The sun’s UV rays can damage nearly everything they touch. From human skin to shingles on your roof, you want to do all you can to avoid sun damage. Some of the types of damage to your roof are preventable, while others can’t be avoided. When the damage is bad enough, it’s time to replace the roof.
UV rays can fade your shingles. If you knew what your new shingles looked like, faded shingles are almost ghostly by comparison. Black fades to light gray, dark gray shingles fade to pale gray, etc. They tend to make your home look a lot older and run down than it is, which is why you want to avoid this if you can. If the shingles you have now are already that faded, you can replace the shingles without having to replace the whole roof.
To prevent faded shingles once you have new shingles on the roof, you can request a UV protection coating. The shingles either come that way or the roofing contractor can apply the coating after installation. It’s a quick spray over the whole roof and usually protects them for a year or two. Ask your roofing contractor if he provides this service or can install UV resistant shingles.
Warped, Bent, and Cracked Shingles
The sun’s UV rays can warp, bend, and crack shingles to the point that they look like a tornado hit the roof really hard. Pieces of shingle are barely hanging on, and winds cause the smaller fractured pieces to fall to the ground. This endangers your whole roof because the missing bits, cracks, and warped areas allow a lot of moisture to seep in underneath and rot the materials under the shingles. If left unrepaired, the water damage can cause the roof to sink and collapse or cause major water damage to your ceilings inside.
Regular roof inspections can spot trouble areas before they get worse. Roof maintenance can replace a few trouble shingles to extend the life of your roof. It’s less costly to have these services performed than have to mitigate water damage and replace an entire roof.
Shrinking of the Membrane Under the Shingles
There is a rubber or vinyl membrane underneath the shingles that helps keep water out. Extreme radiation and heat from the UV rays can cause this membrane to shrink. With the shingles nailed down over the top of the membrane, the shrinkage causes shingles to shift and buckle or come loose.
You can prevent the shrinkage of the membrane by having really great ventilation in the roof. The heat that can accumulate in an attic escapes through the vents thereby decreasing the heat that can affect the membrane. It helps to keep the membrane cooler than the outside temperatures, which in turn prevents damage to the shingles that are nailed on top. Attic fans help too.
Other Approaches to Prevent Damage or Protect the Roof
While trees can make a mess in your gutters every fall, they also provide protection from the sun and the heat that can damage a roof. If you plant some tall, fast-growing trees near the house, you can get a lot of coverage for your roof from those trees. Concerns about cleaning leaves out of gutters are resolved by covering the gutters with gutter guards. The leaves can fall from the trees that protect the roof, but the gutter guards prevent the leaves from collecting in the gutters. It’s a win-win.
Another option is to replace your shingles with an entirely different type of roofing material. Metal roofs cannot be damaged by the sun’s UV rays, nor can terra cotta shingles. Highly specialized thermoplastic olefin (TPO) roofing is UV resistant, but the cost isn’t for everyone.
Painting your roof with reflective roof paint sounds odd, but it is a very effective way to protect your roof against the sun. Ask your roofing contractor if he has experience with roof paint and whether or not he provides this service. The roof paint lasts longer than the UV spray on coating, but it isn’t a permanent means of protection over the life of the roof. Ask your contractor what your available options are to keep your roof looking its best and prevent damage.