Protect Your Roof - The Basics of Waterproofing
Nothing is more essential to a successful rooftop solar installation than making sure the holes you drill into the roof do not develop leaks. Water intrusion is the leading cause of construction-related litigation and can cause substantial damage. Leaks that don't get addressed early can eventually compromise the integrity of the building envelope. Mold created by undetected moisture can damage human health and cost thousands or tens of thousand of dollars to fix. Quality waterproofing is the best insurance you can buy.
Helping You Learn About Waterproofing
To avoid a host of problems down the road, it is essential that solar designers, installers and the solar industry as a whole follow roofing best practices. Quick Mount PV was founded in 2006 to address this objective with superior, innovative rooftop mounting products. To help insure installers are properly educated on codes, standards, and best practices, Quick Mount PV offers a full range of in-person and web-based training programs to help insure every rooftop installation is 100% waterproof.
Following is basic information about waterproofing, code compliance, the use of galvanized steel, and maintaining roof warranties. While primarily intended as a primer for solar professionals, we believe this information can also prove useful to home and business owners who are making decisions about solar PV and/or solar water heating systems. Quick Mount PV offers a comprehensive professional training program, described here.
The Challenge of Rooftop Solar
Sound waterproofing practices are not a recent innovation. Professional roofers have followed proven, often painstaking installation measures to prevent the possibility of leaks for flashed penetrations for decades. Historically, roofs had only a few penetrations for plumbing vents and gas vent stacks, but a typical rooftop solar PV installation requires dozens of penetrations. Making a solar installation economically feasible requires a quick and easy way to mount the array while ensuring waterproof penetrations.
Getting Beyond Just Sealant
Those who pioneered off-grid solar installations back in the 1980s didn’t fully appreciate the importance of flashed penetrations for a proper waterproofing solution. Those early installers often used sealant as the only waterproofing protection. However, sealants are susceptible to breakdown from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, oxidation, expansion and contraction with changing temperatures. Small but constant flexing of the attachment over the years as the sealant ages, will eventually cause cracks and become compromised.
Today, solar system designers and installers recognize the importance of using metal flashing and following roofing best practices. Likewise, local building inspectors in most jurisdictions now understand that all lag screws securing solar roof mounts need to be properly flashed and waterproofed in accordance with roofing manufacturer requirements.