The Effects of UV Light on Commercial Roofs

January 17, 2020 12:44 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The roof is one of the most important features on any building. Not only does it help hold the structure together, it’s designed to serve as the first line of defense against the elements. For instance, a building with a failing or cheaply constructed roof won’t be able to withstand the sun’s heat and radiation all too well, let alone protect you and the things inside your building. The reality is that UV radiation from the sun can damage a roof system over time, creating energy inefficiency in most any climate.

As the building owner, it’s up to you to get in the know about the different roofing materials and designs that can stand strong against the sun’s harsh and damaging UV rays. The key is to choose a roof that’s built to last, rather than one that will need to be repaired or replaced very often.

No matter how much or how little sun you get, proper care and maintenance is necessary. Below is an outline of the effects of UV light on roofs in Springfield, MA.

The sun and your roof

The ultraviolet light emitted by the sun degrades roofing materials over time. Living in a mild climate still yields UV light damage to roofs. Because there is no actual sunscreen protection for roofs, it’s crucial that building owners choose the right roof for their building based on the area they are located in from the start.

There are a few things to keep in mind when picking a new roof for your building. Compared to light-colored roofs, black roofs absorb sunlight instead of reflecting it. Darker roofs get hotter faster and stay that way for longer than light roofs. As such, your cooling bills will be higher in the summer months—especially if there is not an adequate amount of insulation installed. On the other hand, a white or light roof membrane can reflect sunlight directly onto walls and facades with double intensity. The double reflectivity effect is known to concentrate the heat and accelerate UV-related roof degradation, which can hasten material breakdown.

UV on roofing materials

Be it a cloudy day or a bright sunny day, UV radiation alters the chemical makeup of asphalt shingles. During this breakdown, the oily moisture of the material evaporates. Shingles become brittle and prone to cracking and other damage. At nightfall, the heat disappears and the roof shrinks back to its original state. As this cycle repeats, the roof structure weakens while metal gutters and flashing expand and contract. Asphalt shingles pulling away can lead to water damage.

Another roofing option is metal. Metal roofs can withstand UV light better than traditional asphalt shingles, but the best option for you depends on the climate where you live. However, metal is still prone to a certain level of thermal shock. There’s also rubber. Some building owners like EPDM rubber membrane roofing systems, as they have a long lifespan and experience few negative side effects from UV light exposure.

Regularly scheduled professional maintenance can slow the effects of sun on roofs in Springfield, MA. Call R & H Roofing, LLP today to learn more!

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