Do Solar Panels Damage Roofs? Our Guide to Solar Panels
June 6, 2022
Solar panels come with some distinct and vital benefits—for both your finances and the environment. These perks include:
Increased energy supply
Reduced air pollution
Reduced water usage
Assistance in fighting climate change
You’ve likely heard these positive attributes mentioned time and time again as solar panels have become increasingly popular.
So it’s understandable that you want to consider them. But solar represents a significant investment, so you’re justified in wondering about any negative side effects. For instance:
Do solar panels damage roofs?
Are there any issues they will/can cause?
Do solar panels void your roof warranty?
Let’s take a closer look at the answer to these and similar questions.
How Long Do Roofs Last?
Having solar panels put in at the end of your roof’s life will likely mean uninstalling them, replacing the roof, and then reinstalling them. That’s a lot of work. It makes more sense to invest in solar panels if your roof still has a lot of life left.
The average life of a roof depends on the material the shingles are made from. Take a look at the included list of popular roof materials to get a feel for how long your roof could last:
Asphalt Shingles: 15-30 years
Copper Roofs: 60+ years
Metal Roofs: 50 years
Concrete Tiles: 50 years
Wood Shingles: 30-40 years
Composite Shingles: 20-50 years
Asphalt shingles tend to be the most popular roofing material, mainly because of their low cost. As you can see from the list, they also don’t last as long as other roof types. Step one in deciding on solar panel installation is to know how old your shingles are and when they’re likely to expire.
Can Solar Panels Make Your Roof Last Longer?
Solar panels can make your roof last longer. When installed, they act as a protective barrier for your shingles, preventing sunlight from damaging them. There will also be additional airflow between the panel and the roof, which can help keep your shingles nice and cool.
Shingles also undergo severe damage from weather like rain, sleet, and snow. Solar panels protect them from those types of weather and subsequently help them last longer.
Do Solar Panels Mess Up Your Roof?
The most important thing you can do when having solar panels installed is to have them installed properly. They can mess up your roof if they are not put on correctly.
You’ll want to have a professional with plenty of experience installing your panels. Different roofing materials can affect the installation process, so you don’t want to leave things to chance with someone who doesn’t know exactly what they’re doing.
Do Solar Panels Void Your Roof Warranty?
Your home’s roofing system is one of the critical elements—almost as important as the building’s foundation. It’s therefore understandable to wonder if having holes drilled in your roof will void the roof warranty.
A roof warranty is made up of two parts: the installer’s labor warranty and the manufacturer’s materials warranty. The installer’s warranty lasts on average about 2-5 years but can vary from contractor to contractor. The materials warranty ranges based on the material used, anywhere from 25-50 years.
How the panels are installed will determine whether your roof’s warranty becomes void. In fact, over time, no matter the installation process, it’s highly likely you’ll have to deal with damage to your roof and potential warranty issues.
Solar Panels and a New Roof
If you install your panels with the placement of a new roof, you likely won’t have to deal with issues until the roof needs to be replaced anyway. You can also find installation and mounting methods that cause little to no damage to your roof.
Will Solar Panels Cause My Roof To Leak?
If your solar panels are installed incorrectly, your roof could leak. Holes or gaps left in the roof materials can create an opportunity for drainage or leaks when the weather is wet. This is why it is vital to find an installation company or individual who knows what they’re doing. When installed properly, solar panels won’t lead to leaking.
Learn More about Solar Panels with American Roofing
Andrew Yorgason was born and raised in the Salt Lake Valley. He is the proud father of four children and when he’s not up on a roof or at the office, you can find him on a golf course, at a sporting event, or spending time with his family at their ranch enjoying the outdoors and riding horses. Andrew is a third-generation roofer and part of the next generation of ownership at American Roofing. He has been involved with his family’s business since birth and loves helping protect homes in Utah one roof at a time.