What you should know about your roof before installing solar panels.
If you’re thinking about installing solar panels on your home, you’ve probably got some questions. Such as, “Do I need to replace my roof before having the panels installed?” Read on to learn what we tell homeowners who are thinking about adding solar panels to their roofs in Florida.
1. How Solar Panels Are Installed
First, let’s think about how solar panels are installed on your roof. The installer will place mounts on your roof about four feet apart. A steel bolt will secure the mount to a rafter. Then, the solar panels will be lifted onto your roof and the crew will fasten them to the mounts. Finally, the panel will be connected to the electrical supply.
It’s a relatively straightforward process, yet installing solar panels is quite labor intensive. According to a study by the federal government, installation labor represents about 11% of the total cost of a residential solar system. To break it down, if the total cost of the system is $25,000, you can expect to pay about $2,750 in installation costs. Remember, that’s an average and the actual cost will vary based on your installer, roof conditions and location.
2. Replacing a roof with solar panels
If you have to replace your roof after having solar panels installed, you’ll need a qualified solar installer to perform the deinstallation and reinstallation. Roofing companies aren’t usually qualified to remove and reinstall the panels. That means you’ll need to add the removal and reinstall cost to the expense of your roofing project. If you don’t have a quote from your solar company yet, it can be helpful to use the 11% cost estimate as a guide for your budget.
3. Replacing Your Roof Before Adding Solar Panels
Should you replace your roof before installing solar panels? Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to this question. Many variables weigh into the decision. The biggest thing to consider is the type, condition and age of your existing roof. However we always recommend a thorough roof inspection before installing solar panels on your roof. It is likely you will need a roof tune up or rejuvenation before your solar panel installation.
Metal roofs typically last much longer than asphalt shingle roofs. Most come with a 25+ year warranty. However, it is helpful to remember that a metal roof can far surpass its warranty. If you have a metal roof that’s in good condition, you can most likely install solar panels without replacing your roof.
Tile roofs also last longer than asphalt roofing, but they do require special consideration when installing solar panels. Special brackets are required since the mounts can’t be drilled into your home’s rafters. Before installing panels, make sure your roof is in good condition with a roof inspection.
Asphalt shingle roofs
These are the most common type of roof in the U.S. Depending on the specific type of shingle, an asphalt roof can last from 10 years to 50 years. It’s important to know how old your roof is and what condition it is in if you’re considering installing solar panels.
4. The Lifespan Of Your Roof
No matter your roofing type it’s a good idea to have at least 15 years of life left on your roof before installing solar panels. If you installed your roof five years ago and the warranty says it will last for 20 years, you should feel comfortable installing solar panels without first replacing the roof. Alas, a roof inspection will help you decide for sure
However, if your roof is 20 years old and the warranty says it will last for 30 years, you should seriously consider getting a roof tune up or scheduling a roof rejuvenation before installing solar panels. Or, you should wait to add panels until your roof is closer to the end of its expected life.
Deciding when to replace your roof
Lots of factors into determining how much life is left on your roof.
- How old is your roof?
- Has it been properly maintained?
- Are you seeing significant granule loss?
- Are the shingles significantly damaged, curled or cracked?
- Do you have any leaks or discolored spots on your ceiling?
If you need help figuring out if your roof needs repairs or a replacement before installing solar panels, we are happy to help you. We can also tell you if Roof Maxx would be a good solution for extending the life of your roof.
Contact a reputable roofer in Florida
If you’re thinking about adding solar panels to your roof, it is a good idea to get a roof inspection first. At RIG Roofing, we can help you better understand when you will need a new roof so you can time the installation of your panels appropriately. To schedule an inspection, call us at1 (863) 294-4477 or submit an inquiry to schedule an appointment with one of our roofing experts.
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