Is Your Roof Equipped for Solar Panels in San Diego?

Solar panels can be installed on most properties in the county, from Pomona to Imperial Beach, but the state of your roof will have a big impact on the ease of the job. The shape, size, and even the direction your rooftop faces will inform the advice you get from your solar provider and the bid you receive. A lot of Southern California roofs have signature clay tiles in keeping with a Spanish aesthetic, but your San Diego home may have asphalt, slate or other materials on top.

Before you start shopping for solar panels, get a consultation from a San Diego roofing company. A professional team will be able to point out any potential obstacles to solar on your roof and construct a creative workaround. At the end of the day, with some planning and perseverance nearly any San Diego roof can turn our 266 annual days of sunshine into a renewable energy source.

Deal with Obstacles on Your Roof

The first and most obvious thing to check on your roof is the presence of clear obstacles to a panel installation. Do you have a chimney, skylights, vents, or a television satellite that could get in the way? Some things, like a chimney, can’t be moved to accommodate solar panels. Other issues, such as a tall neighboring shade tree, can be altered to make room for your new solar system.

If you have limited roof space due to skylights and other obstacles you may want to go with more efficient solar panels, which tend to be smaller. In any case, it’s vital to have an inspection of your roof to identify any obstacles so that you and your solar provider can create a game plan and order the appropriate materials from the start. Eliminating as much shade as possible is important to yielding full power from your panels.

Talk About Roof Shape with Your Provider

Most homeowners don’t take the time to learn it, but your roof shape has a name. There are three main types of roofs: hip, gable, and flat. Some roof types are more conducive to using solar panels than others, but a good solar provider will take your roof shape and make it work. Each type has its own pros and cons:

Hip Roof: A hip roof is a style in which the roof slopes on all four sides and create a tall peak at the top. The slopes work in favor of solar panels, because they provide the necessary tilt, but the surfaces can be on the small side depending on the design of your home. These roofs can also have an unusual shape with some unusable surface area.

Gable Roof: A gable roof is sometimes called a peak or pitch roof, and it has two sloping sides that meet in the middle to create a triangle shape. Solar panels typically have plenty of surface area to work with on a gable roof. These roofs also shed water easily, so your panels will never experience pooling water underneath.

Flat Roof: Flat roofs are common on some home types in San Diego — primarily condo complexes. While solar panels don’t work best when installed flat, your provider can use tilts to position solar panels at an advantageous angle on a flat roof. You shouldn’t rule out solar if you are working with a flat surface area.

Use a Solar-Friendly Material for Your San Diego Roofing

Some roofing materials are better for solar panels than others. Fortunately, the most commonly used roofing materials in San Diego are ideal for solar panel installations. The only shingles and tiles to avoid are brittle materials like wood and slate, which can easily break while affixing solar panels. Your solar provider will advise you about whether or not your roof is currently covered in a surface that is compatible with solar panels.

Spanish Clay: Spanish clay tiles are great for solar panels. They’re also everywhere you look in San Diego County. Standard mounts can penetrate this type of tile, so they’re a good choice for a home that goes solar. Many installers can even create a special mount built into clay to make adding solar panels even easier.

Asphalt: A roof with asphalt (often a flat roof) can also work with solar panels. A standard panel mount will easily attach to an asphalt rooftop. Asphalt/composite shingles are also quite popular on slanted rooftops, and you shouldn’t have an issue adding panels to these shingles.

Metal with Standing Seam: Metal roofs with a standing seam are very friendly to solar installation. In many cases the panels can be clamped to the seams so providers don’t have to attach the panels to the metal roof itself.

Fix Bad Tiles and Other Roof Problems

If your roof is old, it may not be ready for solar panels just yet. Imagine investing thousands of dollars in a solar setup, only to have your roof reach the end of its life within two years: You would have to remove the solar panels to fix or replace your roof and then install them all over again. It’s better to ensure that your roof and solar panels have a similar life cycle whenever possible. A good rule of thumb is that any roof more than 10 years old could need repairs or replacement prior to going solar.

The good news is that Spanish tiles could last on your San Diego roof for up to 50 years, and new solar panels could last for about 40 years. If you get a roof replacement and solar installation now, you’re probably set for your entire ownership of the property. Aside from broken tiles and leaks, you should also address any punctures and penetrations, issues with ponding water, and cracked flashing.

Orient Solar Panels For Maximum Sun Exposure

The best direction for solar panels to face is true south. If that’s not possible, southeast and southwest orientations can still yield excellent and reliable solar power. You can also position your solar panels facing east or west, but you may not be able to enjoy the full potential of your renewable energy.

While you can’t rotate your home, there may be some things you can do to prepare your roof for solar panels so they face the best possible direction. As mentioned previously, installers can install a stand that tilts the panels. This may help a panel on an eastern roof point closer to the southeast. You could also to remove obstacles on a south facing part of your roof to make room for the panels.

Make Sure You Have Enough Space for Solar Panels

It would be a shame to get your heart set on a brand new set of solar panels only to discover that you just don’t have the square footage on your roof. As a general rule, for every Kw of solar generated for your home, you need 100 square feet of roof space. Most homes can thrive with a 5Kw system.

