This installation tip was provided by Chris Fisher, product manager for CertainTeed Solar
When considering if a roof is suitable for solar, many people start with solar design considerations like roof orientation and shading. But a complete inspection of the roofing system and its structural support is especially important. While solar technicians are careful about installation practices, like flashing and sealing roof penetrations, roofing contractors can best recognize roof deficiencies. After a solar install, it’s difficult to access the roof and make repairs.
One should first find out the roof age, expected lifetime and warranty terms. There might be a product warranty and a manufacturer or contractor’s workmanship warranty. Installing solar typically doesn’t void the product warranty except where roofing was altered, like where a hole is poked through. Usually, the workmanship warranty is only affected if the original workmanship is disturbed, such as by breaking shingle sealant to slide flashing underneath. Ideally, the solar installer knows about roof age and warranties up front.
Many factors affect roof condition: age, location, system design, materials, workmanship, maintenance, roof deck and underlayments.
Each roofing system component helps maintain the roof’s integrity. One sign of asphalt shingle roof deterioration is when the surface granules wear off, leaving the substrate exposed. Other signs are curling or missing shingles. For tile roofs, leaks, tile cracks and degraded underlayment should be promptly addressed.
If decking material fails, the fasteners holding the roofing material can come loose and cause damage from below. These trouble signs cannot always be detected from the rooftop, so the roof should be inspected from the attic and issues like sagging rafters or dry rot should be addressed immediately.
If neighbors are replacing roofs, it’d be wise to get an inspection because nearby roofs may be due for replacement if they’re the same age. If in need of a new roof, one might consider purchasing roofing and solar from one manufacturer with a warranty covering both products and the entire installation.