Why You Wouldn't Want to Get a GAF Timberline Solar™ Roof


Are you looking to add solar to your home but unsure if a GAF Timberline Solar™ roofing system is the right choice for your property? Your roof may not be old enough or in bad enough shape to warrant fully replacing it in order to add GAF Timberline Solar™. If this is the case, it may be a wiser choice to go with traditional rack-mounted solar panels instead.

Roof Condition and Age

If you want to switch to a solar roofing system like GAF Timberline Solar™, knowing the condition and age of your roof is paramount. The condition and age of your roof will ultimately determine if buying a solar roofing system over traditional solar panels is best for your home. 

Roof Condition

The condition of your roof will heavily determine if a new solar roofing system will be the right investment for you. Installing a GAF Timberline Solar™ roofing system means you need to tear off your old roof and replace it with a new one. While a new solar roofing system may be the better long-term choice, it may not be the best choice at the moment if your roof is in good condition. To fully determine your roof’s condition, we recommend that you get a comprehensive roof inspection by a qualified roofing contractor that you trust. Most contractors will also provide you with an in-depth report on the health of your roof.

Example: Excess granular loss because of a manufacturer’s defect
on a 5-year-old roof

Depending on your area, you could have an older roof that is still in excellent condition. Using the information in your inspection report from your contractor, you can decide if a complete re-roof will be worth it. A roof that is in good condition but older might make you lean towards a complete re-roof and installing a GAF Timberline Solar roofing system.

Roof Age

Just as with roof condition, the age of your roof will heavily determine whether you should choose to add traditional solar panels to your home over fully replacing your roof with a GAF Timberline Solar™ roofing system. A good benchmark to keep in mind for when you should start looking into the health of your roof is roughly ten years depending on the climate you live in. Aside from defects present by the manufacturer and any significant damage-causing weather events, your roof should still look almost like new after ten years.

Example: 11-year-old designer asphalt shingle roof

A roof younger than ten years is typically covered within even the lowest warranties offered by most qualified roofing contractors. Additionally, modern roofing materials are usually rated for far longer than ten years.

Average Lifetime of a Roof in Colorado

The lifespan of a roof in Colorado can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of roofing material used, the quality of the installation, the amount of maintenance and care provided, and the weather conditions in the region.

Generally speaking, asphalt shingle roofs, a popular roofing material in Colorado, have an average lifespan of around 20-25 years. However, with proper maintenance and care, they can last longer. Other types of roofing materials, such as metal or tile, can last longer than asphalt shingles, with some lasting up to 50 years or more. However, these materials are typically more expensive and may require more maintenance.

It’s important to note that severe weather events, such as hailstorms, can significantly shorten a roof’s lifespan, regardless of the roofing material used. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning gutters and removing debris, can help extend a roof’s lifespan. Also, proper ventilation and insulation can help prevent damage caused by excessive heat, moisture, and ice buildup. It is recommended to have a professional roofing contractor inspect your roof regularly to identify any issues and address them promptly.

Type of Roofing Material

Installing a solar roofing system may not be an option depending on what type of existing roofing material you have on your home now. If your home is in an HOA, you may not even have the option to put anything besides rack-mounted solar panels on your roof. Many HOAs have clauses in their documents that require each home/unit in the HOA to look a certain way. This means that the roofing system on your roof must be replaced with the same system. Many HOAs require like-for-like when it comes to exterior replacements. For example, if you need to have your roof replaced and you have stone-coated steel on your home now, you will have to go back with stone-coated steel when replacing your roof. 

Example: UnifiedSteel stone-coated roof in an HOA

Rack Mounted over GAF Timberline Solar Roof

Knowing the difference between rack-mounted solar panels and GAF Timberline Solar™ shingles will be vital in deciding which system is right for your home.

Rack-Mounted Solar

Rack-mounted solar panels are a traditional solar energy solution where solar panels are mounted on racks or frames installed on rooftops or ground-mounted systems. These solar panels are usually made of silicon. They are connected to inverters to convert the DC electricity produced by the panels to AC electricity for use in the building or export to the grid.

Example: Rack-mounted solar panels being framed on top of asphalt shingles

Rack-mounted solar panels offer greater flexibility in terms of installation location and angle, which can optimize solar energy production. They are also larger than solar shingles and can generate more electricity per unit of area. However, they may not be as aesthetically pleasing as solar shingles, and the installation process often requires more time and effort.

GAF Timberline Solar™

On the other hand, GAF Timberline Solar™ shingles are a type of building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solution. These solar shingles are designed to replace traditional roofing shingles and are integrated into the roof structure. They contain thin-film solar cells that can generate electricity from the sun and are connected to inverters to convert the DC electricity produced by the cells to AC electricity for use in the building or for exporting to the grid.

Example: GAF Timberline Solar™ shingles being integrated with asphalt shingles

GAF Timberline Solar™ shingles offer a more integrated and visually appealing solution since they blend seamlessly into the roof structure. They are also easier to install and may require less maintenance than rack-mounted solar panels. However, they may not be suitable for all roof types and orientations.

What’s Next?

Going solar is a big commitment and is not something you should go into on a whim. It can be costly, and the steps before and after you contact a solar installer can take large amounts of time. If your home is ready for a new roof, by all means, install a GAF Timberline Solar™ system. If not, rack-mounted should be the way you go.

The team at Holladay Grace has been handpicked by GAF Energy as the first roofing contractor in Colorado Springs to be GAF Solar certified. Since 1979, Holladay Grace has been serving the roofing needs of the Front Range.

Are you interested in solar? Contact us for a free roof inspection today.

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