All roofs are outdoors, so they are all exposed to the sun. However, the amount of sun your roof will have to deal with varies greatly by your climate. In North Carolina, we have long days of intense sun that does stress our roofing materials. Can this excessive sun damage your roof, and what should you do about it?
Ultraviolet Rays and Asphalt
The sun gives off ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are a few types of UV rays in sunlight. The same kind that burns your sun can degrade asphalt, the primary material in shingles. Asphalt is very resistant to the sun, which is one of the reasons that it makes for excellent roofing material. Manufacturers also place granules on the top of the shingle that both add color and reflect light away from the shingles to give them a longer lifespan.
The sun won’t degrade your shingles for many years under most circumstances. However, it’s typically what causes the shingles to begin to rip and fall off at the very end of their life cycle. Shingles should be replaced before they get to this point, as they provide very poor protection once they are falling apart.
The Heat from the Sun
The heat from the sun also has secondary effects on your shingles. The heat can bake shingles, evaporating the oil in them, creating a cracked and brittle surface. It can also cause the asphalt to expand, which is fine until cooler weather arrives and the material contracts, making cracks even worse. This is called thermal shock, and it can end your roof’s lifespan early.
Will My Roof Fail Early?
If you live in North Carolina, your shingles will not have as long of a lifespan as they would in a colder climate. The excess sun is harsh on them over the years, and they will eventually fail. However, you should still get a decade or more out of your asphalt shingles. The manufacturers’ warranties don’t change with the climate. As long as someone is not intentionally concentrating sunlight on your roof, like with a magnifying glass or from a large glass building nearby, your roof shouldn’t fail earlier than expected because of sun damage.
How Can I Recognize Sun Damage to My Roof?
While roofing systems are designed to last a long time, it is still important to check regularly for signs of damage. Shingle or asphalt roofs are the most susceptible to sun damage, the first signs being discolored shingles. If you notice some of your shingles are starting to discolor, contact a professional roofing company to replace the damaged shingles and inspect the rest of your roof. If you or your roofer notice some shingles are warping, peeling, or falling off, this is a warning sign of sun damage.
Especially in hot and humid North Carolina climates, shingles can start to decompose depending on the amount of exposure it has experienced. Once the shingles start to decompose, they can leave cracks allowing elements into your home like rain and debris. This can cause the structural integrity of your home to be in jeopardy of more severe damage.
If you decide you may need a roof replacement, metal roofing or tile roofing are often more resistant to sun damage than the standard shingle roofing. Unfortunately, these options can be more expensive. You will want to find a roofing contractor that will help you pick the best roofing material for your North Carolina home and that fits your budget.