In Surrey and the south east, we’re seeing an increasing number of homeowners fit solar panels to the roof of their house. Despite the reduced subsidies, solar energy is still worthy of consideration, providing you get the positioning right.
Solar panels are affixed to a roof in a variety of ways. If you have tiles, the panels will usually be affixed to the rafters underneath. Even though some of your tiles are covered, you still need to keep on eye on them in case they start to exhibit problems. As with any DIY job, the longer it’s left, the worse it will be.
Tiles and Installation
Solar panels are usually fixed using tile mounts, and screwed directly into the roof. Problems are rare, but if in doubt, we recommend screw fitted panels rather than panels that are nailed in. Make sure your installer is well known and get some referrals before your job is booked in.
Once panels are fitted, it can be incredibly difficult to get access to the tiles underneath, and even more difficult to re-fit panels that have had to be removed for maintenance.
Worse, we sometimes find that panels are fitted over tiles that are already damaged, which is clearly bad practice, and a sure recipe for disaster. Your panel installers should be able and willing to inspect and replace tiles while they work.
In some cases, solar panels can increase the lifespan of a roof, because they absorb harmful UV rays that would otherwise penetrate the tiles. Anecdotally, some of our customers also claim that the home is better insulated, as the solar panel adds an extra layer of protection.
Solar panels can unfortunately hide rot, and in damp weather, the moisture has nowhere to go, accelerating the date of decay. This can affect the timber in your roof, your roofline, and even the felt. We advise that you don’t attempt repairs by yourself, due to the unsafe nature of the job.
It’s important to mention that this kind of damage is not necessarily caused by solar panels, but they can hide a problem until it reaches crisis point. Additionally, poor installation can make small existing flaws much more risky.
Getting Expert Help
If your roof fails, your insurers may decide that it’s a result of wear and tear. If that happens, your insurance won’t cover the consequences – and they can be very expensive.
When shopping for quotes, remember to mention that you have solar panels on your roof, because you may need to get an electrician to remove them, depending on the nature of the damage.
If you see loose cables, cracked tiles, scruffy pointing or badly placed anchors, it’s time to get your roof inspected. Yes – removing panels will be a pain, but it’s far less intrusive than having to have a new roof fitted.
South Thames Roofing is an experienced company offering roofing installation and repair across Surrey. Get in touch now if you’re thinking about having solar panels fitted, or contact us if you require a roof repair.