If an original assessment determines you don’t have enough space for solar panels, you have a few options. You can get a smaller system and rely partially on regular grid power, consider covering a skylight or addressing other obstacles, or look into installing ground-mounted solar panels. Installing solar panels in your yard isn’t as common as using roof-mounted setups, but if you have the property to spare it could solve a lot of issues. Ground panels can not only compensate for a lack of adequate roofing, they also help if you have too much shade on your roof that can’t be changed (such as from a tall building next door).  

Ready to update your San Diego roofing with some shiny solar panels? You’re not alone! Becoming energy independent is more and more popular in the Golden State. In fact, most new-build homes will be powered by solar beginning in 2020. Get ahead of the trend by installing solar now (and taking advantage of one of the last years for the Solar Investment Tax Credit).

Contact Semper Solaris today to learn more about getting solar panels in San Diego. You can receive a no-pressure bid, and our experienced team will talk to you about the state of your roof along with the potential of solar. We are also ready to help you with a roof replacement if you need it!

 

Just because San Diego is blessed with so many days of sunlight doesn’t mean your roof will last forever. Despite what you may have seen on TV, a hurricane or snowstorm isn’t the only thing that can do damage to the top of your house. It’s true that our San Diego homes don’t have to withstand the weight of ice in the winter or the threat of tornadoes — but the sun and Santa Ana winds still wear down your roof over time. Repairing your roof piecemeal works for a while, but eventually it will be time for a replacement.

How do you know if you’ve found the right roofer in America’s Finest City? There are a few ways to narrow down the field and make sure you’re working with the best. Here are seven things to look for in a roofing contractor in San Diego.

1. Knowledge of Energy Efficient Practices

Heat rises, so it’s no shocker that 25% of heat in your home is lost through the roof. Come colder months, that translates to increased utility bills and draftier rooms. A good San Diego roofing contractor will consider the implications for energy efficiency when they’re planning your roof replacement. The contractor you trust should not only work to stop heat from escaping, but also talk to you about harnessing the San Diego sun and turning it into cheaper energy via solar power. Your contractor should be able to answer questions about:

Inland homes may have different ventilation needs than beach properties, so talk to your contractor specifically about how they’ve made homes in your area more energy efficient. Solar power in San Diego is a great option for most properties in the city, and most new homes built beginning in 2020 must have solar.

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2. Success with Heat-Friendly Roofs

If you’re living in East County or near a canyon that traps summer heat, your roof can either deflect the oppressive temperature or absorb it. If you’re like most San Diegans, you’d rather your roof panels send UV where it belongs — away from your house. A good San Diego roofing contractor will know how to build you a heat-friendly roof. This process is sometimes called making a “cool roof.”

There are a few ways your knowledgeable contractor can design a roof that keeps your home cooler in the summer. Before you hire someone, make sure they have successfully completed the project using clay and terracotta to naturally block desert heat. Your project should also use light-colored tiles that deflect heat rather than absorbing it.

Most SoCal contractors work exclusively in these materials, but it’s still good to ask. Any contractor who isn’t focused on offering temperature control your home via light cooling materials may not be a good fit for a San Diego home.

3. The Right Credentials

Not all roofing contractors are created equal, and they’re not all licensed the same way, either. You might think that credentials are the contractor’s problem, but the absence of proper licensing could bite you as well if something goes wrong. When you’re looking for a roofing contractor in San Diego, don’t be timid about asking exactly which licenses and protections they have a for their business. Your neighborhood handyman may swear he’s good with roofs, but he is unlikely to be covered by:

4. Thorough Bid Details

We all want to save money, but the lowest bid you receive may not be the best. There are tons of roofers in San Diego County, many of whom are willing to offer a low-ball bid to win your business. Unfortunately, they may add on unexpected costs later or offer sub-par work so they still turn a profit.

Does your potential contractor offer a detailed, itemized bid? Is there a built-in buffer for unexpected delays or other problems? Do you have a promise for the use of certain materials in writing? Is every step carefully scoped and accounted for on the bid? A thorough bid protects all parties from surprises and arguments.

In San Diego, a detailed bid should also include price options for slate versus terracotta (or other heat-deflecting materials). Any time a contractor is being mysterious about how they will bill for an item you should ask more questions before agreeing.

5. A Strong Local Presence

Just because you’ve seen the same roofing flyer 100 times at your local Better Buzz doesn’t mean that’s the contractor you should choose — but a roofing contractor with a history in San Diego is a good sign. San Diego roofing contractors understand that a Santee homeowner is going to have unique heat concerns and that an Alpine homeowner may have specific questions about how smoke from regional fires could affect their roof tiles.

A good local roof contractor will also know that beach dwellers should avoid metal on their roofs because salt water and aluminum don’t mix. How long has your potential roofer been working in San Diego? City knowledge can translate to a much better experience for you as a homeowner and a superior end product.

6. Plans for Unexpected Repairs

You’ve already evaluated your contractor’s detailed bid, which should include a small budget for unexpected repairs. But what is the contractor’s specific game plan for dealing with those annoying and (seemingly) unavoidable ad hoc repairs that arise along the way? Your roofer doesn’t know exactly what they’re going to find when they pull up your old tiles. Do they already have supplies on hand to cope with rotted wood or other repairs? If they order materials as they’re needed, the project deadline will likely need to be pushed.

