The first thing to remember is, solar companies hire salespeople. In general, salespeople DO NOT like anything that can make a sale go south. When you first start talking to solar companies you will be talking to a salesperson and not the person who is configuring and installing your rooftop solar system. The number one goal to a solar salesperson is to sell a solar array, all the other “stuff” like the condition of your roof, which direction it faces, aesthetics, roof load factor, etc. can only screw up a sale.
Before you even talk to a solar company you need to ask yourself these questions:
How old is my roof? Is my roof currently damaged, old, deteriorated or in just bad condition? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions. It’s probably better to replace your roof first before installing a solar system. If you install a solar on your roof that should have been replaced, then when you do develop leaks and have to replace your roof, now there may be extra thousands of added costs of removing and reinstalling the solar panels.
Here are a few roof guidelines when it comes to installing a solar system:
Concrete Tile Roofs: Concrete tile roof systems usually have a single layer of 30# or 40# underlayment and last anywhere from 18-25 years. Your tile will last a lifetime but your underlayment won’t. So if you have a 15-18-year-old tile roof you may want to have the underlayment replaced on the roof field where the solar panels are going to be installed. Later you can do the rest of the roof. Many solar companies can wrap the cost of the new roof into your lease program and you may even qualify for tax credits for the whole amount.
Clay or Sand Cast Tile Roofs: These can be a bit trickier and much more expensive. What TRM Roofing of Phoenix has developed is removing the tile where the solar panels are going and installing a new dimensional shingle roof system. Once the solar panels are installed, we come back and install the tiles over the shingles and just under the solar panels, looks like the solar panels are embedded in the tiles and they look sharp!!
Flat Roofs: If you have an older home with a rolled roofing like modified bitumen or even a built-up it is best to have your roof either replaced with foam or if the roof is in decent shape install a cool roof liquid membrane over the existing rolled roofing. If you have an older foam roof those can easily be restored. You should ask your solar installer to make sure that each anchor is encapsulated with trowel grade silicone. This will be bulletproof!
Asphalt Shingle Roofs: If you have a shingle roof that is 20 years or older you should make sure that it’s good condition, no fiberglass showing, or severe granular loss or any type of hail or storm damage. If you have a 3-tab asphalt shingle that is 10 years or older, replace it.
So when it comes to installing solar on your roof, be roof smart! Another thing to consider is trusting your solar contractor. Remember choosing a solar company or roofing contractor is like getting married it’s a long-term contract. If you are interested in solar call Solar Sandy and see if you can become part of her Solar Family. If you have questions about your roof visit: www.TRMroofing.com