Best solution for holes left by re-installation of solar panels on shingled roof

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jeffnote

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Hi- Due to a poorly installed solar panel system on my roof (1950's suburban ranch; deck is ~1x4 pine slats- common for the period; recent architectural asphalt shingles within 15yrs; new york), the panels and tracks and electrical fittings must be removed in order for the shingles and membrane to be removed and replaced. (The roof started leaking a few months after installation- now there are 5 leaks). There are already numerous 'patched' penetrations made by the original solar panel installers from 1) when they made an error and mounted the panel tracks in the wrong place: 3/8" lag bolts were screwed into rafters.. several missed their target, and 2) when they cut 2" holes for electrical cable/ fittings. I'm trying to get the installation company to cover the cost of the reroofing job and am wondering if the entire roof area is going to need to be re-sheathed, or what the best way is to patch the holes made for electrical openings and the lag bolt penetrations. Thanks in advance. Jeff
 
If they remove the damaged shingles, they can install new ones, there are fittings that are made to fit around the 2" cable. Split boots come size specific just for that purpose and are available at roofing supply houses.
 
Hi- Due to a poorly installed solar panel system on my roof (1950's suburban ranch; deck is ~1x4 pine slats- common for the period; recent architectural asphalt shingles within 15yrs; new york), the panels and tracks and electrical fittings must be removed in order for the shingles and membrane to be removed and replaced. (The roof started leaking a few months after installation- now there are 5 leaks). There are already numerous 'patched' penetrations made by the original solar panel installers from 1) when they made an error and mounted the panel tracks in the wrong place: 3/8" lag bolts were screwed into rafters.. several missed their target, and 2) when they cut 2" holes for electrical cable/ fittings. I'm trying to get the residential solar installation in sc company to cover the cost of the reroofing job and am wondering if the entire roof area is going to need to be re-sheathed, or what the best way is to patch the holes made for electrical openings and the lag bolt penetrations. Thanks in advance. Jeff
Hey, I'm exploring the idea of installing solar panels on my home roof, but I could use some guidance. Are there any homeowners here who have already gone solar? What was your experience like? Any recommendations on reputable installation companies or things to consider before making the leap? I'm particularly interested in understanding the cost-effectiveness, maintenance requirements, and environmental benefits. Your insights would be incredibly valuable as I weigh the decision to transition to residential solar power. Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and experiences!
 
After a few years, your roof may need to be replaced despite the fact you have solar. Roofing companies will require that your solar energy system is removed before doing any work on your roof.
 
That sounds like a real headache. Given the amount of damage and the fact that the original installation was botched, it might be best to re-sheath the entire roof. This way, you can ensure a solid, leak-free base for the new shingles and avoid future issues. Patching holes can work temporarily, but with so many penetrations, it's a risk.
 
I would imagine that the installation company or contractor who assigned them will repair the damage; using their liability insurance if necessary. They certainly don't bad word-of-mouth advertising from a customer (who can also open a web site to spread the word far & wide).

If the installation company won't fix the roof, will your homeowner's insurance cover it? (Assuming your deductible is reasonable.)

For a few holes in my roof from nose dive tree branches (thanks to Detroit Edison's tree crew), I screwed cleats to rafters holding 3/4 plywood against the sheathing where the holes were. On the roof, I shoved new shingles under the damaged ones. Then I filled the holes in the original shingles with roofing cement. It is by no means the "correct" way, nor is it pretty but snow and rain don't enter.

Paul
 
Hi- Due to a poorly installed solar panel system on my roof (1950's suburban ranch; deck is ~1x4 pine slats- common for the period; recent architectural asphalt shingles within 15yrs; new york), the panels and tracks and electrical fittings must be removed in order for the shingles and membrane to be removed and replaced. (The roof started leaking a few months after installation- now there are 5 leaks). There are already numerous 'patched' penetrations made by the original solar panel installers from 1) when they made an error and mounted the panel tracks in the wrong place: 3/8" lag bolts were screwed into rafters.. several missed their target, and 2) when they cut 2" holes for electrical cable/ fittings. I'm trying to get the installation company to cover the cost of the reroofing job and am wondering if the entire roof area is going to need to be re-sheathed, or what the best way is to patch the holes made for electrical openings and the lag bolt penetrations. Thanks in advance. Jeff

Here are some suggestions:

(1) Remove / reinstall the solar panel system:
Without photos it is impossible to determine if this major step would be required, but typically damaged shingles can be replaced easily - and holes can be filled (e.g. from lag bolts in the wrong location). If you have an underlying membrane, e.g. EPDM for a flat roof or something like Grace Ice & Water Shield, this can also be patched with sealant, before new shingles are installed over the patch.

(2) Seals for lag bolts: Based on your description, it sounds like this job was the work of an inexperienced crew. So lag bolts that fasten the racks to your roof rafters may not have been sealed correctly either. Rather than remove/replace the solar array, the lab bolts should be removed and the frame and panels should be jacked up so that you/they can examine every penetration, a generous amount of sealant can be applied to every lag bolt penetration - and shingles can be assessed for damage / replacement.

(3) 'Split boot' fittings are designed to retrofit roof penetrations, e.g. for the power cables from your solar panels. A non-split boot should have been installed by the solar panel company for every cable penetration. A split-boot is designed for retrofits, to seal the opening for an existing cable - like yours. For an example of a split-boot see these examples - and make sure the company reads and follows the installation instructions exactly:

https://protechonline.net/retrofit-square-base-flashing and https://d7supply.com/roofing/pipe-boots-collars/0-5-3-8-epdm-zipseal-split-boot

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Finally, the solar panel company is definitely on the hook for these repairs. If you encounter resistance, let them know that they will also be liable for costly interior repairs due to the leaks! Better for them to fix the leaks now, before costs rise!

I hope this is helpful.
 

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