How hot can your roof get?

“Summer is hot.” As far as statements get, that’s about as basic and obvious as you could probably think of, along with things like “water is wet” or “mountains are tall.” But for a basic statement, it’s still one that requires some consideration. While it’s true that summer is hot, there are a wider variety of consequences to that truism than you might initially consider. Knowing that the temperature is rising doesn’t just mean you can bust out some t-shirts or take advantage of the excuse to sip some fresh lemonade all day, it should also have you thinking about some maintenance concerns around your home. Higher temperatures mean you need to start thinking about the ventilation of your home, and it might also be time to close the window shades to keep the sunlight from heating your home and driving your air conditioning costs up.

Another item you may not have thought of is what that heat is doing to your roof! Certainly, your roof is designed to take the abuse of all four seasons, but longer and hotter summers mean your roof may be subjected to more abuse than you realize. You certainly will stop and think about the damage a brutal storm or heavy snow subjects your roof too, but a quiet but hot sunny day can be just as harsh for certain roof conditions. 

A few things to consider with this question. First, heat rises. This is fact you probably learned in a junior high science class or an after school PBS show, filed away in the back of your brain for the next family game night when you need to dominate the trivia quiz. However, just like “summer is hot” the fact that “heat rises” has some consequences you may not initially consider. As the inside of your home heats up, the hot air will rise to your attic. This creates a warming circulation beneath your roof. Your venting is designed to help alleviate this pressure, but if the venting is blocked or if the air is abnormally hot, the underside of your roof begins to quickly heat up. But that’s just the first half of the equation.

On the outside, you roof is doing what it does best, protect your home from the elements. As it braces for the full heat of the sun, the UV rays beat down, along with the hot air and the visible sunlight, it takes your already warming roof and heats it further. This is exacerbated if, like the vast majority of homes, yours has dark colored grey or black asphalt shingles. The darker color absorbs the sunlight even more efficiently and heats up all the faster. 

What all of this means is that on even just an average hot summer day, your roof can get as high as 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. The materials in your roof should be designed to take this kind of heat in the short term, and a newer roof won’t have much to worry about. An older roof though, may already be breaking down, and this heat is going to speed that process up. Asphalt shingle can start to warp. What’s more, when the sun sets and temperatures drop, your roof can begin to experience thermal shock, as different materials in your roof that have expanded in the heat of the day will contract at different speeds. This can cause damage to metal components in your roof and loosen some fixtures. Again, in a well kept newer roof, this is less of a concern, but older roofs that are already breaking down will face further strain in these conditions. 

Just because you aren’t seeing a violent storm doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be considering the condition of your roof. That’s why it’s a great idea for homeowners with older roofs to schedule inspections for your home. The experts at New Height Roofing will review all the components of your roof and provide you with a clear and honest assessment of your roof condition, along with any areas of concern. Contact us to schedule a roof inspection today!

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