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Should You Install Solar Panels on an Old Roof?

Congratulations if you are one of the many Bay Area homeowners who are adopting solar power. One big element of installing solar power is assessing the condition of the roof that will have to support it! Roofs don’t last forever. So, if you install new solar panels on an aging roof, you may have to replace or repair a roof with a set of solar panels already on it. Call an experienced Bay Area roofing contractor and solar system installer who will properly prepare your roof before installing your new solar panels.

Put Solar Panels on a Structurally Sound Roof


You can certainly put solar panels on older roofs if the roof is in good condition and the roofing materials have a long life remaining. But, a roof approaching the end of its useful life means that the roof may finally leak. This may require the solar panels to be removed to repair the roof.

The most common types of roof damage we look for are loose or broken tiles, worn roofing materials, water damage, cracks, punctures, and structural damage. Skylights, in particular, need close inspection. If damage exists in the understructure of the roof, the added solar panel weight could further damage the structural integrity of the home. A professional Hayward roofing company will expertly deal with these roof conditions.

Assess Remaining Roof Life Before Adding Solar Panels

An experienced East Bay solar system installer will know how to assess a roof’s condition and its potential life before installing solar panels. Solar panels typically come with a 20 or 25-year warranty, plus the panels will still produce 80% of the power rating after 25 years of their use. Compare the expected lives of these roofing materials:

  1. Asphalt shingles are the most common and least expensive roofing materials, lasting 15 to 30 years, but they can have shorter lifespans in the heat of the California sun.
  2. Metal roofing is expensive but can last 25 to 50 years or more.
  3. Wood shakes and shingles can last for about 30 years but require a lot of upkeep including yearly cleaning and repainting or re-staining every 5 years.
  4. Clay tile roofing is highly popular in California due to its significant life expectancy (typically 50 to 100 years,) with its resistance to weather conditions, rot, and fire resistance.

For California homes, then, properly installed and maintained roofs can easily support a new solar panel system.

Choose a Certified Roofing and Solar Contractor

Contact Century Roof and Solar, based in Hayward, CA for your roofing and solar energy solutions. As a certified roofer as well as solar panel system installer, we understand better than most companies how the roof needs to support the solar system. We also have a lot of experience installing battery backup systems for solar installations.

Since 1996, Century Roof and Solar has served the Bay Area as the premier roofing and solar panel systems provider, earning the title Your Trusted Name in Roofing℠.  Contact us about your solar energy plans!