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Do Solar Panels Damage Your Roof?

Jan 25, 2023

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Home » Blog » Do Solar Panels Damage Your Roof?

Here’s What to Know About Solar Panels and Damage to Your Roof

Do solar panels damage your roof? This is one of the most commonly asked questions we get about our solar roofing services here at Dolan Roofing & Construction. As roofing experts, we understand the concern: mounting new equipment like solar panels requires foot traffic on your roof, not to mention the work needed to install solar panels.

In today’s post, we’re sharing information about potential pitfalls of solar panel installation, including the risks they can present to your roof. The good news, though, is that solar panels don’t have to damage your roof—and when you work with a roofing and solar provider, the risk is minimal thanks to inspections completed before and after installation.

Do Solar Panels Damage a Roof?

Generally speaking, installing solar panels will not damage your roof, given proper installation technique. While different types of roofing are more vulnerable to damage from foot traffic and penetrations necessary to affix solar panels (such as tile roofing, which we’ll get to later), damage is far from guaranteed. Professional solar panel installation experts will have enough experience to minimize the risk to your roof while installing your solar array. 

What Risks Do Solar Panels Pose to a Roof?

With all the above said, installing solar panels is not risk-free when it comes to roof damage. This is for three main reasons.

First, any amount of walking on a roof creates a risk for damage. This is because while roofs are designed to be durable and resistant to damage, they aren’t designed to accommodate foot traffic. Professional roofers know how to walk on a roof safely, without causing damage. Other contractors may be less adept, which leaves room for potentially dislodged shingles or cracked tiles.

More significantly, however, is that installing solar panels on your roof requires penetrating the roof’s surface. This is necessary to mechanically fasten the solar panel array to your roof. However, these penetrations through your roof’s surface can leave the roof vulnerable to moisture intrusion if not sealed properly. 

Finally, solar panels are not weightless. If your roof is not structurally sound enough to support the additional weight of a solar array, it leaves your roof at risk of damage from being unable to bear this new load.

Another Consideration: Tile Roofs and Solar Panels

Many homeowners believe solar panels cannot be installed on tile roofs. This is not true. However, installing solar panels on tile roofs does require greater care than for other roof types. This is because roofing tiles—especially lightweight roofing tiles—are more prone to cracking from foot traffic and drilling into the roof’s surface. If damaged tiles are not replaced, your roof will be left vulnerable.

The Solution? Work With a Roofing and Solar Company

The above risks illustrate exactly why the partnership between a roofing company and a solar installer is such an ideal pairing. Solar installers are experts in their field, while your roofing contractor can ensure your roof is in excellent health both before and after installation.

Before installation begins, your roofing contractor can first inspect your roof to ensure it’s solar-ready. This includes making sure your roof can support the load of solar panels and assessing its remaining lifespan. After all, if your roof needs to be replaced soon, it’s best to do this before solar panels are installed to minimize the overall cost.

After solar panels are installed, your roofer can then complete a post-installation inspection to check for roof damage. They’ll be able to ensure all penetrations are properly sealed and replace any damaged or broken shingles or tiles.

Dolan Is Your Partner for Roofing and Solar!

Here at Dolan Roofing, we aim to help our customers get the most from their solar systems. This means partnering with top solar installers while also providing the roofing expertise necessary to ensure your roof will be healthy throughout the life of your new solar array. Overall, this will minimize the cost of installing and maintaining your solar array while keeping the roof over your head in excellent condition.

If you’re ready to go solar and start saving, contact us today for a consultation and preliminary inspection!