When you are designing a house it is very crucial to take into account that what are the possible future additions to the house. By doing so, you can save enough room for the alterations.
If you haven’t done that then you have to pay extra cost to alter the already existing structure, the work can be more labor-intensive, can damage the existing structure if you are not careful enough, damage to the environment can be high, you may have to give up the idea or may have to go for more expensive options and also there can be safety issues.
Disadvantages of altering your roof later to install a solar system
- Extra cost
There are many roofing materials in the market. Some of them are not suitable if you are going to install solar panels due to many reasons like less lifetime, less weight capacity and fire hazards, etc. you may have to replace the roofing material if you have not chosen suitable roofing material.
If you have to replace the roofing materials, then you have to spend extra money on the materials and for the workers.
Having a good amount of sunlight is very important for good production. If you have any structures on the roof that obstruct the solar array paths, then installers have to work around that. This costs more than installing panels on clear spaces.
- More labor-intensive
Some roofing materials like clay tiles, concrete tile require special supporters and the mounting structure has to be fixed directly to the roof. This process is more labor-intensive and not straightforward like fixing the panels by drilling holes on the roof.
You have to remove and replace the tiles at the locations where you going to fix the panels. Otherwise, there is no way to access the roof. This process is more labor-intensive.
- Can damage the existing structure
This mostly happens when you try to replace or remove part of the roof like replacing roofing materials and removing existing structures. It is better if you can hire qualified professionals to do any work on the roof.
The reason is, damages can happen to roof supporting structures, walls, and attic if the workers are not competent or careful enough. Also, if the workers do not finish the work properly then there can be leakages or cracks.
These small leakages and cracks can cause huge problems if they are not found for a long time.
- Damage to the environment can be higher
If you have designed your roof to install solar panels before building it you can plan the roof with less shading. So you only need to cut fewer trees to increase the exposure of the roof to the sunlight.
But if you haven’t built your roof like that, then you have to cut more trees to expose the roof to more sunlight. This increases the damage to the environment.
- May have to give up the idea or may have to go for more expensive options.
As you see there are many factors to be considered when installing solar panels on the roof. You can fix the problems with roofing materials or problems with shading but if you have a problem with roof direction it is harder to fix.
Altering the whole foundation is not a practical solution. So in such a situation, you may have to give up the idea. You can go for solutions like ground solar systems, but they are expensive and need extra land.
- Safety issues
As we mentioned earlier when altering the roof, can results in cracks and leakages. If they are not detected for a long time it can ruin the whole roof. If the roof is not fixed, it can collapse and harm the residents.
Why you may have to alter the roof when installing solar?
Installing solar is a very good investment for later. But the initial cost is high. You cannot expect good results just by installing it. You have to make sure all the factors are in favor of increasing your panels’ outputs.
As the foundation, structure, and positioning of the roof are very important to get good output from your solar system. If your roof structure and positioning are not optimum then you have to alter it.
What are the things you should consider when designing your roof to avoid later alterations?
Roof space is very important if you planning to install solar panels. Having clear space will help you to decrease the installation fee. So if you plan to go solar in the future make sure that your roof has enough space. Usually, an average of 2000sqft needs 22 solar panels to be installed to have adequate power. This needs approximately 400sqft roof space.
Roof shading also should be considered. Knowing how the roof exposes sunlight throughout the year is very important because the roof does not expose to the sunlight all the time. The reason is the sun is at different levels throughout the year. Also, it can be shaded from surrounding trees or structures.
Roof pitch is simply the ratio between numbers of inches the roof rises vertically to the inches roof extends horizontally. The number of inches the roof extends horizontally is named run. In the USA this run is 12 inches. Perfect pitch is considered between 7/12 (300) – 12/12 (450).
Roof direction depends on your geographical location. If you are living in the northern hemisphere you can increase the amount of sunlight your solar panels getting by facing them in the south. If your roof direction allows you to fix your panels facing the south you are good to go.
If you are living in the southern hemisphere you can increase the amount of sunlight your solar panels getting by facing them in the north. If your roof direction allows you to fix your panels facing the north you are good to go.
Roof weight capacity indicates the maximum load your roof can hold. Roof weight capacity limits the number of solar panels you can place on the roof. If you exceed the value then the roof can collapse. Usually, if your roof is made from asphalt shingles then your roof has a weight capacity of around 20 labs per sqft. If your roof is made from more sturdy material like concrete it goes up to 27 labs per sqft.
Roofing material decides the strength of your roof and how straightforward the installation process can be. Asphalt shingle is recommended as a good roofing material if you are going solar because of its strength and because the installation process is pretty straightforward. You can fix the panels directly by drilling holes on the roof. Then the tiled roofs (concrete/ clay) are also a good option but the installation process is tiring and cost you more as you need to remove and replace the tile. Metal is also a good option. Slate and cedar roofs are not recommended as they cannot withstand extra load on them. Wood is also not recommended due to the fast aging process and the risk of fire hazards.