How often has any one of us thought about risks or considered installation methods when calling our local satellite dish company to set up a service contract and quickly get us “up and running”? (I know that not missing certain segments of QVC programming is pretty important to me.) And maybe it’s just me, but being concerned with how the installation of the satellite dish will affect the integrity of my roof has never entered my mind. Fact is I had no idea I should be worried. After a bit of research I found that in 1996 the FCC determined that receiving satellite images is a basic right. Interesting that the FCC did not then, and still has not, set up any controls or uniformity.
Many people don’t realize that signing a dish service agreement gives the company permission to install/anchor the dish at their discretion. By signing the agreement, you also accept sole responsibility if your roof leaks or not. Remember, satellite dish installers are not professional roofers. Preventing future roof leaks and protecting your roof’s structural components are very likely not your dish installer’s top priorities.
Typical installation of a roof satellite requires drilling holes all the way through it so that lag bolts can be installed to mount the dish. This means the shingles, underlayment, and roof deck that are meant to prevent water from entering your home have been breached. To prevent water from seeping through the open holes in your roof, dish manufacturers recommend that sealants be applied inside the holes, as well as under and around the dish mounting bracket. However, sealants cannot be relied on as the primary line of defense against water intrusion, especially on a roof.
Over time solar radiation, heat, and wind cause sealants to become dry and brittle. Cracks eventually develop and seals break free, allowing water to enter your home.
Things To Be Aware Of
Major dish manufacturers include some of the following warnings about mounting a satellite dish on a roof:
• Roof installation should be done only as a last resort since roof leakage/water damage is a serious risk.
• Roof leaks can result from improper sealing of the dish mount holes. Sealants do not last.
• Over tightening of lag bolts and wind vibrations cause lag bolts to loosen.
• Different dish systems require that additional holes be drilled.
• For flat roof installations do not mount dish where water can pool.
• Dish may not be mounted on shake or slate shingles.
Do Your Homework Before A Dish Is Installed
Roofing companies are concerned about the methods used for dish and antenna installations since the more roof penetrations, the greater the possibility of leaking. Many times these penetrations void roof warrantees. Also, roofs can leak unknown for years until structural damage is discovered. If you determine that a roof installation is your only option, please review the following recommendations:
• Before the dish installer arrives, call Horizon Construction to educate yourself about the latest satellite dish mounting systems available for roofs of all types. Decide if this might be a good choice for you since they are mounted once and used with any dish or antenna system.
• Confirm that your dish installer follows the manufacturer’s roof mounting instructions.
• Verify the mounting bracket is located so that multiple fasteners/bolts go into a truss or rafter.
• Confirm that a rubberized sealant is properly applied under the mounting bracket, along its edges, and inside all drilled holes.