sun shining on roof

Sun Damage on Roofs: How and Why

Here in Colorado, we’re well-acquainted with the sun.

After all, our state has an especially high number of sunny days per year. And, as much fun as it is to get out and enjoy some time in the sun, direct sunlight can wreak havoc on roofing materials like shingles, membranes, flashing, and tile.

It’s not so much the visible sunlight that is to blame for most of the damage our roofs endure here in Colorado. It’s the ultraviolet (UV) radiation that is especially destructive. Over time, UV radiation breaks down the chemical bonds that keep roofing materials together; even the most well-built shingles or commercial roofing will succumb to the cumulative damage caused by UV exposure.

When this happens, it’s just a matter of time before water leaks start to expose the UV-related roof damage.

In this article, the roofing experts at A-to-Z Roofing & Exteriors are sharing some information about how to detect sun damage on a roof. And, we’ll be giving you some tips for how to protect your roofing investment by using products and procedures that go a long way in fighting the destructive effects of sunlight.

How to Detect Sun Damage on Roofs

Wind, heavy rain, snow, and hail all do their part to degrade roofs over time.

Sun damage is a bit trickier to detect, as it can develop over long stretches of time. And, unless you know exactly what to look for early on, irreversible sun damage can set in without much warning at all.

Some of the most common visual signs of sun damage on roofs include:

  • Bleached surfaces. Most roofing materials are pigmented, meaning they have coloration engineered into them. Constant UV exposure will fade the surfaces of Colorado roofs, and the result will be a lightened, bleached color.
  • Crumbled shingles. Often, sun damage on your roof can present as crumbled shingles or granules that make their way onto your driveway, lawn, or near gutters and downspouts. These crumblings can look like coarse grains of black sand, and they’re a sign that immediate action should be taken to address the problem.
  • Warping or curling of shingles. On especially hot days, the thermal effects of sunlight can compound with the destructive effects of UV radiation to result in shingle warping or curling. When this happens, the underlying areas of the roof can be exposed to moisture.
  • Corroded metal surfaces. Flashing is the term used to describe metal stripping that is often used to seal roof boundaries. This flashing is mostly composed of galvanized steel, which is quite resilient in the face of ongoing direct sunlight. However, nothing lasts forever, and even galvanized steel can be broken down over time given enough direct sunlight exposure.
sun damage on roof

Once sun damage on roofs in Colorado gets bad enough, it’s only a matter of time before a much costlier problem arises. If you suspect your roof might be weakening because of the effects of the sun, don’t delay in scheduling an inspection by a qualified roofing technician.

How to Protect Your Roof from Sun Damage

There are some steps you can take to help stave off the inevitable damage that the sun will do to rooftops in Colorado.

Applying a roof coating is a great way to extend the life of your roof. However, not all roof types are candidates for roof coatings, and it’s probably not a DIY project you want to take on yourself.

The proper roof coating, applied professionally, can last for 10-15 years and can go a long way in protecting the underlying roofing material from premature sun damage.

Choose reflective or ‘green’ roofing materials. This is more applicable to flat or low-slope roofs, where lighter-colored membranes can be used. These lighter shades act as a kind of mirror for solar thermal energy, reflecting it back instead of absorbing it.

Heat combined with UV radiation is a recipe for disaster for virtually any material, and when reflective roofing material is used, the overall lifespan of the roof can be significantly extended.

Consult with a roofing expert. No two Colorado roofs are exactly the same, and each one requires a specific approach to protecting it from the elements. For this reason, it’s important to consult with a qualified roofing expert who can inspect your roof, determine its condition, and make recommendations for steps to take to help ensure that your roof lasts as long as possible and provides adequate protection for decades to come.

To learn more or to schedule a free, on-site inspection, contact us today.

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