New techniques for solar mounting and flashing can save time on rooftops

In this special edition of Contractor’s Corner, solar mounting and racking manufacturer SnapNrack talks about its new, Miami-Dade-approved mounting solution that does away with cumbersome metal flashing. Below is a portion of the company’s Solar Spotlight podcast with Solar Power World, but be sure to listen to the full episode here or on your favorite podcast app to learn more about SnapNrack’s work to speed up and eliminate steps in the installation process.

Tell us about your SpeedSeal Technology and how it’s different from other products on the market.

SpeedSeal is not one specific product, we like to say it’s a technology. Within that technology, we’ve applied it to different roof attachments for composition shingles. Legacy systems out there generally use a metal flashing seal, and I like to say a metal flashing on a comp shingle roof is more of a passive seal. You can have issues in there with high winds or low slopes and combinations thereof, where water can work its way back.

To install that flashing, you see guys up there with pry bars; you have to put the flashings in between the layers of the composition shingle. To do that right, you have to pop up little nails and that exposes the nail holes. If you work through the actual installation instructions, you know you’re supposed to seal the nail holes, but installers don’t always do that.

The SpeedSeal Technology is not a passive system, I like to say it’s an active system. Instead of relying on that passive sheet metal flashing, we’re relying on what we call lag-driven sealant geometry within our mounts.

So we call it an integrated flashing, taking that flashing functionality and integrating it into our mounts themselves. We’ve basically created this active seal all around the mounting hardware that you apply, and there’s no disruption to the roof whatsoever. We’re not shoving pry bars in there; we’re not messing with those shingles.

How do these attachments help installers do their jobs better? 

It’s really speed and efficiency. If you watch install crews, there’s usually one guy or gal that’s running around and shoving all these flashings in and then somebody else is coming back behind them and putting down the L Foot mounts. So what we’ve done is eliminated this damage that they’d have to go back and fix. We’ve also eliminated this whole process in the installation of going and stuffing in flashing.

SpeedSeal is basically a surgical approach to doing your install. Basically no wasted operations or actions. It’s just a much cleaner install, it’s a much nicer install, at the end of the day, it saves a lot of time on the roof and in the field.

How did you test and validate this solution?

We started off with doing all of our wind-driven rain tests, and then we went into submersion testing. The other piece of it this that’s really I would hope to be unique to us is all of the structural testing. We do structural testing for our product, which is necessary to come up with our spans and things like that in our structural engineering.

We’ve done all of our homework and done a lot of our own internal validations to make sure this thing performs and works well under a wide variety of loads.

Can you tell me more about your Miami-Dade approval?

When you get into actually installing in Miami-Dade and that jurisdiction specifically, they usually will require you to have a Miami-Dade-approved product. There’s a really small list of products that are Florida-approved, and there’s an even smaller list of products that have actually been evaluated by the Miami-Dade AHJ, and we are on that list.

Having this approval means that installers who use the SpeedSeal can streamline their permitting process so they no longer have to go in and have a site-specific set of engineering plans. They can rely on our standard off-the-shelf engineering and that Miami-Dade approval. It speeds up and enables installations in that specific market, but it also lends huge credibility to the technology that we’ve been installing for years.

This podcast is sponsored by SnapNrack