What You Need to Know Before Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof

July 12, 2019

Solar power systems are becoming more accessible to homeowners, and it might be something you’ve considered for your own home. Because these systems typically sit on top of the roof, it’s vital to make sure your roof is in the right shape. Here are some roof tips to consider before and after installing solar panels on your roof.

Get a Roof Inspection

The first step to installing solar panels on a roof is to get a roof inspection. If your roof is due for a change, you’ll want to replace your roof before getting solar panels. Ideally, you want your roof to last for 10+ years if you’re going to be adding a solar power system on top of it. Otherwise, you’ll risk leaks and other roof problems, leading to the costly expense of having to take off and re-install your solar panels to fix the problems.

Even if your roof was installed five years ago, it’s still a good idea to get an inspection in case any repairs need to be made. You don’t want to find any problems with your roof after your solar panels have already been installed.

Invest in a Quality Roof

Solar power systems are an investment, and so is your roof. That means if you end up needing to replace your roof, then you should look at higher quality roof materials, especially if it’s going to be underneath solar panels. The key is to have a roof that will last as long as your solar panels. Getting the cheapest roof option may seem like a good budget option, but it won’t save you money in the long run. Again, having to remove and re-install your solar panels to fix a roofing problem can be quite costly. 

You’ll want to install thicker shingles underneath your solar panels, as these have more asphalt. More asphalt in your shingles mean a longer roof life! Talk to your roofing contractor about the asphalt content in shingles, and avoid any shingles that have “lifetime warranties”, which are just a marketing ploy to sell lower quality shingles. 

Find Reputable Contractors

When getting a new roof and solar panels, it’s best to work with solar and roofing contractors who work well together and have worked together in the past. Avoid any contractors who claim to “do it all”, as they likely won’t deliver top quality for either installation. Reputable solar companies will have a list of roofers they work with, and vice versa. The last thing you want for your solar panel installation is contractors who don’t work well together!

As always, make sure to vet your contractors to ensure they have the proper licenses, paperwork, and insurance. Once your roofing contractor has given your roof a proper inspection, it’s time to get your solar panels installed!

Once your solar power system has been installed, ask your roofer to come out for another inspection so they can take a look at the penetrations. Most reputable roofers will do this for free and it gives them the chance to point out any potential issues to keep an eye on. Knowing what to watch out for in future inspections will save a lot of potential damage from leaks. Ideally, the roofer who inspects your roof will be the same contractor who installed your roof. Because it is their installation, they will be more knowledgeable about the water shedding abilities of your new roof. 

Future Roof Repairs and Replacements

Already have solar panels and need a major roof repair or replacement? It’s likely that your solar panels will need to be removed first. Small roof repairs may be done without the panels coming off. This depends, though, on the type of repair and where it needs to be done on your roof. The best way to know is by getting a roof inspection.

Solar panels must come off, however, before a roof replacement. If you need a roof replacement and already have solar panels installed, you will need:

  • A roofer who has experience working around solar panels
  • A solar panel contractor who can remove, safely store, and reinstall your existing solar panels
  • An electrician who can disable and reconnect the electrical to your solar panels before and after removal (ask your solar company if they have an in-house electrician)

If you are considering installing solar panels on your roof, contact IBEX Roof today for an inspection! We will make sure your roof is ready for your new investment and advise the best way to reinforce your roof if needed. Even if you’re not looking to install solar panels on your roof, summer time is still a great time to get your routine roof inspections scheduled. Call us at 360-218-3104 to schedule your inspection today!

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