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Solar Roof Installation Tips

dhquigley

Member
May 21, 2020
85
41
Brookeville, MD
Just spoke with the lead of the Tesla team that did my install a few weeks ago. He said they had not received the new underlayment at that time but I got the impression they are using it now. Said they made the switch for two reasons: 1. They do not need to overlap and can put it down in single ply; and 2. It has a texture on it to allow them to move around easier. I think we had guessed the second reason. The first one probably saves them some money and may give a more uniform look on top of it. Asked about the "no residential use" issue. Will post any response there.
 

MXDogCrate

Member
Aug 27, 2018
118
36
California
Thanks for all the research here. Slight bend in the story again.

The sub showed up only to collect his gear and supplies after stating they would install the underlayment. Tesla showed up shortly after with a crew of six saying they would take over. This team is only here to install the underlayment.

Spoke to the crew chief(not our PM) regarding the underlayment. He stated that he thought the FT was UL rated and would take a closer look at his spec sheet.

Called FT Synthetics. The fellow I spoke to said the FT COLBALT FR is not the Colbalt Ultra. The FT COLBALT FR is a Tesla specific product and is UL-rated. I should have figured out that the FR means fire rated.
 
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MXDogCrate

Member
Aug 27, 2018
118
36
California
Anyone want to see what the new underlayment looks like?

It’s branded with Tesla, so that corroborates with FT Synthetics account about it being custom for Tesla.

It’s fabric...and it’s thick.

From other thread...
 

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MXDogCrate

Member
Aug 27, 2018
118
36
California
Our Lead was not on site today. Bummer. He definitely knew what he was talking about. I’m a process person and I definitely prefer solid institutional knowledge on the project.

Progress.
 

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TSleuths

Member
Mar 30, 2020
19
18
Canada
Normally an installer would need a reason to put on 2 layers but they don't really tell us what that reason was.. perhaps waterproofness? The Firestone underlayment is specified to install only 1 layer to get the class A fire rating which allows Tesla to be UL compliant right? So someone made the decision to install 2 layers using the 'half & half' method which worked very well to keep things waterproof. Then someone else decided, without giving reason, to only install one layer of the China brand which is expected to have better traction.

The issue with the "No residential' for the Firestone is the manufacturer specifies it is for no residential use and as an underlayment for metal and it is within the UL family. So Tesla has likely been forced to switch to the China brand and experiment with underlayments as displayed on the Electrek house. Also notice they used 2 color tones of generic unmarked underlayment which is likely not FR rated and only a single layer. Then above it appears the Firestone is 2 layers thick. Also, the underlayment was installed without any exposed nails. I think that is because the system uses the underlayment as a primary covering as it is exposed to some of the elements (water & air) during the life of the solar product.
 

marty2112

Member
Apr 6, 2015
287
206
Petaluma, CA
We have the same Tesla branded underlayment. Current roof install in progress now. Sticky as hell and a pretty cool fabric/material.

Attached a few in progress pics.
 

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MXDogCrate

Member
Aug 27, 2018
118
36
California
We have the same Tesla branded underlayment. Current roof install in progress now. Sticky as hell and a pretty cool fabric/material.

Attached a few in progress pics.
Marty2112...Thanks for posting your pictures. We’re at the same point in our project. Your roof is going to look great! Keep posting pictures!

These guys really work hard. The last two days they’ve arrived at 7:45am and leave around 6:00pm. Tonight the crew left at 5:40pm then returned 50 minutes later. They had seen a forecast for 10% chance of rain and they came back to cover a small exposed area.
 
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marty2112

Member
Apr 6, 2015
287
206
Petaluma, CA
Officially Day 4....Crazy busy! Crew is amazing and making great progress. I love all their attention to the details. They have a few extra guys that are new, so stressing safety and "measure twice, cut once" approach.

PW was installed earlier this year, so that's a positive.

We also are replacing all our windows so it is truly controlled chaos...loving it.
 

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jboy210

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,489
3,480
Northern California
Officially Day 4....Crazy busy! Crew is amazing and making great progress. I love all their attention to the details. They have a few extra guys that are new, so stressing safety and "measure twice, cut once" approach.

