Can Your Roof Beat The Heat?

Summer is here and the temperatures are on the rise.  For most of us, summer is a time full of sun and family fun.  But for a roof, they put up quite a battle. We don’t usually stop and think about how it is affected by the extreme heat the summer brings.  Being aware of the ways heat may affect the shingles, you can prolong the life and performance of your roof.

How your home is situated can play a role in the amount of sun exposure your roof receives.  A roof shaded from trees will not hold as much heat as a roof that is exposed to direct sunlight.  

Heat:

Continuous exposure to the suns UV rays and heat can make a heavy impact on a roof.  Over time, shingles may dry out and crack leading to leak prone areas. The shingles may also cup, blister or curl up on the edges.  The shingles lose their granulation and their protection ability from the elements. These are common problems that are usually caused from inadequate ventilation and poor quality roofing materials.  

Solution – Ensuring that a roof is properly ventilated can promote a healthy lifespan for any roof.  Attics trap in heat, and if there is not a way to release the trapped heat buildup, the shingles ‘bake’ from underneath.  Proper installation of ventilation is also necessary as this type of damage is not covered by insurance policies. If a roof is installed/replaced and there is not adequate ventilation not only will the performance of the roof diminish over a shorter period of time, the manufacturer will not warranty the shingle.  It is always wise to have a roofing contractor perform yearly inspections and ensure that your roof is adequately ventilated and the shingles are performing as they should. They will also be able to help you choose a quality roofing product that is designed to hold up to the elements.    

Color:

Believe it or not, but the type and color of material you choose to place on your roof can make a big impact on the energy performance of your home and your roof.  Darker color roofs attract and absorb more sun and UV rays. 

While many choose a roof for their aesthetic appeal, some choose it to be more energy efficient.  Choosing a roof with a lighter color will help reflect the UV rays rather than a darker roof color which will absorb them.  This encourages better indoor air temperatures with cooler attics which helps reduce the strain placed on air conditioning units.  Choosing a synthetic roofing material rather than an asphalt shingle can also lead to better performance.  

Moisture:

In the Midwest region, we are constantly battling the heat and humidity.  Humidity is the amount of water vapor present in the air and warm air holds more moisture.  As the heat and humidity rises, the warm air can cause the wood decking, rafters and joists to swell.  If there is inadequate ventilation, moisture trapped in an attic or crawl space can condensate which may cause mold and mildew buildup on the roof decking and rafters. Damaged shingles or flashings that allow warm air to pass through can lead to condensation buildup as well.  

Solution – Adequate ventilation is the key factor yet again.  Exhaust vents such as ‘Whirlybirds’ or ridge vent allow the hot air to escape a home while intake vents (usually found in the soffit) allow air to flow in and push the hot air out through the exhaust vents.  This again keeps moisture out and allows air conditioning units to work with less exhaustion.  

If you are noticing condensation buildup or mold and mildew issues on your decking, have a roofing contractor work with you to improve your ventilation system.  

Having your local roofing contractor perform seasonal inspections and inspections after large storms will also help ensure that your roof is water tight and performing properly.  Proper maintenance is key to the longevity of a roofing system.