Solar Panel Installation: Ensuring Your Roof's Safety and Integrity

Team Solarblocks Energy
August 4, 2023
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Solar Panel Installation: Ensuring Your Roof's Safety and Integrity

“Sky is the limit if you have a roof over your head.” This well-known quote highlights the significance of sturdy roofs in a house. They protect our families and belongings against heat, snow, rain, and wind. This is why it is expensive to maintain and replace a roof over time.

As you consider a home solar panel installation to reduce your electricity bill, it’s natural to wonder if the roof is safe for such a heavy load project. After investing in a property and dealing with the mortgage, the prospect of adding a solar system to your roof might make you think if it is a risk worth taking. This is why it is important to ask these questions to the installers before purchasing solar panels.

  •  Will the installation process need any drilling on the roof, which can later cause potential leakage problems? 
  •  Can your roof structure support the weight of the solar panels?
  • Will solar panel installation increase the wind load on the structure?
  •  Could the installation process increase the snow load due to greater accumulation? 
  •  Will solar panel installation come with a roof warranty?
  •  Is your roof optimally positioned to generate adequate electricity?
  • Will installing solar panels on the roof look aesthetically pleasing?

You can download the Excel sheet here to collect all the answers from your installer. The Solarblocks engineers will further demonstrate how to ensure roof safety during residential solar panel installation so there are no damages or leaks!

1. Planning before installing solar panels on the rooftop:

Solar panel installation needs careful planning and consideration. While most modern roofing materials can safely support this equipment, implementing the right installation techniques is necessary to avoid mishaps. You can take these few factors into thought : 

• Roofing material compatibility with racking systems

Identify the type of roof your property has. The most common residential roofing materials are shingles, metal, tiles, wood roofing, and concrete flat or low-slope roofs. While they last for upto 50 years or more, wooden roofs typically last only for 30 years.

• Roof orientation and slope

For abundant sun exposure, the roof should face southwards with a tilt between 400 to 450 (New York State latitude is 430). However, the roof’s orientation is not in your control if you do not build the house yourself. This is where professional installers can suggest the right ways to mount solar panels on roofs to produce maximum electricity.

• Weight and configuration of the roof structure

The architect or builder of the house can provide you with details about how much weight the roof can support. This is vital information to give to the solar installer before installing the panels.

• Roof age

Both the roof structure and materials have a lifespan. Hence, it is always better to consult the experts to determine the remaining life of your roof. Solar systems typically last 25 to 30 years, so the roof should have enough remaining life to support the solar panel installation.

What Are The Potential Risks of Installing Solar Panels on Roofs And How Can They Be Mitigated?

If the solar panel installation is not done with proper engineering knowledge and experience, things can go wrong. The potential risks, as mentioned earlier, are leakage, wind loading, snow loading, and unsightly appearance. Let’s explore the causes behind it and how to mitigate them.

Leakage :

One of the biggest risks of mounting solar panels on the roof is the possibility of a future water leak. To secure the rooftop solar panels, you need to drill the rafters into the roof structure. If these holes are sealed properly, then there is a higher probability of leakage. Solarblocks use a proprietary racking system to install solar panels that are fully waterproof and certified by the International Code Council (ICC-ESR 3575). Stamped PE letters can be provided in the US and Canada.

Solarblocks also offers a rail-less mounting system for solar installation, which is one of the key advantages of working with them. The images below illustrate the differences between rails and rail-less mounting systems. In the former, water accumulation is significantly reduced compared to the latter.

It is always advisable to hire qualified and experienced solar installers to assess your roof condition and mount solar panels on the roof. They will evaluate the roof structure, the roof age, and any compatibility issues between the roofing material and solar panels. Some materials such as wood shingles, clay, slate, and terracotta tiles may not be suitable for solar installation as they are more prone to leakage. Also, if your roof is 30 years old, it will likely have weak spots. 

Wind Loading :

Wind loading is another huge risk associated with installing solar panels on the roof. It depends on the site location and the building height. The image below shows the wind zones of the United States at 30 meters. The wind zone map illustrates the frequency and the varying strength of extreme windstorms across the country. Zone I (white) represents 130 mph, while Zone IV (red) indicates the highest (250 mph).

The mounting system used by Solarblocks is engineered to withstand wind pressures upto 180 miles per hour. New York State falls within Zone II which corresponds to 160 mph wind movement. Rail-less solar mounting also reduces the point load by 43% which reduces the structural stress significantly. 

The above figure, (a) shows the railed mounting system with 6 holes drilled into the rafters, while (b) shows a rail-less system with 10 holes. The increased number of holes in the rail-less system reduces the point load considerably on each rafter (40% approximately), which in turn lowers the wind load.

Snow Loading :

Similar to the water accumulation case explained above, a rail-less mounting system comes with a lower likelihood of snow accumulation, especially in the case of RT-APEX used by Solarblocks. It is important to note that snow produces a heavy load on the roof structures. The RT-APEX mounting system can handle it by upto 90 pounds per square foot (PSF).

Aesthetics :

Homeowners often complain that solar panel installation on the roof looks cluttered and does not go well with the overall house aesthetics. But this does not happen with the rail-less systems. In this mounting process, the solar panels sit closer to the roof surface. Secondly, with the skirts and end-capes options, RT-APEX delivers a clean and visually appealing design.


To keep the roof sturdy and safe, it is vital to address a few factors before installing solar panels. The focus is to keep it safe from leakage, wind, and snow load damage as well as preserving its warranty. You should invest time and effort during the planning stage by consulting technically proficient companies like Solarblocks for installing solar panels on roofs. 

We help homeowners identify risks and find the best solutions to prevent costly roofing repairs in the future. 

With Solarblocks, you are in safe hands! Our certified, experienced engineers will assist you in selecting the best systems for mounting solar panels on roof, provide installation and maintenance services, as well as excellent customer service. Contact us at or 347 226 0695 for more information.

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