5 Ways Summer Heat Can Affect a Commercial Roof

Kathleen Maxwell

Your roof has escaped the winter storms and spring hail, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally safe. For commercial roofs, summer can bring serious problems as extreme heat and high humidity put a strain on its structure and materials.

Unlike major cracks or leaks caused by other types of extreme weather, heat damage can be hard to identify. To prevent long-term roof problems, it’s important to perform self-inspections during the summer and to have a professional roofing company to make regular evaluations.

Here are five things to look for when the summer heat has started to bear down on your roof:

  1. Thermal Shock—Commercial roofs are constantly exposed to sunlight and can reach more than 180 degrees on hot summer days. When the sun goes down, the roof temperature rapidly decreases. This quick temperature change can cause problems as your roof materials quickly expand during the day and contract at night. This severe temperature change is known as thermal shock, and it can cause your roof to warp or create gaps over time.
  1.  Sun Damage—Just as UV rays can gradually damage your skin, they can also damage your roof. The sun degrades materials on the roof if they aren’t properly treated, bleaching or blackening the roof. Wood and shingles are particularly vulnerable to damage.
  2.  Drying—Roof heating can also dry out the oils in some roof materials. When roof linings or structural materials get dry, they become brittle and can crack. If left untreated, those fractures can damage the structural integrity of the roof or degrade its waterproofing materials and cause leaks.
  3. High Humidity—High heat combined with high humidity is one of the biggest risks to a commercial roof. When a roof has expanded, due to high heat, it can absorb additional moisture. In places like the Southeast, where the summers tend to be humid, commercial roofs are at high risk for retaining moisture. Water patches can cause leaks and, if left unfixed, can lead to roof collapses.
  4. Popped Seams and Loose Screws—The combination of high heat, harsh UV rays, and an expansion and contraction of the roof surface can lead to popped roof seams and loose screws. Penetrations like skylights and vents are hot spots for this type of damage.

The key to beating the summer heat is to schedule ongoing roof maintenance and evaluate your roof’s vulnerability. To learn more about how Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. can protect your roof, contact us today


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