Best roof for solar panels

ylmzmAugust 29, 2013

We recently bought a house. The roof is in bad condition and we will have it replaced soon. We also plan to install solar panels in a few years.

What is the best roof material for solar panel installation? We decided to install Certainteed Lanmark Permium shingles. Does the roof color matter? And how about solar panel supports (for mounting brackets) that should be installed on the roof? Is it a better idea to install those supports now ?

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I look forward to the responses. It may be that a standing seam metal roof where the PV panels can be clamped into place without any fastener penetrations into your roof might be a candidate for "best".

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Depending on the point of view.

Since most roofs are asphalt shingled, solar installers would be very familiar with the installation. Some prefer to work with asphalt shingled roofs.

Metal shingle roofs require more care, but will last much longer than asphalt shingles and reduce the solar heat gain in the attic.

Clay tile roofs could be really problematic for some solar installers.

In any case, the mounts have to be treated as plumbing vents and flashed accordingly.

For metal shingle roofs, there are no direct penetration mounts which can be used. The fasteners are not exposed at all.

Standing seam roofs with non penetrating mounts are also a very good option.

If you're concerned about the solar heat gain, use a cooler color or more IR reflective roof material.

Solar electric generation also declines with increased temperature.

You could have the mounts installed first. In some counties, new homes have to be constructed PV ready - mounts are required.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 10:50PM
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When installing new solar roof panels on an existing home or building, consider replacing any roof older than 10 years - especially if it's an asphalt shingle roof. Pick a roof to which solar panels can be mounted without leak-prone holes in the roof material. Metal roofs are the lightest, longest-lasting roof materials, and can accept solar panels without having holes punched through their protection. Installing a good quality metal roof before your new solar power system is mounted will mean never having to replace the roof.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 7:22AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Think about durability of the roof. You want your roof to last longer than your solar panels, as you don't want to have to remove the panels, then change the roof and reinstall the panels...that's a lot of work. We have a 50 yr asphalt shingle roof under ours.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:37PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

I would always go metal in these applications.

Its permanent and the metal roof will keep the surface temperatures lower as compared to asphalt over the length of the day.

The thin film solar applications for standing seam don't have near the efficiency of the panel systems.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 8:14AM
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Just a note...

We had a skylight installed in a cathedral ceiling in our master bedroom,
(open beam with no attic space)

This was right over our bed and turned out to be a poor idea.

In addition to the bright full moons the rain was very noisey.
We had it removed.

Wonder how loud rain might be on a metal roof?

This post was edited by bukzin on Wed, May 21, 14 at 9:49

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 11:10PM
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Not a problem.

Most metal roofing solutions are stone coated which helps deaden the sound.
The tiles are laid on top of a fairly solid and thick plywood or osb subroof with the requisite waterproofing membrane in between. Depending on the manufacturer's instructions, the tiles could be installed with or without battens.
In addition, there will usually be an insulated attic space.

For standing seam roofs, the metal will be backed by plywood or osb with a waterproofing under layment between which deadens the sound.

On the other hand, if the roof is corrugated sheet metal with minimal support and no insulating barrier separating the usual living space,yes, it will be noisy.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:37PM
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>> Wonder how loud rain might be on a metal roof?

Wonderfully loud, and actually soothing. Yes, I have lived in a corrugated metal roof house with terrible insulation where the terne was laid on lath, vaguely like barrel tile.

Actually, since there are so many things that can come between a metal skin and your bedroom ceiling, one can't really answer that question in any meaningful way without a lot of details, but in a nutshell, davidtay's answer is gold..

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 2:37AM
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