As energy prices continue to increase, more Floridians are considering turning to solar electricity for some or all of their electrical needs. For most homeowners, that means installing your solar system on your roof. How do you know if your roof is up to the task of handling the added weight of the solar panels and if it’s in good enough condition? Only by calling a Tampa roofing company to inspect your roofing.
Solar’s Impact on Your Roofing System
You may have been told by your solar installation company that you need a new roof and then they referred you to their Tampa roofer. It may seem like a scam to you and a way to get even more money as likely they are getting a referral fee. That’s why it’s in your best interest to call a roofing contractor who has no interest in the solar system. You do need to inform the estimator that you are considering solar, which roof it will go on and how many panels you are planning to install.
Solar panels don’t weigh very much – on average about two to four pounds per square foot. For most homes, this added weight is not going to cause your roof to collapse. The more important structural issue is the uplift that can occur when strong winds go under the panels. Your solar company should attach the panels to the rafters and not just the roofing deck. If they have any concerns about your rafters be sure to tell your roofing contractor before they begin their inspection.
More than likely your roofing system meets the wind codes in place in Tampa since the late 90’s. If that is the case, you should be more interested in the life expectancy of the roofing surface. If you have builder grade asphalt shingles and they are more than about eight years old, you may want to consider a roof replacement prior to installing the solar panels. For tile roofing, you should have the roof inspected for cracked and broken tiles prior to installation and consider a tile roof coating. It’s much more difficult to perform tile roof repair with the solar panels installed (to you that means it will cost more later because of the added time).
One reason to consider a roof replacement is because of the added expense of removing and reinstalling the solar panels. If you install a new roof at the same time your solar is being installed, it should last the lifetime of the solar system and they will not need to be removed. If you decide to delay the replacement, you will not only have to pay the solar company to remove and possibly store the panels for you but also to reinstall them. Don’t forget you will lose out on any electrical savings for the duration of the time that the system is not active.
Call Suncoast Roofing Solutions for Your Independent Inspection
We are an independent and affordable roofing company in Tampa who regularly performs roofing inspections for homeowners considering solar. We can perform any necessary tile roof repairs needed or replace your roof and handle structural reinforcement if necessary. Let our one of our inspectors be your second opinion. Call today – 813-283-2544.