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Building & Brickwork / DIY Guides

Inspecting Your Roof for Damage After a Hot Summer

Inspecting Your Roof for Damage After a Hot SummerWhen thinking about roof damage, the usual thing that comes to mind is how well your roof is holding up after a bout of heavy winds, rain storms, or snow and ice. But while winter is hard on roofs, summer can bring its fair share of problems as well, especially in climates where both summer and winter tend towards the extreme.

Here are some things to think about when you inspect your roof for damage, which is something you should do every spring and fall. The last thing you need is to go into extreme cold weather with a leaking roof.


Sun Damage

We are all familiar with the concept of sun damaged skin, but it can also have a detrimental effect on your roof. This kind of weathering is going to happen no matter what, but it’s important to understand what happens and why.

The UV rays that the sun emits can dry up the oils in your shingles, making them brittle, and causing the tiles to crack or warp. High heat can worsen the effects of UV rays. It’s worth noting that the colour of your roof can make a big difference in terms of how much heat it retains – white tiles retain 10–15% less heat than black tiles, so if you’re in a sunny climate, it might be worth the investment to switch.

The material used can also make a difference; metal is better than asphalt in terms of its resistance to sun damage.

The heat can also cause shingles to expand, leading to cracking and splitting when they are overly dry. At night, as things cool off, the tiles contract, and this constant process of increasing and decreasing in size can cause damage over time, a process known as thermal shock.

Warping and cracking tiles are bad news, because cracks can let in water and cause extensive damage to your roof deck if not caught in time, and warps can cause similar issues as the tile bends and loses its snug fit with its surrounding tiles.

Tile decay tends to occur more often with older tiles, and things to watch for are signs of deformation or rot, or missing chunks. Once this happens it’s best to get your roof repairs done as soon as possible.


A Note About Attics

Bear in mind that it’s not just your roof tiles that can be damaged by the heat. What’s inside your roof space can also have issues. Like it does with tiles, heat makes other materials to expand, and this can cause problems with your attic setup.

For example, windows can be damaged when too much pressure builds up around them, or the insulation seal can break in between double- or triple-paned windows. If this happens, the window will need to be replaced as its thermal barrier will be compromised.

Make sure that you have a decent amount of insulation, which can be important in the summer as it is in the winter, and adequate ventilation and airflow throughout your home, ideally controlled by an HVAC system.


Go Pro or DIY?

While you can of course inspect your roof yourself, there are various reasons why you should think very carefully about this. You will need to have the right equipment if you’re going to be able to do it safely, and if you’re not experienced at carefully checking roofs for damage, you might miss some key problems that need to be taken care of.

So it might be best to leave the inspection to a qualified professional roofing company, for various reasons: they have the experience, they have the equipment, and they have insurance in case of accidental damage. The last thing you want is to put a foot through your own roof by mistake, after all.

Regardless of who inspects the roof, they should be looking for very specific things. Your home should have at least 3 feet of leak barrier, an underlayment to repel ice and water. Leaks obviously need to be checked out, and any missing shingles can cause leaks to occur as well.

Rot and mould are often associated with water damage or dark spots with trails. Structural damage (i.e., roof deck sagging or natural light showing through) is a big problem, and shingle deterioration, as mentioned above, is also an issue. If you or your inspector notices any of these, it’s time to get some roof repairs before you need an umbrella in your living room.

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