Homeowners typically do not think about their home’s roof unless they have a problem with it –a leak, storm damage, missing shingles, etc. Roofs are also typically an afterthought or project line item during construction or home renovation.  Consequently, many homeowners default to their builder’s or architect’s recommendation on roofing styles and materials.  Rather than selecting the default option, homeowners can make choices early on that can reduce costs, conflicts, and issues associated with future repairs and renovations.  A bit of time devoted to planning for the future can reap benefits down the line in terms of roof design and roofing materials.  Certain roofing styles and materials, for example, will make subsequent installation of daylighting products such as the Solatube Daylighting Systems much easier and reduce cost while leading to fewer roofing problems as the home ages.


Roofing Styles

The majority of residential homes typically have some type of a slanted (pitched) roof, rather than flat.  The slope of a slanted roof will vary as a function of the house’s style and design. Larger and more complex/custom homes might combine different slopes and roofing materials.  

roof improvementsMost non-custom home roofs have a single slope that ranges between a 4:12 or 6:12 pitch.  A 4:12 pitched roof rises 4 vertical inches for every 12 horizontal inches.  A 6:12 roof is steeper, rising 6 vertical inches for every 12 horizontal inches.  These pitches are considered ‘walkable’ by most industry professionals; however, the type of roofing material used will impact walkability.  For example, metal roofing makes maneuvering on lower pitched roofs more difficult and dangerous.  Builders and architects can design homes with steeper or shallower pitches.

When selecting a roof style, homeowners need to balance visual appeal with performance and cost.  A steeper pitched roof sheds water and other precipitation more effectively, but it also increases the risks and difficulties of working on the roof.  Increased roof pitch can require the use of specialized safety equipment for workers, which increases labor costs.  Solatube professional installation technicians will need to exercise more care when working on a steeply-pitched roof.


Roofing Materials

roofing materialsThere are a wide variety of roofing materials available to homeowners.  Roofing material types can be a function of the house’s style and its geographical location.  Asphalt shingle is the most common roofing material because of its relatively low cost, durability, and ease of installation.  Installation of Solatube Daylighting Systems is easier with shingle roofs.  Other types of roofing materials include metal (exposed fastener and standing seam), wood shake (predominantly cedar), rubber (flat or near-flat surfaces), clay tile, and slate, to name just a few.  Slate has long been the roofing material of choice for homes in many New England states and in other historic areas.  Slate’s classic appearance and durability has extended its appeal throughout the country.  Installation of Solatube systems on a slate or cedar shake roof; however, is best done by professional installation technicians who understand how to work with those materials without compromising the integrity of the roof.

Curved Spanish-style clay tiles and flat concrete tiles are popular roofing choices in the southwestern United States and in other geographic regions that experience intense sunlight. Lastly, a flat roof will typically have a gravel or rolled asphalt surface. Using specialized installation techniques and flashing materials, Solatube has been installing its Daylighting Systems on clay and flat roofs since inception in the 1980s.  


Flashing Material and Installation Process

Successful installation of Solatube Daylighting Systems, or any other product that breaches a roof’s seal, is heavily dependent on selecting the proper flashing materials that work with the specific type of roof.  A flashing is a preformed sheet metal barrier that is installed between the roof and the product being installed.  Solatube products use a heavy gauge metal flashing for superior durability (not tin, aluminum, or rubber as the other items that are standard on roofs).  The Solatube flashing is dipped completely in aluminum for corrosion protection, and then a thermoplastic outer protective surface is applied for unmatched corrosion protection.  

To complement the metal flashing, Solatube’s installation process includes use of construction grade adhesive sealant between flashing and roof surfaces for immediate and continuous water barrier, even in cold and moist environments.  Additionally, galvanized deck screws are used to secure the flashing to the roof decking instead of nails.  Screws ensure high winds and severe weather will not dislodge the flashing and allow water penetration.  Any roof materials immediately around the flashing are secured with more adhesive sealant.  Lastly, any exposed flashing screw heads are covered with adhesive sealant to ensure no chance of moisture wicking into the attic.  Solatube’s installation process is effective and guaranteed all year long in both hot and cold temperatures seasons.  

installing a solatube daylighting system

A Solatube installation technician is specially trained to recommend the best flashing product for the roof style and roofing material on any home.  For example, some flashing materials are flexible and can be molded to mirror the curved surfaces of a Spanish-style clay tile roof.  Other flashing materials are pre-formed and angled to match the pitch of a roof.  Thus, the type and pitch of roof on a homeowner’s house is particularly important when selecting the correct flashing material for products that will be installed through that roof.


Green Home Ohio is a premier distributor and installer of Solatube daylighting and other renewable energy products for residential applications. Our installation technicians will assess an existing home or a proposed design for feasibility to recommend the best products and techniques to make your daylighting dreams a reality.

Please call Green Home Ohio at 614-561-6432 to
schedule an in-home consultation or for answers to your questions.