Ask your potential contractor how they plan to remain within scope in the face of surprise repairs. Can they bring in extra help and what would that cost? In San Diego, the difference between completing your project in December and working on it in January is more than an inch of rainfall.

7. Examples of Past Work as a Roofing Contractor in San Diego

Sometimes the most convincing evidence is photos of the work your contractor has already completed in your neighborhood. If you know someone who has used this contractor, drive by their house and (without asking to climb onto a stranger’s roof) check it out. Your contractor should also be able to provide photos of roofs they’ve completed on homes similar to yours. A roofer may be great at working on small one-story ranch-style homes but are they ready to handle your multi-level townhome with three roof surfaces? Get proof before you proceed! Quality contractors are proud to show off their success and they understand your apprehensions.

Are you ready to upgrade your roof in San Diego? Semper Solaris handles complete roof replacements, but we can make your roof solar ready. Go from dependent on the grid and dealing with rain leaks to generating solar power under a new terracotta roof!

Contact Semper Solaris today to learn more about our roof replacements in San Diego.

Asphalt Shingles

 

More than 70 percent of all single-family homes in the US are roofed with asphalt shingles, though that number is slowly shrinking thanks to more energy-efficient alternative roofing materials. Asphalt shingles dominate the market because they are affordable, offer a variety of attractive options and do a good job protecting homes from the elements.

Asphalt Shingles Pros:

  • Fiberglass shingles offer good fire protection
  • Shingles are often the most affordable roofing option, especially in good/better ranges
  • The best asphalt shingles are a 30-year roof solution installed on homes located in moderate climates
  • 3-tab shingles are an affordable way to dress up a home before putting on the market

Asphalt Shingles Cons:

  • Affordable asphalt shingles last as little as 10-12 years in hot, sunny climates
  • Rapid temperature changes can cause asphalt shingles to crack
  • A poorly vented attic will trap heat and significantly shorten asphalt shingle lifespan by cupping or cracking them
  • While the asphalt shingle industry boasts that its products can be recycled for paving, few recycling facilities take asphalt shingles, and they are among the least eco-friendly roofing options

Wood Shingles and Shakes

 

How are wood shingles and shakes different?

  • Wood shingles are machine-cut and feature cleaner edges and a smooth surface to produce a more uniform appearance.
  • Wood shakes are hand-cut from blocks of wood, so they have a more rustic appearance. They’re thicker too, so they’re slightly more expensive than wood shingles.

Wood Shingle Pros:

  • Wood has a natural beauty that ranges from rustic shakes to handsome, neat shingles
  • Cedar and redwood contain oils that make them naturally resistant to moisture and insects
  • Treated wood shingles have a Class A fire rating
  • They can last 5 to 10 years longer than asphalt, which makes them competitively priced with asphalt over their lifespan

Wood Shingle Cons:

  • Wood roofing is prohibited in some areas prone to wildfire, so be sure to check with your building department first
  • Untreated wood shakes and shingles are high maintenance – they need to be cleaned consistently to prevent the growth of algae or moss, and debris needs to be cleared to allow the wood to breathe
  • While DIY installation is possible if you have a good experience, faults in the installation can lead to quick deterioration of the roof which often includes serious leaks
  • Staining of the shingles and shakes might occur as natural factors cause tannins to be released from the wood

Roof Tiles

 

This ancient roofing option has been thoroughly modernized with newer and stronger materials that look fantastic.

Roof Tile Pros:

  • All types – clay, concrete, and fiber cement, offer 50+ years of durability
  • Tiles resist fire and insects
  • The rich aesthetics of tile increase curb appeal
  • Light-colored tile reflects sunlight, in turn reducing heat penetration and cooling requirements

Roof Tile Cons:

  • Tile is heavier than most roofing material and some types require extra framing support at a higher cost
  • The cost of tile is higher than asphalt, metal, and wood
  • Tiles may break if walked on, so repairing chimneys and other roofing issues is trickier when the roof is tile

Metal Roofing

 

Your great-grandfather’s home or barn might well have been roofed in metal, and some of those 100-year old roofs are still going strong. Metal roofing has enjoyed a recent resurgence led by demand for durability, eco-friendly roofing and the introduction of new styles.

Metal roofing is still manufactured in rolls, but most is rigid sheet roofing with vertical-seam panels and modular press-formed panels that can be painted or coated with granules.

The manufacturing processes allow for a variety of appearance options including the traditional metal roof style and roofing made to look like shingles, shakes and tiles. The most common metals used are aluminum, lightweight steel and zinc. Copper metal roofs are a beautiful but costly specialty!

