We hear this question a whole lot: “should I replace my roof before going solar?
It is an important question. Many homeowners are excited to go solar and start shopping without considering the condition of their roof. The fact that you’re thinking about it now is an excellent sign that you’re planning ahead to make your solar installation a success.
We hope we can share some information with you that will help you determine how your roof life will factor into your solar journey.
Types of Roofs
The majority of our customers decide to have solar installed on their roofs. Some choose a ground-mounted array, and others have solar installed on their adjacent garage or carport. For most residential solar installations, a roof provides the optimal conditions for a solar installation.
Asphalt Shing Roofs
Asphalt Shingle Roofs are the most popular roof type in our area. They have warranties or shingle ratings anywhere ranging from 30 TO 60-year warranties.
Metal roofs are generally more expensive and have longer guaranteed lifespans than asphalt shingle roofs. This material lasts so long that, typically, the paint fails long before the roof itself. If you have a metal roof that’s in good shape – you can have solar installed on it. Metal roofs are great for solar because we can use clamps to install the solar racking on top of the roof easily.
Clay Tile Roofs
These roofs are beautiful and often designed to last a long time. Third Sun Kokosing Solar does not install solar on tile roofs, or slate roofs, but we have customers with clay tile and slate roofs that opted for a ground-mounted solar array to preserve the roof’s beauty.
Determining Your Roof Life
If you still have the paperwork that came with the roof when it was last replaced, check there. These papers should give you an idea of how much life is left in your roof. But, just like tires on a car – the lifespan on your roof will vary with different conditions. Things like materials, sun, and how well it has been cared for all play into a roof’s lifespan.
We know this information can be challenging to track down. Many of us have not been living in our homes long enough to have had a roof replacement or don’t remember when someone replaced the roof last.
Identifying Common Roof Issues
Another option is surveying the roof, yourself. (Disclaimer: Please be careful!)
Some common types of roof problems are:
- Missing shingles – easy to spot and one of the most common roof issues. Missing shingles leave a gap in coverage on your roof.
- Water damage – inside your attic is a clear indicator that your roof should be inspected and fixed before installing solar.
- Damaged shingles – these, too, are easy to spot. If the shingle is so worn down that it’s become exposed to sunlight, its edges will curl, and the shingle will become discolored. This is a sign that it may be time for a new roof.
If you are still unsure that your roof is in good enough shape after checking this paperwork and looking up at your roof, our next suggestion is to schedule an inspection. A roof inspector can do a roof inspection in person, and with some roofs, they can be done remotely. A roof inspector will give you an idea of the types of issues you will want to watch out for. They can also give you an estimate on when the roof might need to be replaced.
In some cases, there may be one area or another that can be spot fixed to ensure the roof’s integrity before a solar installation.
Should I replace my roof before going solar?
This cornerstone question is part of most homeowners’ solar journeys. And it’s a question to consider early on, as it may impact the timeline and cost of your solar project.
Here are some reasons why our customers install a new roof before their solar installation:
- Our solar panels are warranted at 25 years. They are a long-term investment for your home – just like a roof.
- The electricity savings from solar help offset the cost of the new roof.
- Align the Cycles – asphalt shingle roofs and solar panels usually have similar warranty lengths – between 25 and 30 years. While it’s not necessary to do this, and solar panels may even extend the life of your roof as they protect the roof areas that are covered by panels, it does make sense for some homeowners.
- While there is the option to deinstall and reinstall your solar system for a roof replacement, the cost of doing so eats into your solar system’s return on investment.
- Some of our customers streamline their financing by rolling the roof replacement and solar installation project into one.
Why Roof Life Matters
We know this is a tricky piece of the puzzle. You’ve already decided that you’re going to invest in solar energy at your home. It’s hard to imagine paying even MORE to replace your roof.
We also know you are planning ahead.
Rest assured that if our team notices anything during our initial inspection that makes us think your roof may need to be assessed: we will let you know.
Once you have determined that your roof is in the appropriate shape and will be set to last the same amount of time as your panels – it is time to put the planning into action and sign up for a free solar evaluation for your home!