Many homeowners want to go solar, but almost everyone has the same question: Do solar panels ruin the roof?
The installation of solar panels has been on the rise in recent years. Sales have reached an all-time high as more homeowners look for ways to cut utility costs and also go green.
About 2 million homes in the United States have solar panels installed in some way. Chances are if you don’t have solar panels installed, you know someone who does. And if you are thinking of changing the color of the roof of your house , you probably want to take the opportunity to install solar panels.
The rapid growth of the solar industry has completely changed the debate on energy consumption in recent years. With the industry forecast to hit 3 million installations by 2021, solar panels are sure to come to your neighborhood…and your rooftop could be one of them..
With the rise in popularity of solar panels comes the inevitable question from homeowners, can solar panels ruin the roof? These questions often concern damage from nail holes, how they relate to water leaks, and ultimately whether they void a roof warranty.
In this article, we will try to answer these questions while looking at the traditional method of installing solar panels versus non-invasive methods .
On the other hand, if you want to know more about solar panels for neighborhoods, be sure to check out our guide on home solar energy .
Are solar panels bad for the roof?
Solar panels are not inherently bad for the roof. The possibility of solar panels damaging the roof is due to the method of installation. Traditional solar panel installation involves bolting the panels to the roof with nails, bolts, and straps .
These nails and bolts are usually driven directly into the roof and into the attic or ceiling. Of course, holes in the roof can cause leaks over time .
With the presence of unexpected moisture, the possibility of water damage and mold growth becomes very real. In this regard, shingle and roof damage caused by drilling or hammering during solar panel installation is very common .
To avoid damaging your roof and potentially voiding your warranty, non-destructive installation methods are recommended.
Some of these methods eliminate potentially disastrous roof penetrations and allow roof warranties to remain intact. These types of installations do not require anchor points, roof penetrations, or the location of structural connection points .
These types of designs also require less labor and time to install, avoiding the costly and disruptive complications associated with accessing attic spaces and modifying structural connection points.
Solar panels and roof protection.
In addition to the obvious purpose of harnessing the sun’s energy to create renewable electricity, solar panels also serve to protect your roof. Solar panels form a protective barrier between your roof and the outside elements .
Having solar panels on your roof can help protect you from the wrath of mother nature. Outside elements such as wind, rain, snow and the occasional falling tree are prevented from directly hitting your roof and causing damage.
Solar panels also absorb direct sunlight that would otherwise fall directly onto your roof. The space between the panels and the roof forms an air pocket which also has a cooling effect on the roof .
Studies show that installing solar panels can reduce the temperature inside a home by as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit or almost three degrees Celsius.
Alternative installations eliminate the need to go to hot – or cold – spaces in the attic to install solar panels.
And since there is no drilling to do, there will be no roof leaks from installing the solar panels. When considering installing these non-invasive methods, check to see if they are certified by the state for use in the event of hurricanes or tornadoes.
So if your home is located in an area known for harsh weather conditions, you can be sure that your solar panels will withstand any storm that comes their way .
Does installing solar panels void the roof warranty?
Apart from the foundation, the roof is one of the most essential parts of the house and one of the most expensive to maintain, repair or replace .
For this reason, many homeowners invest in a Roofing Warranty to make sure the roof is insured. For this reason, most homeowners worry about installing solar panels on their roofs and having dozens of holes drilled into their roofs.
The idea of drilling holes in the roof due to the installation of solar panels scares most homeowners. This is especially true when it comes to the question we’ve been asking ourselves all along: will installing solar panels void my roof warranty?
What are roof warranties? Your roof warranty is normally divided into two parts. The first is offered by the contractor who installed the roof , which covers installation labor . Installer warranty varies, but the industry average is 10 years .
The second part is the material warranty provided by the roofing product manufacturer. The material warranty can vary drastically depending on the type of material and can range from 25 to 50 years.
Cover failures due to incorrect installation are covered by the installer’s warranty. Cover product defects are covered by the manufacturer, but only if the product has been installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Most roofers will agree that solar panels should not be installed on a roof that has 10 years or less of useful life left .
The best time to install solar panels is when a new roof is being installed . But will installing solar panels, which often requires bolting the roofing material to the deck below, void the warranty on your new roof? The answer largely depends on the mounting method used.
Traditional roofers mechanically attach panels to pitched roofs with bolts, nails and screws that penetrate the structure or with ballast frames that use weights to hold the panels in place on flat roofs.
Both methods can damage the roof over time, leading to costly repairs and potential warranty issues.
Alternative methods install the panels using spray adhesives , which adhere the framing to the roof without damaging it or voiding warranties. As they do not require drilling or screwing, they reduce the possibility of leaks to zero.
How can solar panels ruin my roof?
If installed incorrectly, solar panels can cause some roof damage . However, if installed correctly, solar panels can protect your roof and increase your home’s value.
Today, more and more people want to go green, and according to a recent CNBC report, adding a solar system to your home can add $9,274 to the value of your home.
The bottom line of this article is that installing a rooftop solar system, if done correctly, will not only help keep energy costs down, it will also provide protection to your roof and increase the value of your home.