Summer heat can be hard on any surface that’s exposed to it for too long, and your roof is no exception. Just think of the beating it takes day after day exposed to the harsh sun, UV rays, heat, and humidity–not to mention any summer storms that may bring strong winds and rain. This is why you must protect your roof from the elements.
Summer can certainly take a toll on your roof in a number of ways. Understanding the ways that summer heat can negatively affect your roof can help you protect your roof from further damage while addressing existing problems. Consider the following in terms of roof care throughout the summer:
Summer Heat Damage to Roofs
Your roof is exposed to direct sunlight for most, if not all, of the day. Temperatures of asphalt roofs can reach well into the mid-100s on the hottest of summer days; UV rays and heat can affect your roof even on days that are cool and cloudy. That inevitably spells trouble for your roofing materials. Harmful direct sunlight can dry out untreated wood and make it even more brittle, causing it to eventually disintegrate when it’s been exposed for too long.
What’s worse, summer heat can also cause major problems down the line in terms of water damage and leaks. High temperatures can damage waterproofing by drying up oils that keep the roof protected. Few roof types are exempt from this damage, as even the tar paper underneath terracotta tiles can dry out leaving the roof even more susceptible to water damage and leaks.
In general, asphalt shingles are made more brittle by constant sun exposure, making them more likely to break and crack, which will lessen their ability to protect the roof from water. Asphalt shingles can lose granules, making them less waterproof, and also begin curling or become discolored. Even further, once your shingles are in a relatively weakened state, summer storms have the potential to tear shingles off your roof and hit your home with torrential downpours.
One particular threat to rooftops in the summertime is called “thermal shock.” This is when the roof and roofing materials expand and contract constantly as the air around them and the roofing materials themselves increase in temperature during the day and then drop at night or when wet weather comes. This can damage the roofing materials and make them weaker in general.
And lastly, protect your roof from from rot and wood by properly ventilating your attic which keeps out moisture.
Therefore, it’s very clear that roof care in the summer can be a bit of a complicated process since there’s so many things going against the homeowner during hot weather.
Protect Your Roof
Learning how to protect your roof in the summer perhaps requires a bit more attention and awareness than it does during other months simply because there are so many constant factors attacking the durability and longevity of your roof. The first step to avoiding summer heat damage to your roof is by scheduling regular inspections by a licensed roofing professional. Doing so at the beginning of the summer and in all the other seasons–and perhaps even more than once during the summer–will ensure that a set of professional eyes inspect your roof. These professionals will catch potential problem areas in advance so you can begin working on a fix rather than wait for it to get even worse.
A good method for preventing water damage and other similar consequences like mold growth is to install a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier is essentially a way to decrease moisture in the frame of the home, usually in the form of a plastic sheet installed underneath the roofing material. It is impermeable to water and will help add a second layer of protection should your shingles incur any damage through the summer.
Your roofing material also makes a difference, so if you’re in the market for a new roof, consider one that will be able to stay cooler and may be easier to maintain in the changing of the seasons, like clay tile or metal. A choice other than asphalt may be wise, as asphalt often takes more damage in hot temperatures than a sturdier material does.
If replacing your roof with an alternative material is not an option, coating and sealing your asphalt roof to protect it from harmful rays and heat will help reflect some of the sunlight off the roof itself. Sealing your roof will also help protect your roof from water damage.
If you’re not attached to having a black or colored roof, some folks paint their roofs white to help reflect harsh sunlight. This can also help keep your home cooler, in contrast to a black roof which will absorb light at a much higher rate.
Most importantly, self-inspect your roof regularly and especially after thunderstorms. Be aware of any potential or necessary repairs and maintenance needs and be ready to fix them yourself or hire a professional as problems arise, rather than leaving them to get worse throughout the summer.
Summer heat can wreak havoc on your roof and cost you quite a bit of money at the same time. Summer heat can negatively impact your roof by first making your asphalt shingles brittle and weak, causing them to eventually curl up, crack, and leave room for water damage. Summer thunderstorms can further exacerbate this problem. Thermal shock is a particular threat that is hard to address without entirely replacing your roofing material as the constant fluctuation of the temperatures of both the air and roofing materials can cause swelling and contracting that can result in long-term, expensive-to-repair damage.
Being aware and focused on maintaining a strong roof is the best way to avoid roof damage during the summer. Consult with a professional to regularly inspect your roof, and consider installing a vapor barrier before sealing your asphalt roof with a waterproof, reflective sealer. Doing so will ensure you’ve got a strong, healthy roof by the time fall rolls around.