When many owners think of roof damage on their commercial buildings, they think of big events – things like powerful windstorms, hail, or serious accidents. But one of the most damaging factors for many rooftops, especially on a flat roof that spans a lot of surface area, is hot summers. When the temperature rises and rooftops have to absorb a lot of thermal energy throughout the day, problems can arise. Here are some of the most common issues we see in the warmer months.
The outer surface of a commercial roof can be under constant sunlight on an average hot day. The ultraviolet radiation can cause innate damage to materials, bleaching them out and making it easier for them to develop problems. Cycles of hot days and cooler nights can force many materials to expand and contract, which causes further damage. Finally, on particularly hot days, the heat building up on the roof can create more direct issues.
These problems combined can cause rooftops to crack, form bumps or bubbles, and ultimately break down. This creates dangerous leaks that can seep into insulation or structural materials and cause even more damage unless dealt with quickly.
Many commercial roofs also have sealants that help specific sections resist moisture damage. Sunlight can also damage these sealants, causing them to wear out faster. When this happens, moisture can find new areas to linger and may be able to create more extensive damage.
Fastener and Seam Damage
Metal rooftops are a particularly durable choice, but they also tend to expand and contract more than other materials when faced with shifting temperatures between day and night or winter and summer. Even if the metal panels can withstand these shifts, the fasteners and screws used to hold them in place can eventually work loose. This can cause rattling, friction damage, and spaces for moisture to gather and seep through, which is why it’s important to arrange periodic inspections of metal rooftops to notice any developing problems.
HVAC and Moisture Build-Up
HVAC systems, especially air conditioning, have to work hard when the weather grows hot. That involves a lot of heat exchange, which can also cause moisture build-up (why AC units often sweat or develop small leaks when working hard). If HVAC units are located on the top of the roof – a popular location for commercial buildings – then that moisture can represent a direct threat to the health of the roof if conditions get bad. AC units should be maintained properly alongside the roof for best results.
While it’s not a problem in every climate, in areas with high humidity, rooftops can absorb a lot more water during the heat, which can hasten moisture damage and worsen additional problems.
The good news is that there are treatments, materials, and even colors that owners can use to help mitigate heat damage, reflect heat, and reduce problems during the hottest seasons. If you’d like to arrange an inspection or learn more about roof remodel options, contact MG Roofing Inc. today, and we can help you get started!