How the Sun Can Affect Your Roof

Work in progress EPDM installation

When you think of roof damage caused by the weather, you’ll likely think of wind, rain and storms. But did you know that the sun can also have a large effect on the health of your roof?

We are all aware of how the sun can affect your skin, and it is quite similar for roofs. Different roofing types are affected in different ways by it, but long-term, exposure to the sunlight can decrease the lifespan of many roofs. Although sunshine isn’t always expected in the UK, it is important to be aware of how this kind of weather can impact your roof.

How Does it Have an Effect?

Roofs are designed to withstand a variety of weather conditions. But there are still ways in which the weather can speed up the wear and tear process. For the sun, there are a few ways in which your roof can be affected. Here are the main ones:

UV Radiation

Sunlight is made from different types of radiation, and one of those is ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays can affect your roof on a molecular level. Without getting too technical, it can cause oxygen molecules to combine with the materials in your roof. For example, if you have asphalt shingles on your roof, the oxygen combines with the hydrocarbons, causing them to go dry and brittle.

Slowly but surely, UV rays can break down the molecular structure of your roof, having a large effect on the appearance and functionality. As the UV rays break down the molecular structure, they can break down the chemical bonds that give the roof colour, causing it to change or fade.

Also, strong UV rays can break through clouds in the sky which means the sun can even damage your roof when it’s overcast.

Direct Heat

A roof can also be affected as a result of the direct heat. Over time, too much exposure to direct heat can cause further wear and tear. When some roofing materials sit under the sun for too long, they can heat up. Once they reach a certain temperature, the oils in the material can evaporate, causing your roof to dry, crack, warp or peel.

Heat Expansion and Contraction (Thermal Shock)

High temperatures that your roof experiences, can cause the materials to expand. Low temperatures cause them to contract. With the sun rising and setting if you’re experiencing a sunny spell, your roof may experience thermal shock. This continued expanding and contracting results in wear and tear.

What Can You Do?

Fortunately, temperatures don’t reach too high in Britain for too long. But there are a few things you can do to make sure your roof doesn’t suffer too much from sun damage.

Regular roof inspections will help you to identify any lasting damage that is occurring. This will help you to nip any problems in the bud before they become a larger issue. Another thing you can do is make sure you stay on top of your roof’s maintenance. All different types of roofing require different levels of maintenance, so whether you need to remove debris, clean or replace parts, making sure you do so is important.

If you find that your roof has suffered too much damage from the sun, it may be time to get it replaced with a material which is designed to withstand it, such as Firestone EPDM RubberCover.

How EPDM Performs Under the Sun

EPDM, which stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer, is a synthetic and extremely strong rubber with properties that make it highly resistant to ozone and UV radiation.

The chemical composition of this impressive rubber is such that there aren’t any double bonds in the main chain of the ethylene-propylene polymer. Double bonds make a material weaker and can be easily affected by UV radiation. EPDM also contains carbon black fillers which absorb UV radiation and convert it into heat, which it is also highly-resistant to.

In terms of thermal shock, EPDM is dimensionally stable, expanding and contracting easily with the building. Plus, the material doesn’t have a use for plasticisers for flexibility. This means plasticisers will not cause the material to become brittle from exposure to the sun.

So, if you’re looking for a flat roofing solution that’ll withstand UV radiation, direct heat and thermal shock, EPDM is the perfect fit. Read the rest of our blog to find out more about it, or visit our website and take a look at what we have to offer.

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