Most of the time, roofing materials are designed to be as light-weight as possible so that it will be easier to install and so that there is less stress placed on the roof’s supporting structures. However, not all roofing materials are lightweight, and most of the time, slate shingles and metal roofings are heavy enough that they can weight over a time that can easily put stress on your supporting structures.
Your roofing material’s weight isn’t the only factor that you have to take into account when it comes to installing a roof since there can be multiple objects fastened to your roof as well. One of the heavier materials is solar panels. Having added weight to your roof can have long-term effects so it’s best to consult a roofing specialist on the matter when you’re still planning things out.
But before we get into how the weight of solar panels can affect your roof, we have to first look into what are the most optimal type of roofing for solar panels.
Type of Roofing
One of the most conventional roofing designs for residential areas is gabled roofs which can have a steeper slope than other roofing designs. Most of the time, solar panels are installed in low-pitched areas on flat rooftops on commercial buildings, and if they are ever placed on steeper roofs, then specialized equipment is required for installation.
Of course, solar panels are to absorb solar energy, so it’s best to place them in an area on the roof that’s not blocked by shadows while having maximized exposure to the sun.
Age of Your Roof
One of the main factors that you have to take into account is how old your roof is. Obviously, all roofing material will deteriorate over time. For most roofing materials like 3-tab shingles, EPDM, and other commonly known roofing materials, it will take 20 – 30 years before material will start to show any visible signs of deterioration.
If you’re going to install solar panels, it’s best to inspect your roof first. If you’re having any doubts that your roof will have the strength for solar panels, it’s best to replace them first since replacing a roof right after you’ve installed solar panels can be more expensive.
Will Solar Panels Damage Your Roof?
Solar panels can help your roof by protecting it against rainwater, snow, and sometimes strong winds by adding a bit of weight to hold it down. Professionally licensed contractors take a good amount of care in making sure that the mountings on the racks are fastened with sealants being applied to the roof with weather protection agents and metal flashing being installed on the more vulnerable areas.
On a flat roof with pitches of 1/12 and below, solar panels can be installed without having to be mounted directly to the roof. If ever an area is prone to earthquakes, then you can use heavy concrete black to keep your panels in place.
Will Solar Panels Affect my Roof’s Warranty?
Yes, it will affect the warranty on your roof. Most roofing companies would prefer that you do not install anything besides the designated roofing structures that are necessary for your roof to mitigate any leaks. There are also companies that have their own warranties which they go through with a third-party company. As always, there’s no hurt in inquiring your professional roofing contractor before anything else.
Are Solar Shingles An Option?
In most cases, homeowners who have steeper roofs tend to use solar shingles which can easily adapt to your conventional asphalt shingles. Moreover, they are an attractive option than other shingles that you’ll find in the market. The only downside to these shingles is that they are more expensive than your commonly-found solar panels. You can have a skilled roofing specialist install this at your home. You have to also contact your electrician to perform the necessary electrical installations for your solar panels.
Can My Roof Support the Weight?
Ultimately, if you’re going to invest on a solar roof, then you have to go through the process with your local court so you will have the full permission to have them installed. On average, solar panels and the mounting materials for them will weigh around 2-4 pounds for each square foot (around 10 – 20 kg per square meter) which is an acceptable limit to your average roofing Orlando FL.