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  • Spanish "S" Clay Tile Roof Question

    I am located in South Orange County in Southern California and (unfortunately for me) serviced by San Diego Gas and Electric (SDGE).
    • I have a true Spanish-style clay tile roof. I think the tiles are manufactured by Boral (http://www.boralamerica.com/roofing/...sion/1UADU3107).
    • My tile roof is my main concern. Several of my bids have included a comp. shingle "inset" or "comp out" under the array. Reading on this forum (J.P.M. you are my hero) that seems to be the worst option. What is not clear is what is the "best" option? I.e. what should I use on my roof?
    Three options from what I can tell:

    1) Tile Hook-Style (http://www.quickmountpv.com/technology/qhook.html)
    2) Tile Replacement Mount (http://www.quickmountpv.com/products...ent-mount.html)
    3) Pull off the tile and do an "inset" or "comp out" (putting comp. shingles under an array)

    I am not concerned about 25-year warranties (I will be lucky to be alive in 25 years and certainly won't be living in this same house). My main concerns are: NO ROOF ISSUES, a "fair price" for quality workmanship and a good installer.

    Please - I am open to any and all advice. Also if anyone recommends installers in Orange County that would be very appreciated.

    Cheers!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by dstroot; 02-18-2018, 08:27 PM.

  • #2
    Looks like you got cut off.

    Long story short: Clay tile as you describe needs extra care to avoid breakage, but putting comp. shingles under an array is a very bad alternative. I live in an HOA where about 20 % of the roofs are Spanish clay "S" tiles. The rest are concrete tile. The HOA CC &' R's specifically forbid removing any tile under an array and replacing it with comp. shingles and it has nothing to do with aesthetics. It's all about roof integrity, leak paths and such possibilities added by material transition areas/lines, as well as long term considerations of appearances if an array is moved/removed.

    Mixing roof materials helps no one except the solar installer. Doing so only adds potential leak sites and paths that may well be impossible to see much less get at. The homeowner loses.

    I've had more than one installer, otherwise reputable, tell me in my home office that it's impossible to install PV on a spanish tile roof. I then point to two Spanish tile roofs, one on either side of my house, and one of them about 75 ft. north of my office door and in plain sight, and both of which I watched being installed more up close and personal than the other 20 or so arrays in my HOA that I've also monitored for the HOA that have functioning arrays on Spanish tile out of ~ 120 or so installs. Funny how once confronted with dead nuts reality, the impossible gets a little easier.

    Don't do comp. It's a bad idea.

    Comment


    • #3
      J.P.M. Thanks for the reply - I was hoping you'd see the post. I edited it so it's no longer cut off. If a comp out is a bad idea what should I use? Tile hooks? Is there a recognized "really good" manufacturer/brand? Thanks - I have already learned a TON from your posts and am reading "the book" right now.
      Last edited by dstroot; 02-18-2018, 09:57 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by dstroot View Post
        J.P.M. Thanks for the reply - I was hoping you'd see the post. I edited it so it's no longer cut off. If a comp out is a bad idea what should I use? Tile hooks? Is there a recognized "really good" manufacturer/brand? Thanks - I have already learned a TOM from your posts and am reading "the book" right now.
        You're most welcome. What to use has as many good answers as there are informed people, and a lot more not so good answers from the ignorant and those with skin in the game.

        I'll give my opinion and caution that opinions vary and mine is but one, and also suggest that you question everything everyone says - even and maybe especially from me. - none of us being as smart as all of us - until you have enough info to form your own opinion(s).

        The book is a decent primer and will probably keep most folks out of the jaws of scumbag conmen, but I don't necessarily agree with everything in it.

        With that: I have lightweight concrete tile. I had the portion of my roof over/around the array inspected and repapered. I had that work done by a roofer unaffiliated with the solar vendor. However, I coordinated the two vendors such that the solar vendor located and set the posts on the roof when it was being repapered. The roofer then did the flashing when the tile was reinstalled.