PW was installed earlier this year, so that's a positive.

We also are replacing all our windows so it is truly controlled chaos...loving it.

Looks like a lot of progress. Also good to see that everyone is wearing a harness. I heard subs can get dropped for not wearing them on a Tesla job.

And BTW, that is the nicest looking garage I have ever seen. So clean and neat. And the PW blends right in.
 

MXDogCrate

Member
Aug 27, 2018
118
36
California
Marty...your roof is looking great! And your garage! Sadly, my garage looks like the opposite. We need more storage...or less stuff. Probably less stuff.

JBoy210, our tear off crew were mostly not harnessed. I’m glad they’re wearing harnesses. We’re only one story and not very high off the ground. Honestly, watching them yesterday, I was thinking, “If he falls, he’s swinging back right through the front window. He might have been better off allowing our landscaping to break his fall.”

They are placing most of the non-solar tiles first. The completed section you see has no solar at all. The designers said the area was too small.

A little worried about how shiny the roof is going to be.

This is a great crew.
 

MXDogCrate

Member
Aug 27, 2018
118
36
California
I started here asking for tips, but now I’ll give one:

Scan, scan, scan your driveway and street gutters for nails, screws and large staples lest you want to replace your car tires. We’ve had two nails in our Model X previous to this project and both times Tesla has said the tire cannot be repaired due to the weight of the car.

It’s become an early evening ritual with a cocktail. Scan and sip. ;)
 

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jboy210

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,489
3,480
Northern California
I started here asking for tips, but now I’ll give one:

Scan, scan, scan your driveway and street gutters for nails, screws and large staples lest you want to replace your car tires. We’ve had two nails in our Model X previous to this project and both times Tesla has said the tire cannot be repaired due to the weight of the car.

It’s become an early evening ritual with a cocktail. Scan and sip. ;)

The guys on our team ran a magnet sweeper like this one around the perimeter, driveway, and even lawn areas every day. It did a pretty good job getting most of the excess screws and nails. But I still ended up picking up a 1/2 coffee can full at the end of the project.

Another thing to check is your gutters before and after the first rains. There were a lot of screws and metal scrapes that get washed into the gutters.
 

DagonR

Member
Oct 14, 2020
5
0
Melbourne, FL
MXDogCrate and Marty2112
Curious, do you know if your design document stated Firestone underlayment? Do you know if the design documents submitted with your permit application was changed to state FT COLBALT FR? Does anyone know if that even matters?

I know my design documents still all say Firestone underlayment.
 

marty2112

Member
Apr 6, 2015
287
206
Petaluma, CA
MXDogCrate and Marty2112
Curious, do you know if your design document stated Firestone underlayment? Do you know if the design documents submitted with your permit application was changed to state FT COLBALT FR? Does anyone know if that even matters?

I know my design documents still all say Firestone underlayment.

No mention of the type of underlayment. My contract and design were signed back in February....
 

marty2112

Member
Apr 6, 2015
287
206
Petaluma, CA
The guys on our team ran a magnet sweeper like this one around the perimeter, driveway, and even lawn areas every day. It did a pretty good job getting most of the excess screws and nails. But I still ended up picking up a 1/2 coffee can full at the end of the project.

Another thing to check is your gutters before and after the first rains. There were a lot of screws and metal scrapes that get washed into the gutters.

Agree. The magnet roller is always full at the end of the day...

We walk around the house every night picking up stray nails, screws, metal clipping. The crew does a good job cleaning each afternoon, but they can't get them all. Always make sure the driveway is clear.

Someone must like Johnny Cash!
 

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wwu123

Member
Apr 11, 2017
425
350
Silicon Valley, CA
Officially Day 4....Crazy busy! Crew is amazing and making great progress. I love all their attention to the details. They have a few extra guys that are new, so stressing safety and "measure twice, cut once" approach.

PW was installed earlier this year, so that's a positive.

We also are replacing all our windows so it is truly controlled chaos...loving it.

Sorry to go a bit off-topic, but your garage looks great - what is the brand of your wallmount cabinets and toolchests? Hanging cabinets are plentiful, but I've been looking for wallmount drawer toolchests, which are hard to find...
 

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