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marin county roof, solar

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: Apr 9 2006

We replaced and insulated our tar and gravel roof in Lucas Valley this year and then installed solar panels this February. We interviewed several foam roofing companies that do work up here (at least at that time, Randy at Durafoam wasn't doing roofs this far north) and were very nervous about that choice.

We finally chose to use rigid foam/plywood insulation with a bitumen roof provided by a great roofer here in San Rafael and we have been very happy. Our house is a dual A-frame style and for financial reasons we chose to do half the job last spring and were so happy we went into debt to have the same roofer (who we liked a lot) do the rest of it this winter. The insulation (which I believe comes in 4x8 sheets of insulation topped with plywood) was installed under a modified bitumen-type membrane, on the flat part, and under asphalt shingles, on the A-frame over our living room. It was remarkable, last summer, to walk between the comfortable insulated half and the boiling hot uninsulated half. We've been much more comfortable this winter also. On the roof, we used to have big ponds and now we have none, partly because we asked them to put a gentle slope in the flat roof (which is not visible). On the first half, we did get some very small ponding areas and these were fixed very nicely by the roofer.

We later decided to install a small photovoltaic system on the flat part of the roof and discovered this worked really well with the bitumen/rigid foam roofing. Our roofer was consulted about this and he assured us that having the workers walk on the roof while they installed it would not be any problem.

We did have the option of having the roofer set in the supports for the solar panels while re-roofing. Instead, we chose to use a racking system designed for flat roofs that doesn't require any fastening through the roof - it uses a small amount of ballast and it is supposed to withstand winds to 110 mph. It also means if we want to move the panels someday, removing them will not be a cosmetic problem.

We'd be happy to answer any questions about this and we do recommend that Eichler owners in Marin county check out this type of roof when thinking about insulating.

Joined: Apr 18 2006

We live in Lucas Valley too and are considering a similar roof project. Would appreciate your tips and recommendations. Please contact us at: Thanks

Joined: Apr 20 2006

The ballasted solar framework sounds like a great idea. The usual plan to put many, many supports through a roof should give any intelligent person some worry.

I'm glad everything worked out well for you.

Joined: Oct 6 2003

Hi - We are considering a solar panel system with ballasted mounts. Could you tell us the brand you used and/or who installed it for you. Thanks.

Joined: Jul 3 2007

Hi can you email me the name of the roofer that you used in San Rafael and the type of roof you did

Thanks In advance


Joined: Aug 18 2008

We will be replacing our T&G roof this spring and are considering the type of roof you had installed. Would love to hear how the roof is performing several years later and the name of the contractor that you liked so well.
Thank you.

Joined: Sep 7 2009

H, Can you give me the name of your rigid foam roofer in san rafael that you used? We wish to add solar later as well to our terra linda flat roof eichler, but not have any additional punctures during our re-roof this coming spring, we have some small leaks starting on our 15 yr tar and gravel roof... fingers crossed til spring.

thanks for any additional commernts about the roofing that you chose, is it still holding well, etc.

Joined: Oct 6 2003

Hi AGain - Can you provide me with some information on the ballasted solor system. Please email me at


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