Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home. It protects your house from all sorts of harsh weather – blistering heat, wind, rain, snow, hail, you name it! But that means it takes a battering, so every now and then, you need to show your roof a little TLC.
Restoring or replacing your roof will breathe new life into your home. Not only will it give you peace of mind that your home is safe in all weather, but it will also add value and aesthetic appeal.
However, if you have solar panels, or you’re thinking about having them installed in the near future, there are a few things to consider before repairing or replacing your roof. Here’s everything you need to know about roof restoration and solar panels.
Roof Restoration Before Solar Panel Installation
Before installing solar panels, it’s imperative to check whether your roof is in need of repair. Solar panels are built to last for years, and often they’ll last several decades. But if your roof isn’t looking too great, or it’s already showing signs of wear and tear, solar panels can make a restoration or replacement more difficult and costlier.
The solar panel installation process can cause old roofs to leak or break. And the last thing you want is to spend more time and money than necessary on maintaining your roof, especially right after the installation of the solar panels.
Only very few Solar panels companies have a warranty that covers the roof in case it starts leaking, and Sunrun Solar is one of them;
Your Sunrun contract includes a roof warranty, which protects your roof from leaks or holes.
Typically companies will only cover the damage done where the solar panels are getting installed.
A note from leading solar panel manufacturer:
We decided to reach out to Jinko Solar a leading worldwide solar panel manufacturer to check if there was any implication around roof restoration and painting in regards to solar panel warranty.
Here is a copy of what we emailed to them:
I was wondering if I have Jinko solar panels installed on my tiled roof at then get a roof restoration or get my roof painted at a later date. Is there anything that can void the warranty? Or is there anything in your warranty in regards to work on a roof with Jinko panels installed?
PS: I am an Australian customer, in Melbourne, Thanks!
We received a response from them on the same day:
According to the above response, we can confirm Jinko Solar is happy to continue their warranty even if a roof restoration or repaint is preformed after panel installation.
Pro Tip: Regardless of who your solar panel manufacturer is, it’s worthwhile double checking to ensure your warranty will stand after a roof restoration or painting is performed.
While on the topic, the Vivify Roofing team always wraps solar panels in protective plastic sheets while carrying out a roof restoration after a solar system has been installed.
Do I need a new roof before getting solar panels?
So how can you tell whether a roof is fit for solar panel installation? This is a decision you can make after thinking about three different factors: age, cost, and condition.
Age: Is your roof due a restoration?
The first question to address is: how old is your roof?
Solar panels should last over 25 years, so you’ll probably need to repair or replace your roof at some point while your panels are up. However, if your roof is relatively new when the solar panels are installed, the installation will run much more smoothly.
So it’s a good idea to make sure your roof is going to stand strong for at least 10 more years. If you suspect your roof is on its way out, it’s best to enquire about repair or restoration.
Cost: does it make financial sense to restore your roof?
Roof restoration with solar panels is more expensive, as the panels need to be removed.
If your roof needs to be restored at some point in the near future, you’ll save money by doing it sooner rather than later. You won’t have to pay for panels to be removed, and your roof will cope a lot better with the solar panel installation.
Ultimately, you’ll save money over the next 10-15 years on maintenance by restoring your roof before getting solar panels.
Condition: is your roof ready for panel installation?
As well as thinking about how old the roof is, you should also consider the condition of the roof.
Check for signs of damage and weakness. If you notice any worrying issues, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and consult a roofing expert about restoration.
Here are some signs that your roof needs repairing or replacing:
Leaks coming from the roof.
If a roof is leaking, there’s damage that needs attention. You can check for leaks by looking for stains or moisture on your walls. If you have an accessible attic, you can also examine the rafters and using a flashlight, see if any moisture has seeped in through the roof.
If it’s not raining, or it has not rained for a while, you can also check to see if there’s any light coming in through the roof. If there’s light, you know there’s a hole, or at least a section of the roof that’s been worn down immensely. And if there’s light, you can bet there’d be a leak in rainy season.