Metal Roofing Pros:

  • New styles can mimic shingles, shakes, slate and tile, and dozens of colors are available
  • Metal is a 50 to 100-year roofing material with warranties of 30-50 years
  • Metal reflects solar radiant heat, keeping your home cooler and control energy costs in hot weather when compared with asphalt
  • Many metal roofing profiles have a Class A fire rating

Metal Roofing Cons:

  • The cost of metal roofing is higher (copper roofing is in a league of its own as the most expensive option) than asphalt shingles and wood roofing, but that is usually offset by its durability and longevity
  • Without an attic space or a proper substrate such as solid sheathing (boards or plywood), metal roofs installed over open framing and directly over living space can be noisier than other materials when the rain hits it
  • The material can dent when hit with a heavy object, and replacing metal panels is costlier than replacing asphalt, wood or tiles, although many metal roofing styles are rated to withstand large hail

Drip, drip, drip… Your roof is trying to tell you something, and it’s not that you should consider installing a serene water feature inside your house. Normally, your roof is the strong and silent type, but as it faces the harsh elements each day, even the sturdiest roofs can start wearing down. It might be time to call a San Diego roof repair expert, but how do you find a reliable and trustworthy contractor? What will the roof repair entail, and, most importantly, what hit can you expect to your budget?

Roofs last a long time, so many homeowners have rarely, if ever, needed a roof repair. If your roof is begging for help, you might not know what to expect during a repair or how to prepare for it. Not to fear! Here at Semper Solaris, we’ll walk you through the roof repair process step by step to determine if contacting a San Diego roof repair expert is necessary.

Step One: Admit Your Roof Has a Problem

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If you’ve literally got raindrops falling on your head while indoors, it’s pretty clear that your roof is crying out for help. However, roof issues aren’t always so clear, especially from the ground. How do you actually know whether your roof has a problem that needs expert intervention?

You don’t need to be a “roof whisperer” to figure out if you’ve got damage. Keep your eyes peeled for these telltale signs:

Why Repair a Roof

Roof repairs can be costly, and it’s not like anyone wants to spend their savings on home maintenance instead of taking the family to Legoland or SeaWorld. However, spending a little money to take care of a roof problem as soon as it presents can save you from a much bigger repair bill in the future.

Roof damage doesn’t magically go away, it just gets worse. A small stain on the ceiling today could start growing mold tomorrow and dripping water onto your floors and furniture next week.

Additionally, if you’d like to install solar panels in the next few years or so, you’ll definitely want to fix your roof before adding anything else up there.

If you notice roof damage, start looking for roof repair companies right away!

Step Two: Find the Right San Diego Roof Repair Company

San-Diego-Roof-Repair-Roof-Worker

 

It’s always a little nerve-wracking to entrust your home to a new contractor, especially with something as important as your roof. If you’ve never hired a company to perform a roof repair, how do you find a trustworthy contractor that will do a great job?

First, check out this article we published on how to find the best solar panel installers. Yes, this article is focused on solar installation companies, but the principles are the same. It’s a smart idea to visit the top crowdsourced review sites, including:

The best way to predict how a contractor will perform is to learn about how they’ve worked with other homeowners in the past. A terrible contractor with lousy reviews likely won’t magically change their stripes and do an excellent job for you!

Step Three: Schedule a Roof Inspection

San-Diego-Roof-Repair-Roofer

 

Every roofing contractor worth their shingles should offer you a complimentary roofing inspection so that they can diagnose the problem and offer you a repair recommendation and a quote. We encourage you to seek multiple quotes to give yourself options.

On the day of the inspection, the roofing company will send a trained technician to your home. The technician will ask you questions about what you’ve seen and experienced and will then assess the entire condition of the roof. The technician may walk on the roof, inspect your attic, and even assess the exterior walls and foundation of your house.

Step Four: Understand Common Roof Damage

After the assessment is complete, the technician will sit down with you and explain the issues that they noted and provide you with a diagnosis of the problem. Roofs tend to break down in similar ways, and the most common problems tend to be:

Leaking

Leaks are the most common roof problem that most roofing companies deal with, most likely because it’s also one of the most noticeable issues to homeowners! There are a variety of reasons that roofs can leak. In many cases, the culprit is an installation, like a chimney, skylight, or vent. It is common for the flashing around these installations to wear away, resulting in water eventually trickling through minute openings around the seal.

Flashing can also corrode or crack with age, letting water make its way into the house, especially during heavy winter rains.

One other common cause of leaking is improperly installed shingles or tiles. If a “handyman” tried to replace damaged tiles or shingles on your roof, they may have damaged the underlayer or the flashing of the roof.

Damaged Shingles or Tiles

Shingles or tiles can wear down over time, causing them to crack or fall off entirely. This exposes the inner parts of the roof to the elements, which can quickly result in leaks.

Though San Diego doesn’t have much extreme weather (which is one of the reasons we love living here), we do get some pretty hefty winds during the Santa Anas, which can tear away loose shingles or tiles. There’s also always the risk of “blunt force roof trauma” from a falling tree branch!

Age

The age of a roof is often a contributing factor to damage. The older the roof, the more likely that its flashing, underlayers, and tiles or shingles will simply break down. A roof’s lifespan will depend on a number of factors, including:

Shingles, which are the most common type of roofing around the country, can last anywhere from 20 to 25 years. Many San Diego roofs use Spanish tiles, which boast a lifespan of 50 years or more. If your roof is nearing the end of its life, it may make more sense to replace the entire roof than to spend thousands of dollars repairing it.

