Having worked alongside installers to deliver innovative mounting systems for over a decade, EcoFasten knows how vital it is for installers to keep their operations lean, their quality of work high and their business profitable.
We’ve therefore decided to create a simple guide detailing three key topics installers should consider when choosing your mounting systems and best practices for each one.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be breaking down these key areas in three blogs in an effort to provide valuable guidance for installers, helping you to keep it lean in 2019 and beyond…
Take A Close Look at the Roof
Although it may seem obvious, one of the first things that any solar contractor should do is make a holistic assessment of the condition and design constraints of the customer’s roof and the building itself. No reputable integrator wants to install a photovoltaic system on a roof that will need to be replaced within a few years or go through innumerable design changes because the roof itself was not properly assessed.
Here’s a checklist of things to look at and take care of during the inspection of the roof prior to starting the design of the PV array:
-Structural evaluation of the building envelope and the roof.
-Age of the roofing materials. Don’t install on a roof that will need to be replaced before the 20-25 year lifetime of a rooftop solar system ends.
-Type of roofing materials. This assessment is especially important, in order to determine the correct steps needed, if any, to maintain the integrity of the roof.
-Dirt build-up and pest damage. Many roofs offer an ideal home for bats, squirrels, rats, wasps and other pests. Gnawing and added moisture can degrade materials rapidly, causing structural or waterproofing failure.
-Condition of underlayment. This step is most essential, since this structure is the primary source of waterproofing for the roof. Curling and cracking of underlayment are not a good sign.
-Damage from past work. Remember, the last one on the roof is the one who gets blamed for damage, so repair any damage before installing the PV system.
-Roof drainage and snowload. Proper drainage extends the lifetime of a roof and greatly reduces the likelihood of any water or moisture damage to the array. In regions prone to sliding snow and ice, snow guards should be installed in areas where homeowners are at risk of snow and ice shedding.
-Roof traffic, access and safety. A PV system cannot interfere with roof maintenance, so any design needs to accommodate that factor. And if a roof or part of a roof looks unsafe, it probably is.
Another important factor to consider as part of your lean installation process is the need to pre-drill and backfill. If you skip this step, you run the risk of cracking or splitting rafters, which will cause leaking and will ultimately be your fault. If it’s done the right way to begin with, there will be no headaches later on.
In our next blog about best practices for solar mounting installation, we’ll offer some tips to ensure the integrity of the roof when working with different roof types and roofing materials. To read the entire white paper, you can download EcoFasten’s “Keeping it Lean in 2019” guide via the button below.