What’s the Best Roofing for your Solar Panels

contractor installing solar panels on residential roof

Solar panels are a great conduit for renewable natural energy. This increased desire for low-maintenance solar paneling is a new way to semi self-reliant with energy by decreasing electricity bills. Even better, the best way to maximize this is by placing solar panels on a tilted surface. And what better way? Panels can even be applied to the roofs of smaller constructions like garages and sheds.

Before jumping into the most suitable roofs, it’s important to mention that your roof has to be large enough. For some materials, your roofing and attic will need to be inspected to make sure it’s not too old and is in good enough condition to handle solar installation. This will cut costs for you down the line. Other considerations include:


  • Lack of shade from nearby foliage
  • Roof orientation
  • Proper slanting
  • No damage to other roof components


Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is built to last for seven decades and can be constructed as recycled metal, comes in many colors, and can be coated to protect against rust. Solar panels last for half of that time, but whenever it’s time to switch out, it will be an easier and more economical process every time. This is particularly interesting for those who are planning on having a forever home, as well.

Three types of metal roofing are important to note: seam, corrugated, and trapezoidal roofing. These types refer to the detail, or indentation pattern, in how the roof is built.

A metal roof with seams is best when it’s time to mount the panels, as it will be able to clamp onto the seams. That eliminates the need to penetrate the material of the roof. With corrugated metal roofing, the mounting system is a little different. The crest of the corrugation can be fitted with brackets and is also free of any drilling.

Metallic trapezoidal roofing is a unique situation that needs special kinds of brackets to be drilled in, unlike seamed metal. This means the possibility of roof leakages is more likely, but if there’s trust between you and the licensed builder, then you can trust that they will seal it properly.


Asphalt Shingles 

Of course, this is all prep work if you’re constructing a new, more efficient home. And if a metallic roof sounds too industrial, there is a more common material that’s great for solar panels that you might already have.

Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roof in America. It can be made of cellulose and glass fibers but is especially great for being an inexpensive way to waterproof a roof. Other types are rubber, plastic, and wooden shingles.

Installation does require drilling but can be sealed with metal flashing or sealant. This process should be on the inexpensive side, initially. But unlike metal roofing, asphalt shingles do not last long: a meager 18 years, at best. This can be costly over time. Asphalt is more durable than other types of roof shingles, which could become damaged during installation.


Tile Roofing

If you have a tile roof, you likely live in a sunny region, which is perfect. Tile is tricky, though, because what to do with it for solar energy can be tricky. Should you drill into the tile or roof for solar panels? Again, this is maybe one of the biggest worries when it comes to any kind of roof work.

Mounting solar panels will need to be anchored but not in the same way as a flat top roof. Most homeowners have a peaked roof, and if it’s tile, will last for 50-75 years. Long-standing materials are another way to reduce waste. But when dealing with installation, drilling holes into the tile can crack it over time, especially if it’s antiquated.

Be sure to discuss the best approach with your installer, who can remove the tiles and drill into the roof itself to attach the mounting brackets.


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