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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The Ultimate Guide to Architectural Shingles: Costs, Top Brands

Vocab Moment: To nip in the bud any potential confusion, architectural shingles are also called fiberglass, dimensional and laminate shingles, or a combination such as fiberglass laminate shingles. Top of the line architectural shingles are referred to as luxury, premium and designer shingles.

All these terms refer to the same type of asphalt shingles, and the reason for each name should become clear as we proceed.

Architectural Shingles vs. 3-tab Shingles

This is often the first decision homeowners think through. Let’s consider the specifics of cost, construction, and durability, so you’ll understand exactly what your choices are in the 3-tab vs architectural shingles debate.

IKO Armourshake WeatheredStone premium shingles roof – Source: Iko

Architectural shingles last 33% to 100% longer and cost 15% to 100% more depending on which products you are comparing. While the initial cost is higher, the better longevity means the lifetime value of dimensional shingles – cost per year of use – is roughly the same as 3-tab shingles.

Most homeowners believe that architectural shingles look better than 3-tabs which look flattish. The 3D look of architectural shingles is stemming from their raised profile, which better mimics cedar shakes and stone slate roofing tiles.

Now, let’s delve into specifics with respect to cost, durability, longevity, and more.

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3-in-1 Solar Roof Cost & Comparisons – The Ultimate Guide

A 3-in-1 solar roof gets its name because it has been designed to accomplish three functions: insulation, protection, and solar power generation. – This means you can get a roofing system capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions like hurricane winds and hail, while helping you save energy in two ways:

By providing insulation, the insulation baked into the 3-in-1 roof makes indoor spaces more comfortable while reducing your heating and cooling costs. At the same time, 3-in-1 roof tiles generate electricity with built-in photovoltaic cells, lowering your monthly power bills.

When using the 3-in-1 roof, you also get a wide variety of design options. There are many shingle types and colors available, so you can choose a roof design that matches the rest of your home.

You can also choose between exposed solar shingles, which have a higher productivity, or you can cover them with a semi-transparent layer that matches the shingle design.

When the photovoltaic cells are covered, their productivity decreases slightly but they become completely invisible, blending in with the rest of the roof.

Solar roofs are part of a broad product category called building integrated photovoltaics or BIPV.

Unlike traditional solar panels, which are attached to the roof structure using a racking system, BIPV products are designed to become part of your building.

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