Ok, so you’re seriously considering going solar, but have some concerns about your roof and your mind is filled with all the “What Ifs…” In all honesty, your head’s in the right place. You should be thinking through the whole process of going solar, and that includes the integrity of your roof.
This article is going to dive into all of this, giving you the information you’ll need to make an educated decision about your roof prior to making the switch to solar power.
Your Likely First Thought: Cost
Cost is a tough one to define. There are a lot of variables at play, especially if you’re considering both replacing your roof and installing solar panels.
Your best bet is to research your options for contractors, both for roofing and solar panels, and let them help you decide your best path forward.
There Are Some Incentives, Though…
First off, replacing your roof absolutely adds value to your home. Our partners over at IKO wrote a fantastic piece on this. “Great, but how much value?” Unfortunately, just like the cost of replacing your roof and/or switching to solar – the value increase depends on a lot of things.
When going solar, you can save some money with state and federal tax incentives, like the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC.) The ITC is available to anyone who switches to solar power and avails a 26% tax credit right back to you.
Oh, and let’s not forget — going solar actually INCREASES the value of your home. Recent studies have shown that homes on the market with solar power sell about 4.1% above appraisal value. You can read more about that here.
There could also be discounts available through your homeowner’s insurance based on the specific roofing materials used for your roof replacement. Just ask your roofing or solar contractor for more details on these incentives and see how much you’ll be able to save.
The Next: Weight
Another factor you’re likely considering is the overall weight of a solar panel array. This, like cost, depends on a few factors, mainly the size of the array and the type of solar panels used.
Arrays aren’t exactly light. If your house is older, you may have issues with weakened or damaged decking, or the spacing between beams may be farther apart than modern homes. So do yourself a favor and get the roof inspected before shopping for solar panels.
So, before you go down the solar road and schedule an installation, get a roof inspection from a qualified contractor. Speaking of inspections…
Is Your Roof in Good Condition?
During an inspection, a roofing contractor will look for signs of damage. This may include leaks, damaged shingles and underlayment, even flashings and vents. If there are significant issues with any of these, repairs should be made prior to installing solar panels.
Don’t forget to get into your attic and check for matted, molded, or discolored insulation or molded or discolored roof decking or beams. Finding any of that indicates some kind of roofing damage and needs to be addressed prior to a solar panel installation.
How Old is Your Roof?
Most roofing materials have a life between 20 and 50 years. While it may be a little tricky to know exactly how old your roof is, your inspector can figure that out for you. If your roof is on the younger-side (typically less than 5 years old), and there are no other structural or superficial deficiencies in your roof, then you may not need a replacement prior to installing solar panels.
However, if you’re on year 22 of 25-year shingles, then you may want to get a new roof prior to solar installation.
After All That: Best Roofing Types and Materials for Solar Panels
The good news is most roofs in good condition are “best” for going solar. So whether you’re wanting to simply replace your asphalt shingles or maybe upgrade to a more efficient metal roof or even clay tiles – you really can’t go wrong.
Of course, there are some exceptions, but so long as your roof is in good condition and has relatively new shingles, metal, or tiles, you’re going to be able to mount a solar array.
The Final Thought
Do you absolutely NEED to replace your roof prior to going solar? No, but it is something to consider before you sign any contracts with a solar installation company.
Hopefully this guide has given you all you need to make a decision as to whether or not you should consider repairing or replacing your roof prior to installation.
There are a lot of factors to consider regarding the integrity of your roof. A qualified contractor, like Buildpro, will answer all your questions and help you understand the process from roof replacement to solar panel installation (with a little help from the experts at our sister company, Sunpro Solar.)
Buildpro: Your Roofing Specialists
Choosing Buildpro for your roofing needs is one of the best decisions you can make. We offer some of the best warranties and certifications in the industry. It also helps that we work hand-in-hand with our solar company, Sunpro.
With the two of us on the job, you’ll be able to get the absolute best products, installation, and services from start to finish.
If you’re ready for a free, no-obligation roof inspection to see if your roof is ready for solar panels, click here and we’ll reach out shortly.