        I used 8" posts and had the racking set as high as possible on the posts, and the panels set as high on the racking as possible. The clearance, top of tile to back of panels is ~ 10" - 11 " depending on where that distance is measured on the tile, ave ~ = 10.5 " clear with soft interferences at the panel edges. Getting under the array around solar noon in high summer is like being in an angled toaster but as long as my BMI holds, it's doable. I did that elevation for several reasons. First, it'll help the air circulation under the array and allow it to run cooler (more efficiently). Second, I wanted to be able to get under the array for inspection and perhaps easier maint. if needed but, third, and primarily, as I wrote a few sentences ago, to be able to get at the backside of each panel with a hand held infrared thermometer, which I can do with some care as long as my BMI holds.

        From a design engineering standpoint I don't care for "S" hooks and other such devices. Double flashing has stood the test of time for about as long as there have been roof penetrations. I see no reason to reinvent the wheel. Hooks may be fine but from what I've seen, they usually require arrays to be close to the deck. That inhibits air circulation behind the array and that increases array temps, decreasing panel efficiency and perhaps shortening panel life for no reason I can see beyond perhaps some appeal to aesthetics. FWIW, I believe the aesthetics argument to be somewhat specious since most folks will probably not even notice a roof top array much longer or much at all about 2 weeks or so after installation.

        As for the "S" hooks, they often have a long(ish) attachment under the tile. Now arrays will vibrate in the wind - not much, but they will. That long attachment can and will act just like a pry bar with several possible consequences. First, the wind induced cyclic vibration force will wobble a screw set in wood and loosen it up. Second, it'll make noise. Third, if the vibration amplitude is or gets large enough, it might break a tile. If it does and the attachment screw holes get large enough, it might just leak when water runs down the roof from above the array.

        Good luck,

        Comment


        • #5
          J.P.M. - Thanks for all your efforts into this forum. It shows! Now for one more dumb question - how does one "double flash"?

          You said "Double flashing has stood the test of time for about as long as there have been roof penetrations." I googled but came up short. I am trying to imagine mounting posts to the roof joists under the tile and flashing that (which makes sense) but then the posts have to come up *through* the tile is some fashion right? Hows that work? Then you flash that as well?

          I am just trying to get educated so I know what to ask for - and smart enough to visually verify when they install.

          Thanks!!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by dstroot View Post
            J.P.M. - Thanks for all your efforts into this forum. It shows! Now for one more dumb question - how does one "double flash"?

            You said "Double flashing has stood the test of time for about as long as there have been roof penetrations." I googled but came up short. I am trying to imagine mounting posts to the roof joists under the tile and flashing that (which makes sense) but then the posts have to come up *through* the tile is some fashion right? Hows that work? Then you flash that as well?

            I am just trying to get educated so I know what to ask for - and smart enough to visually verify when they install.

            Thanks!!
            Aw shucks ! That's different than the usual condescending/engineering prick stuff I get most of the time. Oh the humanity !

            As for dumb questions, I learned the only dumb one is the one I don't ask after exhausting all attempts to get an answer on my own.

            You have it about right for the double flashing on a tile roof. Generally, one flashing goes under the tile, one above. Just think how water will get from the outside to the inside using gravity and the forces of wind to drive moisture to where it's not wanted and design barriers in such a way yo keep that from happening.

            Details abound. I found a bunch of stuff in about < 5 min, some in an on line article form "Solar Pro" magazine.

            A good installer or roofer will get it right. Expect a slight price premium. Learn, then trust but verify.

            One trick/hint I found useful: Places where water can puddle/not drain and caulking do not play well together. Think 30 yr. time frames for that one.

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            • #7
              Thanks!!

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              • #8
                Totally off-topic, but how much electricity does that neighboring house with what looks like 70+ solar panels consume each month?? My goodness!

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                • #9
                  I see a Giant pool and maybe they have several Electric cars but some homes have extra panels for medical needs/ equipment.
                  9.36 grid tied, Phoenix Arizona

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                  • #10
                    Check out the adjustable S-Tile Hook by SolaRack this solution doesn't affect or modify your roof.
                    www.solarackusa.com

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