Step Five: Receive a Recommendation and Repair Proposal

A good technician will sit down with you after their roof assessment is complete and lay out all of your repair options, including what will happen if you decide to ignore the problem. Depending on the nature of the damage, you may be presented with several possible fixes followed by the technician’s personal recommendation on what they consider to be the best option. For example, a roof technician may be able to repair the damage to your roof, but they may recommend replacing it if the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan or if the cost to repair the damage is only a little less than what it would cost to repair the roof.

The technician should also be able to write up a proposal, which will – at long last – include a price quote for the recommended repair.

The Cost of a Roof Repair

So, how much will your roof repair cost?

We might sound like a broken record by now, but the answer is that it depends! The amount of damage, the nature of the repair, and the unique characteristics of your roof will all affect the final repair price quote. For example, Spanish tiles are more expensive than asphalt shingles, so replacing a lot of Spanish tiles will be more expensive than replacing shingles even if the problem is the same.

A small roof repair job may only require a contractor to replace and seal worn-out or missing shingles which can be very affordable. A medium repair job could include replacing shingles as well as sealing fixtures, like a leaking skylight. Oftentimes, the flashing around these fixtures also needs to be replaced. A moderate job can be a little bit more in price, sometimes more significant than smaller jobs.

Large roof repairs usually include fixing the underlayers of the roof, which requires the contractor to remove a good number of tiles or shingles (possibly all of them) in order to get to the underlayment, water barrier, and insulation. The contractor may even have to address damaged wood. At this point, your repair bill will set you back a larger amount and it may be worth considering a full roof replacement, which will be more expensive.

A roof replacement is a costly project, but it is also an excellent investment in your home, especially if you would like to install rooftop solar panels in the future.

If you do decide to move forward with a full roof replacement, we strongly encourage you to work with a company that is willing to offer you a warranty on their finished product. At Semper Solaris, we work with some of the very best roofing materials, including GAF and Owens Corning, which offers an outstanding 50-year platinum protection limited warranty.

Step Six: Prepare for the Roof Repair

San-Diego-Roof-Repair-Damaged-Roof

A small or moderate roof repair may only take a day for a contractor to complete. A larger roof repair or a full roof replacement can last several days or even longer for larger homes. If you stay in the house during the repair, be prepared for disruptive noise. Not only will you hear feet walking on the roof over your head, but you’ll also get an earful of hammering and other noises as the workers replace roofing layers and put the shingles and tiles back on.

It’s usually best if you can be out of the house during the repair, especially if you have young children who don’t appreciate loud noises. You may also want to consider taking skittish pets out of the home so as to not overly stress them.  

Step Seven: Enjoy Your Roof!

After the repair, your roof should be as good as new. Or maybe it is all new! Either way, you’ll rest easier at night knowing the roof over your head is strong and complete. If you enjoyed working with your contractor, we encourage you to write them a positive review on the review site of your choice. Many local San Diego roof repair companies depend on word of mouth and positive reviews to generate new customers, so your positive words will be appreciated.

Ready to get a diagnosis for your San Diego roof? Contact Semper Solaris to get a free roofing quote. Take a look at our current online roofing discounts. If you are considering installing solar panels, we do that too and offer big savings for combing roofing and solar services.

Contact us to get your roof quote today!

 

Our Semper Cares Initiative was a huge success!

On July 3rd, we completed two goodwill projects and unveiled them to the public. Welcomed guests and the local press assembled to join the families and crew to celebrate these veterans and watch as the final solar panels were installed. The two unveiling celebrations radiated honor, pride, and patriotism for this country and for those who fought to defend it.

 

 

In partnership with Habitat for Humanity San Diego, we helped two veteran celebrate their Independence Day by unveiling a new roof and solar power system.

 

Veteran Carl Schaffrina’s roof was in serious need of replacement. Water leaks were proving physically and mentally demanding for the family. Semper Solaris teamed up with the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project to provide a complete new roof installation expected to last for more than 25 years.

 

In addition, Semper Solaris partnered with Panasonic of North America and SolarEdge to design a state-of-the-art solar system. Panasonic donated all the solar panels provided to Carl and his wife, Jodi. SolarEdge generously donated the DV-AC inverter hardware to complete the system. The project brought our San Diego community together by coordinating with San Diego Habitat For Humanity’s Veteran Project.

 

Former Marine sniper Povas Miknaitis, was given the opportunity to declare his independence from electric companies. Semper Solaris, in cooperation with SolarWorld, and SolarEdge, installed a complete solar panel system to his home in San Diego. This new system will help reduce electricity costs and improve his home’s value. Lowering Mr. Miknaitis’ electricity bills and helping him become more energy independent is especially valuable, since most veterans are on fixed incomes – one fewer bill means greater financial freedom. The Miknaitis project was coordinated with San Diego’s Warrior Foundation Freedom Station where Miknaitis was a beneficiary and is now a volunteer working with other wounded veterans.

 

We are proud of the men and women of our Semper Solaris team, our partners, and the veterans of this great nation. Stay tuned for future Semper Cares initiatives as we continue to help veterans in any way we can. At Semper Solaris, we take pride in our veterans, our veteran origins, and our veteran employees and their stories. As always, thank you for your service.

In San Diego, the vast majority of solar panels are installed on rooftops. This makes sense, as roofs offer lots of surface area with unobstructed access to the sun. If you are considering investing in solar panels, the state of your roof will factor into your decision. If your roof requires repairs or is nearing the end of its life, you may first need to address these San Diego roofing issues before moving forward with solar panel installation. Here are some of the most common roofing questions we get from San Diego homeowners interested in solar panels.

