Can solar panels damage your roof?

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Slate roofs, concrete roofs, conventional roofs with metal sheeting or terra cotta tiles, and roofs with asbestos sheeting or tiles can all have solar panels installed.

As long as it is done correctly by a qualified solar installation business with experience in the field, the installation process shouldn't harm the roof. However, there is a chance that the tiles or sheeting could be harmed if the installation is not done correctly or if the installer is not cautious when walking on the roof.

To reduce the potential of damage to your roof and guarantee the panels are correctly installed, selecting a reputable and professional solar installation firm is crucial.

Can a solar system mounting system cause damage to my roof?

If this is your first time getting panels on your roof, you might wonder about the installation process. In addition, you may fear that someone drilling, cutting, and screwing things onto your roof can lead to roof damage.

However, if your panels are installed correctly, the fastening of the racking should not pose any risk of damage to your roof.

So what are the risks?

Your roof will not be damaged if the installation is undertaken correctly.

To ensure this is the case, pick a professional solar installation company that has been in the industry for at least five years and maybe even better – a decade or more.

There should be no holes or damage to tiles on your roof, as a proper installation will assess the situation and provide the solution with no chance of injury. During the pre-installation inspection, verified and professional installers will look at and review your roofing condition and assess the structural integrity of your roof.

If there are cracks in tiles or holes in metal sheeting or valleys, they will advise you of the details so you can fix them before the solar installation or ask you to hold off until a more detailed assessment can occur. But roof issues are rare, and in 95% of inspection cases, the existing roof is in good enough condition to install solar. 

Having some spare tiles is a good idea

Sometimes if you have terracotta or cement tiles, it is a good idea to have a few spare tiles available and pass them to the solar installer. The reason is that an existing tile could crack under the installer’s weight, or if they can see a cracked tile, it can be replaced easily as part of the solar installation.

A fun fact to know is that solar panels can protect roofs. If panels are installed tightly across the whole roof or part of one side of the roof, the panels will absorb the sunlight that would usually go onto your roof and heat the house during sunny days. Solar panels installed en mass on a roof have been shown to reduce a home’s temperature inside the roof by up to 35%.

solar roof railing
You need not worry about damage to your roof as long as your racking is installed correctly

Does the solar installation involve putting holes in my roof?

If you are still concerned that even if you get an accredited, experienced installer, your roof will be damaged, ask the installer to take some photos of your roof during installation so you can appreciate how the metal L feet or tile brackets are installed. After seeing and understanding the racking technology, you will feel reassured that no damage is generated on your roof and that the engineering solutions are solid and reliable.

When is the highest likelihood that my roof will get damaged? 

Roof damage does not often occur, especially if you are liaising with trusted local solar installers, who ensure your solar installation is done to the best quality. However, issues start to arise when you hire “Roof Monkeys”.

“Roof Monkeys” is a term used in the industry to describe unskilled installers who trample over your roof to install the system most quickly. This goes back to the classic saying, “You get what you pay for”.

So if you go for a bargain basement-type solar panel system, the risk of damage to your roof increases. As such a slim margin, operators need to install it quickly, and many corners are cut, one of them is to act carefully and consider when it comes to your roof.

Cheap solar increases the risk to your roof

Should such an operator break a tile, a silicon tube usually creates a temporary fix under a solar panel. So you will never know of the damage till a few years later, as part of a big storm, the old silicon fails, and you are getting mould on your ceiling.

It will then be tough to trace the original installation company and prove their poor workmanship is now responsible for an expensive ceiling repair and repaint.

If access to your roof is easy and safe, you should take images of your roof before the installation. Then if there is a dispute, you will have evidence against them in case anything needs to be addressed in court. On the other hand, if your roof is dangerous, consider a professional roof access person to take such photos – should you be concerned.

As your roof is the waterproof membrane of your home and your home is most likely your most valuable asset, it is important to ensure that you pick an ethical and experienced solar company. So please do not buy cheap solar. The long-term savings will just not be realised when roof issues arise.

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