them. That does mean that your solar panel installation team will have to drill into your roof in order to install the bolts that secure the mounting hardware. Obviously, putting a hole in your roof isn’t ideal, but it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker.
In our experience as Phoenix roofers, we’ve found that qualified, experienced solar panel installation teams from reputable companies have often undergone specific and intensive training to know how to properly examine your roof to determine its quality and integrity and figure out if it’s safe to install your panels (i.e. you won’t need a roof replacement for probably the next five or more years), and then how to install it correctly. These crews are often the ones who take extra precautions and run additional checks to ensure that all hardware has been placed properly when performing a panel installation. In these cases, you don’t have anything to worry about: the mounting process contains a water-sealing step that will ensure that your roof remains water-tight and your roof won’t suffer any negative consequences from the panels placed on it.
Beware The “Little Guys”
On the opposite side of the coin, there are companies that haven’t been around all that long or trust their installations to a contractor who has not undergone any significant or even adequate training before undertaking installation jobs on a customer’s roof. These installations are the ones you have to worry about: some will inadequately seal your roof, while others will simply install the panels without any worry or added concern for the health of your roof and your home. In these instances, the first rainfall that comes after installing your panels often features a rude surprise in the form of a roof leak.
These contractors are also the ones that often make mistakes with the panel mounting hardware, improperly fastening it to your roof and leaving it susceptible to failure when a strong wind comes along and starts testing just how securely they’re really fastened down.
Is Your Roof a Good Candidate?
All of this is not to say that rooftop solar is too risky, in fact in the overwhelming majority of cases, customers are reportedly happy with their decision to switch, experiencing few to no roofing problems whatsoever from the process. These catastrophically bad rooftop installations are exceedingly rare, and shouldn’t in any way dissuade you if you’re considering solar technology.
However, the trick is you need to know in advance if your roof is a good candidate. Before making the switch to solar, have a Phoenix roofer perform a thorough inspection of your roof and give you their opinion about how long you can expect your roof to last before it’ll need replacement. If the amount of time is less than five years, you should consider replacing it before installing solar, as the cost of removing the hardware, replacing the roof, and then re-installing the panels is much higher than getting the new roof ahead of time.
A quality solar company should also be able to tell you whether or not your roof is suitable for solar, based on where the most efficient panel placement location is. If an inspection from your solar representative reveals significant damage where they would like to place the panels, then they should tell you about their concerns, rather than just try to install over it. A good solar company will care about the health and condition of your home, and take every precaution to protect it when providing their solar installation services.
Finally, one more thing to consider is the warranty on your roof. If your roof is still covered, then you should carefully read the terms of your protection to find out how to ensure you can keep this protection. Some warranties will still protect your roof as long as the proper installation methods are followed and your roof is inspected afterward by a certified roofer, but it’s in your best interests to tell your solar company about the warranty so they can make the effort not to void it. If your roof is a Lyons roof, contact us to assure that your solar contractor coordinates the installation with us so we can oversee the installation. This is the best way to protect your warranty and assure a watertight result.Call Lyons Roofing today at (520) 447-2522 to request a roof inspection and find out if your roof is healthy or stable enough to support a solar panel system installation!