What New Roofing System Should I Get Before Installing Solar Panels?

“Is my roof suitable for solar panels?” You have probably asked yourself this question if you’ve been considering a photovoltaic system for your home.

Luma Solar Roof
source: Luma Solar

The good news is that you can install solar panels on almost any roof, as long as they have a suitable racking system.

For example, you can use clamps if you have a standing seam metal roof, or penetrating mounts for shingle and tile roofs. Ballasted mounts are also viable if you have a flat roof, although this is less common in residential settings.

Having an asbestos roof is one of the main factors that can limit the use of solar panels. While the installation is technically possible, most solar contractors will decline this type of work due to the health risks involved.

The fibers released when drilling asbestos can be extremely hazardous if inhaled, and this is not only a health risk for installers, but also for anyone living in the home. Asbestos can stay in your body for years without symptoms, and then cause severe lung issues without warning.

Even if you have an asbestos-free roofing system, you need to consider three important things about solar panels:

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Hail Damage Restoration vs. Roof Upgrade: Asphalt vs. Metal

In many states in the US, we are approaching hail season. For those that live in areas that are prone to these storms, they know that in a matter of minutes their house could be torn up. Hail the size of golf balls can come down smashing windows, siding, and damaging asphalt roofs.

After the storm, people are frantic about how to fix their home. Too many of them, however, go through the restoration process and put the same product onto their home that was just damaged. The next storm to come could well destroy that new roof. 😉

Hail damage restoration is necessary but upgrading to a better product is even more important.

Hail Damage to Asphalt Roofs

In the U.S., around 80% of residential roofs are topped with asphalt shingles. They are cheap, quick to install, and for the most part they look pretty good on top of houses.

The problem, however, is two-fold. Asphalt roofs will wear out over time, and they are susceptible to hail damage (as they get older, smaller, and smaller hail stones can damage them).

With hailstorms increasing in frequency and intensity, the likelihood of your newly replaced asphalt roof being damaged in a hailstorm is pretty high.

Fortunately, there is a better way; instead of restoring your roof, improve it!

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Synthetic Shake and Shingle Pricing Guide for 2022

Synthetic shake and shingles are polymer-based material, or a combination of plastic and rubber. They are used on roofs where homeowners desire the classic look of wood or natural slate, with the added benefits from the synthetic blends.

Synthetic shingle roofs are relatively new to the residential roofing market, first arriving in the early 1990s. Their durability, environmental friendliness and affordability have all contributed to their rising success.

Cost

For a 2,000 square foot roof on a typical, single-family house (up to two stories high), it will cost between $8.50 and $14.50 per sq.ft. installed. This results in an average total price range of $17,000 to $29,000. If the existing roof needs to be torn off and disposed of first, this can sometimes (depending on the contractor pricing the job) cost an additional $2,000 to $3,500 more.

Asphalt Shingles

$8,500
Average Cost
Metal Roof

$15,500
Average Cost
Flat Roof Membrane

$11,500
Average Cost

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The location of your home can greatly influence the overall cost of a new roof. Expect to pay more for a new roof on a house in an expensive coastal city relative to the cost of new roof in rural areas in the South or Midwest.

A more complex roof with multiple cut-up angles, dormers, peaks and valleys, or steeper pitch than average would add to the complexity of the project, and hence cost more as a result.

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