Should I Replace My Roof Before I Go Solar?


If you’re looking into installing solar panels, you may be concerned about what they’ll do to your roof. Are those panels going to damage it? What if my roof isn’t it the best condition? Is this going to cost me even more money?

The bottom line is: it just doesn’t make sense to remove and reinstall solar panels after a few years, which means most likely, you will not need to replace your roof. Unfortunately, that very much depends on the state of your roof now.

Will Solar Panels Ruin My Roof?

Solar panels are built to last. And when we say last, we mean many carry warranties for over 25 years! Those photovoltaic systems are manufactured to sustain all kinds of elements, so they’re not going to fall apart.

Additionally, don’t be too concerned about the weight of a solar panel on your roof. Most panels only weigh about four pounds per square foot. However, a damaged or weak roof can end up sagging under the added weight, leading to cracks, leaks, and dry rot.

So, Should I Replace My Roof?

That said, you want your roof to be in decent condition. The last thing you want, after investing in solar energy panels, is to incur the cost of removing those panels in order to replace the roof. Generally speaking, if your roof is less than 12 years old, it should be fine. Even if it’s older than that, it should still be fine. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s just not worth the risk or financial costs down the road.

My Roof Is Damaged!

You might already know that there’s problems, like leaks or stains in the attic. Mildew and dark spots on the roof are also a sign you need repairs or replacement. If you haven’t seen these signs, you should still have a professional contractor come take a look and give you an estimate. Many solar companies will recommend roofing contractors that offer free estimates, so you don’t have the additional assessment cost. If you’re working with a limited budget, but know that you need roof repairs, replace the roof directly below where the solar panels will be placed.

The good news is that once the solar panels are in place, they’ll reduce the wear and potentially extend the life of the roof because they’ll block harmful UV rays from the sun, as well as keep snow and ice from damaging it. Plus, those solar panels are going to produce renewable energy for years to come, saving you money. Those minor roof repairs will be covered over time thanks to the savings on your energy bill!

Have you installed solar panels? Did you have your roof inspected beforehand? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Image Credit: Albert Bridge under a Creative Commons license


  • by Nadia Osman
  • |
  • February 23, 2015

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