Mould, mildew and dirt build-up.
Dirt does not just look bad, it can also cause structural damage to your roof. So if there’s a lot of mould, mildew or plain old dirt loitering on your roof, it could be time for a roof restoration.
A higher energy bill.
A good roof shelters your home from outside temperatures. It keeps the heat and cold out, and prevents your heating/air conditioning from escaping into the outside world.
But if you have noticed that your energy bills are higher than usual, and you often have to crank up the temperature controls, this could be a sign that your roof needs restoring.
Missing or broken tiles or shingles.
If shingles are missing, cracked or completely broken, they can’t do their job properly. They won’t be doing their bit to protect your home. Missing or damaged tiles can cause leaks, structural weakness, and can shorten the longevity of your roof.
A damaged roof will struggle much more when it comes to supporting the weight of solar panels. Installing solar panels with damaged tiles can make the problem worse, so this is definitely something you want to sort before installing panels.
And remember, your roof also needs to be safe for the installers to work and walk on.
What is the best roof for solar panels?
One of the great things about solar panels is the fact that they can be installed on any type of roof, however, different roof types can affect the solar panel installation process and the solar panel efficiency.
Position and angle
The main factor to take into consideration when choosing the best roof section for solar panels is position. There’s an optimum angle for solar panels that allows them to capture and convert as much sunlight as possible. A 30-degree angle is perfect.
And the panel should not just be pointed in any direction. By facing north, your panels will benefit from long hours of sunlight, allowing them to produce more electricity.
If your home has a multi-section slanted roof, it might be that a section of your roof is positioned perfectly facing north. But if not, that does not mean your roof is not suited to solar panels. East or west facing panels can also be effective, as they’ll receive a lot of sunlight at different times of day.
As for flat roofs, brackets can be used to position panels at the best angle, facing north, west, or east.
While solar panels can be installed on all different types of roofs, they all come with different benefits.
Tile and composite roofs are particularly popular, and for a good reason. Composite roofs are cheaper to maintain, repair, and restore. So if a roof needs to be restored before installation, or during the lifetime of the solar panels, it can be a much more affordable project than it would be for other roof types. With composite roofs there is also more room for adaptability in terms of appearance.
As for tile roofs, solar panels can easily be installed using brackets, which place the panels in a slightly raised position on the roof. While tiles can break during installation, as long as you have spare roof tiles and a professional team carrying out the installation, it’s not a problem. Vivify Roofing has years of experience installing solar panels to tile roofs of all materials.
Will solar panel installation damage your roof?
If you’re installing solar panels onto an old or damaged roof, it’s much more likely that the installation process will cause further damage. This is simply because the roof tiles will be more brittle and might not cope so well with the panels.
This is the main reason you should consider a roof restoration before getting solar panels.
On a new roof, the worst that could happen, if you go with a professional roofing company, is a few cracked or broken tiles. But even this is not a huge problem. If you have a few extra tiles made (in the same colour) during the restoration process, then any damaged tiles can be easily and quickly replaced after the solar panel installation.
Vivify roofing is aware that this issue might occur and if they are notified that you will be getting solar panels installed right after restoring or having constructed your roof, they will purposely leave a few extra tiles with you so this can be easily fixed!
Roof Restoration After Solar Panels Are Installed
Roofs need looking after, and every now and then they need restoring. If you have solar panels, the chances are, they’ll outlive your roof.
Solar panels last at least 25 years, and can often last up to 40 years. And ideally you should have your roof repaired every 10-15 years or so. But if you have noticed your roof is looking particularly run down, or you have experienced a leak or higher energy bills, it might be time for a roof inspection and restoration.
As previously mentioned, a roof restoration with solar panels can be more complicated than a standard restoration. So, how should you go about roof repairs with solar panels?
The first thing to do is get a team of trusty Roof Restoration professionals in Melbourne on-board to see the process through from start to finish.
Removing solar panels to replace your roof
Whether your roof needs painting, restoring or replacing, solar panels will often need to be removed. This is a job that’s best left for the roofing professionals.
