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How Heat Affects Your Home’s Roof

Dark metal roof in summer heat

With every passing season, your roof undergoes immense amounts of stress. The summer months can be especially hard on it as temperatures climb, sometimes into triple-digits!

So how does heat affect your roof and what are the repercussions if left untreated?


The Damage Heat Can Cause 

Your roof is a protective shield against the elements. Although heat might not come to mind as a serious threat, it can degrade the shield that protects your home from major structural problems.

As temperatures fluctuate, your roof and the structuring of your home will expand and contract. When this occurs rapidly, those materials can lose their elasticity and crack. This is called thermal shock.  

UV rays are another damaging element to be aware of. Even on an overcast day, your roof is bombarded by the powerful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Over time, they can dry out the oils in your roofing materials and reduce their waterproof properties.

Left untreated, your roof can even begin to split and crack. The long, bright days of summer only increase the potential for UV damage. Now, your home is vulnerable to other natural elements mother nature throws its way during other seasons. This can lead to leaks, flooding, mold, and worse structural damages.


Roof Damage in Different Regions

The damage sustained by your roof in the summer will vary vastly due to your location and climate. Levels of humidity and average temperatures can play a role in issues that may arise. 

For instance, those in a high humidity climate such as Florida must consider condensation and the toll it can take on their roof. Hot, humid days can cause moisture to collect beneath the roofing materials and lead to wood rot, mold, and damage to the structural elements of the roof. This can seriously threaten the comfort and safety of your home.

Homeowners in Colorado, on the other hand, have their own unique set of factors to consider. With weather conditions changing by the hour on some days, thermal shock is certainly an area of concern.

UV damage is a huge risk factor as well with an average 300 days of sunshine in Colorado throughout the year. Additionally, Colorado experiences a grievous amount of hail during the summer months. Like the effects of heat, hail damage isn’t always immediately recognizable. Together, fractures and indentations from hail and the effects of heat can reduce the lifespan of a roof’s shingles.

With this drastic change in the weather elements during the hottest months of the year, it’s no wonder so many Coloradan homeowners are seeking professional assistance.


How Heat Damages Different Roofing Materials

There are a number of different materials you can choose from to protect your roof. The potential for heat damage will look different depending on which material you select. 

Asphalt Shingles

This is one of the most common types that make up the part of the roof that’s both seen and affected by elements the most. Heat can crack and shrink asphalt shingles. It can also cause damage to the flashing as the joist expands which can lead to water leaking through.

Clay and Concrete 

Clay and concrete roofs are built to withstand heat. But even still, the sun can cause them to grow brittle and faded over time. Those that select this material should also be wary of other maintenance issues that may arise.

Metal

This is another roofing material that fairs well in the heat. But a phenomenon known as “oil canning” – the visible waviness in metal panels – can arise when the roof isn’t properly installed. If there’s not sufficient space to allow for thermal expanding and contracting of the panels, you may notice stress wrinkles in your roof. 


How Can I Keep My Roof From Getting Hot 

After all this talk on heat damage, we’re sure you’re wondering about methods to keep your roof cooler in the summer months. There are several ways to go about doing this. 

One option is to stick with a roofing material that retains less heat. Clay and concrete roofs reflect heat while asphalt tends to retain it. Metal roofs, contrary to what you may assume, do a great job of reflecting light and heat due to their low thermal mass. 

The color of your roof can also determine the heat it retains. As you probably know, lighter colors reflect the sun’s rays while darker colors retain them. If you opt for, say a dark brown roof, you are more likely to draw in more heat to your roof. Again, the roof material also matters and can either retain more heat or reflect it depending on the color and type of roofing material.


Protect Your Roof

As your roof ages, the potential for heat damage increases, especially in the wild climate of Colorado. How is your roof shaping up? If you’re living in Northern Colorado and you’d like a free roof inspection, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of local and licensed roofers. We’re pros at understanding the effects of heat damage to your roof. Even if you can’t see it, we can!

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