Will I Have to Buy a New Roof in Order to Get Solar Panels?

Ideally, the life of your roof should match or exceed the life of your solar panels. Today’s top solar panels offer 25-year warranties, but some industry experts predict that solar panels can continue to operate (albeit with declining efficiency) for up to 40 years or more.

One of the most popular San Diego roofing types is Spanish tile, which has among the longest lifespans of any roofing system. You can expect your Spanish tile roof to last up to 50 years, which means that if your roof is less than 10 years old, it may be a great candidate for solar panels. Slate and other forms of tile roofs also boast a 50-year lifespan, while wood shake roofs will give you 30 years of life, and asphalt shingles will only last 20 years on average.

If your roof is nearing the end of its life, it makes sense to replace your roof before installing solar panels. New roofs are expensive, but it will cost you even more if you have to take down your solar panels after just a few years and then re-install them on your new roof. Additionally, older roofs may not be structurally sound enough to safely support a solar panel system.

Will It Be Possible to Repair My Roof Once I Get Solar Panels?

A roof is much more than the tiles or shingles that we see from the outside. A roof is actually a complex system that includes important components, such as the underlayment and flashing. All sorts of roofing issues can arise, such as cracked tiles, punctures in the underlayment, or warped flashing that causes water to collect on the roof.

In a best-case scenario, you want to address and repair any major roofing issues before you install solar panels. A quality solar installation company should perform a full roof assessment and let you know if any issues exist before they start working. If your roof is already damaged or weakened, installing solar panels can make the problem much worse.

What happens if you discover roofing damage after your solar panels have already been installed?

In most cases, it is possible to repair roofing problems after solar panels have been installed, but it isn’t always easy. The solar panels may need to be detached from the roof and then re-installed after the damage is repaired. This can end up costing thousands of extra dollars, and the more time workers spend on your roof, the more wear and tear they cause!

It is a good idea to get a full roof assessment from a roofing contractor in San Diego before moving forward with your solar panel installation, especially if your roof is more than 10 years old.

Are Some Roofs Better Than Others for Solar Panels?

Long row of houses and roofs

If your roof is too old, has damage, or is structurally unsound for another reason, it may not be possible (and definitely not recommendable) to install a solar system. Assuming that your roof is in good shape, there are certain factors that make some roofs better for solar panels than others. By “better,” we simply mean that the solar system will be more efficient, generating more energy per panel.

Orientation

South-facing roofs get the most sunlight in North America, which will increase the energy efficiency of your panels. At the same time, west-facing panels tend to generate energy when the demand from homeowners is highest. For this reason, most solar installers will try to install south- or southwest-facing panels. If you have a northeast-facing roof, not to worry. You can still benefit from solar panels, but they may be less efficient, which means you may have to purchase a bigger system.

Shade/Obstructions

Another factor to take into consideration is the amount of shade that hits your roof. If a large tree in your backyard casts shadows across your solar panels, that will affect the efficiency of your system. It would probably be a good idea to trim the tree. If your house is up against a hill, or your neighbor just added a second-story addition that throws shade on your single-story roof, those will be more difficult problems to address.

Pitch

The pitch of your roof also plays a role in how well your solar system operates. The pitch refers to the slope of your roof. Steep roofs make installation difficult, while flat roofs require more racking so that panels can be angled to catch as much sunlight as possible. The ideal pitch of a roof is 30 degrees.

Size

Bigger roofs give installers more options on where to place solar panels, so they can get as much sun and produce as much energy as possible. It’s also important for installers to avoid installing panels in a way that interferes with the flashing on the roof and to keep panels away from heat vents and roof ledges. Smaller roofs offer fewer options and may not have enough space for a full solar system. In these cases, homeowners may need to purchase more efficient solar panels, which will be smaller, but can also cost a premium price.

Don’t let these different factors scare you away from solar panels. The truth is that there is no perfect roof. If you have a north-facing, super steep, small roof, a solar panel system should still provide you with significant energy savings. Just be sure to speak with a solar installation expert to understand how your roof’s characteristics will affect the cost, efficiency, and size of your solar system.

Will Solar Panels Ruin My Roof?

Maybe you’ve heard a horror story from a family member or a friend who had solar panels installed only to discover that the installers left behind major (and expensive) roof damage. Unfortunately, this does happen, especially when homeowners don’t pick an experienced and well-regarded solar installation company. The truth is that many solar companies don’t have specific roofing experience or knowhow. They may crack or damage tiles, drag racks across your shingles, drop tools that puncture the underlayment, on install solar panels that block your roof’s flashing system, which can then cause water to puddle on the roof. In other cases, a solar company may not recognize pre-existing roof damage and then exacerbate that damage when they install your solar panels.

Experienced solar companies know how to install a solar panel system without damaging a roof. It is up to you as a homeowner to do your homework before choosing your installer. One of the best things you can do is read reviews from a company’s previous clients.