At Vivify Roofing, we’re used to removing solar panels to replace roofs, so we can remove and replace them quickly and safely, without causing damage to your roof.
Once your panels are down, your roof is an open canvas for repair work or replacement. And there’s no risk of your panels being damaged during the repair process. Once your roof is in top shape again, your solar system can be easily re-installed.
Cost of removing solar panels for re-roofing
Having solar panels does make roof restorations a little more expensive and lengthy. However, the process of removing and re-installing is not as costly or complicated as the initial installation.
The electrics will still be in place, and your permits will still be valid. So it’s literally just a case of getting them down and putting them back up safely.
This will only add between $700(AUD) and $2000(AUD) to the cost of the restoration, and you will be breathing at least 10 more years of life into your roof.
Roof repair without removing solar panels
If only a section of your roof needs to be repaired, and it’s not a section that’s covered by solar panels, you might not have to remove your panels.
In this case, the repair will go ahead just like a standard roof repair, and your solar system won’t be affected.
How to paint a roof with solar panels
If you need to repaint your roof for aesthetic reasons, or to re-seal and protect it from the elements, it is usually best to cover the whole roof.
Painting only part of the roof will make maintenance more complicated, leaving some parts to age and weather faster. Leaving panels on while your roof is painted also means that if you ever decide to take your solar system down, you’ll be left with unpainted patches. This is definitely a problem if you are painting your roof in a different colour.
So if you’re going to paint your roof, it’s best to remove solar panels, just like you would if restoring or replacing the roof. This way you’ll be able to evenly cover your entire roof.
However, if you’re planning on trying to paint or spray around solar panels, make sure you fully cover them to protect them from any possible over-spray or splashes. You can use builder’s black plastic to cover them. And shut the solar system down before painting as well.
Do Solar Panels Need to Be Restored Too?
If you’re restoring your roof, it’s natural to wonder whether your panels need the same treatment. But they’re made of strong silicon, and can withstand the elements for many years without needing too much TLC.
While they don’t need to be restored, one thing to look out for is whether they’re becoming dirty or if weeds are growing around them. You don not want dirt, mould or unruly shrubs to damage your solar panels, or interfere with their efficiency. Even if a panel is only slightly covered by a patch of dirt, it can stop the panel from reaching its full potential.
Just take a look at your panels every now and then, and if they look like they could do with a clean, there are several ways to go about it. Before attempting any cleaning methods, make sure your shut the solar system off.
You can use a garden hose or an extendable brush with a soft sponge attached. But don’t climb up on the roof to clean them. Try to use an extendable hose pipe or brush from the ground. It’s not worth the risk if you’re not trained in roof safety procedures.
A professional roof cleaning company can help you clean your solar panels if it’s not possible to do it from the ground, or if you just want to save yourself the hassle.
If you’re having a roof restoration, and your solar panels have been removed, this can be a good time to clean them safely. Just don’t use any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as these can damage the solar panels.
The verdict – roof restoration before or after solar panels?
If possible, you should get your roof restored before installing solar panels. Your panels will outlive your roof, but at least by restoring the roof before they’re installed you won’t have to take them down any time soon.
In fact, it will be at least 10-15 years before your roof needs more maintenance work done, so you’ll have over a decade where you won’t need to worry about it.
However, if you have already installed solar panels, and it looks like your roof needs some repair work, it can be done. But you should be prepared for the fact that it will cost a little more, and take a little longer. This is just because the solar system will need to be shut off and the panels removed before your roofing team can get started.
Whether you’re planning on restoring a roof before a solar system installation, or one that’s already had solar panels fitted, this is no DIY job.
Talk to a professional roofing company about your options, and to get a quote. With Vivify Roofing you’ll be in safe hands. We can answer any questions you might have about roof restorations and solar panels, and we’re all fully trained to work around solar systems. We’re happy to help, and are here to get you the best results at a fair price. Give us a call and speak to one of our Roof Restoration experts today on 1300 475 097. We are happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about Roof Restorations & Solar Panels.