Solar and Roofing Services in the Same Place

Worker replacing clay roof tile

Your roof is the foundation of your solar panel system and plays an integral role in how well your solar panels operate. Often, roof repair or replacement go hand-in-hand with solar panel installation. That’s why you should consider hiring a solar installation company that also has expertise in roof repair and replacement.

At Semper Solaris, we are experienced and licensed roofing contractors in San Diego as well as solar installers. Many of our clients appreciate that we can provide a roof assessment, roof repair, and even roof replacement as part of our solar services. By using the same company for your San Diego roofing needs and solar installation, you can save time, money, and headaches on these important projects.

Want to learn more? Take a look at our roofing and solar discounts, and then contact us for a free roofing and solar consultation.  

Drip. Drip. Drip. Is your roof trying to tell you something? Like, maybe it’s time to finally fix those leaks or that it’s ready for retirement? Whether you need a small roof repair or an entirely new roof altogether, it’s crucial to choose the right roofing contractor in San Diego. The health of your roof impacts the quality of your life and the value of your home. Before you dial the very first San Diego roofing contractor that comes up in the search engines, do your homework and start your search as an educated consumer. We’ve worked with hundreds of homeowners throughout San Diego, and here are the five things we wish every customer knew before they hired a roofing contractor.

Don’t Hire Day Laborers or a “Guy with a Truck”

Here in San Diego, it’s not unusual to see day laborers hanging out at your favorite big home improvement stores ready to earn quick money. These guys may have some building experience, but that’s still a far cry from being a roofing expert!

While you’ll save money in the short-term by using a day laborer, you’re also taking a huge risk that may come back to bite you in the future. There’s no way for you to tell whether the day laborer knows what he’s doing. He could cause more damage to your roof, which you will then have to pay a professional company to fix later.

If you do discover a problem later on, you also have no recourse. Day laborers come and go, and even if you could track him down, che may not be able to cover the repair costs.

The prospect of saving money by hiring a day laborer or a “guy with truck” on Craigslist is tempting, but you are rolling the dice!

Know the Right Credentials for a San Diego Roofing Company

So we are a no-go on day laborers and the Jack-of-All-Trades. Now it’s time to look for the right type of San Diego roofing company. The roofing contractor you work with should be properly licensed, insured, and credentialed. It is crucial that the roofing contractor possess:

General liability insurance covers any damage to your property that a contractor causes during the job. For example, if a worker makes a mistake and part of the roof caves in, damaging your kitchen, the contractor’s liability insurance will cover the cost of your kitchen repair.

Workers’ compensation insurance is also extremely important. Even when a roofing contractor follows strict safety protocols, workers can still be injured. If this happens, the contractor’s insurance will cover their medical care.

NOTE: If a day laborer or “guy with truck” falls off your roof and breaks his leg, you could be responsible for his hefty medical bills. Just one more reason to hire a licensed and insured roofing company!

Good roofing contractors only work with roofing manufacturers that offer warranties on their roofing systems. These warranties cover things like the roofing materials as well as the work of the contractor. They provide important protections against flawed roofing materials or poor workmanship. Warranties also give homeowners peace of mind. After all the money you spend on repairing or overhauling your roof, it’s good to know that it’ll last a while. (At Semper Solaris, we are proud to work with top roofing manufacturers, including Owens Corning and GAF.)

Finally, you definitely want to hire a company that specializes in repairing roofs and possesses roofing credentials. Some remodeling and design contractors in San Diego will also claim to fix roofs, though they likely spend most of their time remodeling kitchens and master bathrooms. When it comes to roofing, they will likely hire a sub-contractor, which is not an ideal scenario.

Hire Local Roofing Contractors in San Diego

It isn’t unheard of for roofing companies to come trawling for clients after a big storm. You might get a knock on your door or find a flyer stuck on your porch from some out-of-town roofing company offering big savings for a quick roof repair.

There are many reasons to throw these flyers in the trash and work with a local roofing company instead. For one, we believe it’s a good idea to support local businesses who employ locally and contribute positively to the local economy. There are also more selfish reasons to pick a local roofing contractor.

Contractors who live and operate in your city know much more about local rules and code regulations as well as the common roofing styles and materials in the community. For example, roofing contractors in San Diego need to be highly familiar with clay and concrete tiles, which are very popular in the area.  

There’s one more reason to hire locally. While out-of-town roofing companies can split if you aren’t happy with their work, local companies are here to stay. They live, work, and raise their families in their community and want it to thrive. This means that it is in their best interest to do excellent work. After all, they’re working on the houses of their neighbors!

Don’t Automatically Choose the Lowest Bidder

Would you eat at a roadside sushi vendor because it was the cheapest food available? We hope on behalf of your digestive system that the answer is no. In many cases, the cheapest option isn’t always the best option. Lower pricing often means rushed work, corners cut, poor overall quality, and a short product lifespan.

The same goes for roofing. A cheap roofing contractor may not have the correct license or be paying for workers’ compensation insurance or general liability insurance. Even if a company is licensed and insured, those cost cuts have to come from somewhere. They may use lower quality materials or underpay their staff. This means you won’t have highly experienced and motivated employees working on your roof. It all adds up to a higher risk of problems and a poor-quality roof repair!

Roof repairs aren’t cheap, but remember the adage:“You get what you pay for!”

Check Reviews and Testimonials

Check reviews before hiring a roofing company

Top roofing contractors care deeply about making sure each customer is satisfied with their work. These companies rely on referrals, which means that it’s important to do a great job on every single project. They care about their reputation, and this should be obvious by the testimonials and reviews they receive from their clients.

As a consumer, check out each potential roofing contractor before signing any contracts. We recommend visiting the Better Business Bureau as well as popular review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. See what real customers say about the way the company communicates, how well they stick to a timeline, whether they gave an accurate price proposal, and the quality of the workmanship.

It’s also a good idea to see how long a company has been around. A roofing company won’t survive long if they don’t do good work.

At Semper Solaris, we proudly point our potential customers to the major review sites where we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and received a Super Service award from Angie’s List in 2016. High-quality roofing companies should want you to see their customer reviews!

Time to Schedule a Consultation

Worker replacing roof tiles

Now that you know to follow the recommendations above, you’ll be a savvy consumer who knows how to find a high-quality, honest, and reliable roofing contractor in San Diego. When it’s time to finally get started on that roof repair so you can stop annoying leaks or put on solar panels, we would appreciate the opportunity to compete for your business. Please contact us to schedule a free, no-pressure roof consultation.

Did you know there are unique considerations to take when it comes to San Diego roofing? Although the city is known for its ideal, sunny weather, the climate may vary depending on the area of San Diego you live in.

Inland residents often experience higher temperatures, while those living coastal experience daily marine layers that burn off throughout the day. And while San Diego is technically a desert, rainfall is still a factor that influences rooftop decisions. If you live in San Diego, take the following considerations into account for your roofing needs.

Heat-Friendly Rooftops

The warm climate is one of the major appeals of living in San Diego. Roofing, because of this, needs to be able to handle the constant sun and hot temperatures in the summer, especially for inland regions like East County. Make sure you have a heat-friendly rooftop, also known as a “cool roof,” which helps to cool the home more efficiently. They usually are lighter in color so, as darker colors tend to absorb heat, and are often made of materials that reflect the sun.

There are a few different ways to make a roof a “cool” roof. Clay and terracotta tile roofing is ideal for desert climates because it blocks heat. Slate tile is another good fit for your roof because it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It comes in light and earthy colors that are naturally reflective and durable.

Energy-Efficient San Diego Roofing

San Diegans can bask in sunnier-than-average climate. And they can capitalize on the sun by installing solar panels on their rooftops. Solar panels soak up the sun’s energy and convert it to power for the home. These panels should be durable and use the latest technology, so when you have your solar panels installed be sure to communicate these needs to your solar installation company.

It’s also just as important to ensure that your roof has proper insulation. Since 25% of heat in a home leaves through the ceiling, your roof is a key player in stopping this during the colder winter days in San Diego and at night when the temperatures drop significantly. Properly insulated San Diego roofing equates to energy-efficient homes, so you save on your utility bills.  

Poorly ventilated rooftops are not ideal for hot weather. They can transfer heat into the living areas and increase air-conditioning consumption, if you’re using one. For those living inland who turn on the AC in the dog days of summer, this can be especially a concern. Proper roof ventilation also helps in the winter, working to prevent moisture damage — especially if you live near the ocean or bay.

an Diego roof repair can be done all-year round, thanks to the ideal climate

Timing of San Diego Roof Repairs

Luckily, San Diego’s mild climates year-round make roof repairs easier to execute. Fall is usually the busy season for roof repairs and costs tend to go up due to demand, so consider getting the repair work done in the off-season if it can wait.

Another benefit to having your roof repaired in the off-season is that it can make for a less stressful situation, because you won’t be behind a waiting list of customers. This is particularly important when making major decisions that involve your roof; a clear mind means the proper steps and considerations can be taken when consulting with your roof installation and repair company.

San Diego Roofing with Wildfire Protection

Wildfires are an unfortunate reality San Diego homeowners may face. The Southern California region experiences wildfires from time to time, and the dry desert climate further fuels the potential for fire to spread rapidly. Homes located on or near slopes of hills and valleys have a higher risk of getting affected.

While location is hard to change, one thing these residents can do is install outdoor sprinkler systems. These sprinklers work to prevent the spread of embers when they come in contact with a house, keeping it protected and safe.

Roofing Maintenance in the Winter

Although San Diego has mild winters in comparison to other regions of the U.S., it occasionally experiences significant temperature drops. Winter nights can drop to 40- or sometimes 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which can create frost and condensation when it warms up during the day.

These conditions can cause mold to grow on your roof during the winter months, especially on flat roofs. Leaves may pile up on your rooftop when the wind blows, and these piles then collect moisture from winter frost. This combination can eventually cause organic growth to form on the roof surface. To prevent mold from forming, make sure you regularly clean your roof and sweep away the leaves.

Making Smart Decisions for Your Roof

While you may not think the weather in San Diego would have an influence on how you should go about roofing matters, think again! The signature climate does call for special considerations to be made to ensure that your rooftop is both energy-efficient and long-lasting. Plus, doing so will help you avoid having to make extra repairs to your roof.  

For further information on how different types of materials, installation and maintenance impacts your roof, check out some more details on San Diego roofing, and see how Semper Solaris can help you meet the needs your roof requires.

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