How the Sun Damages Your Roof

Owning a home in a location that is subject to long periods of intense sunlight and high temperatures places additional stresses on the structure of your home and roof. Desert climates such as those in Arizona, California and Nevada are particularly susceptible and maintenance should be carried our accordingly to maximize the lifespan of your roof.

Below are a few of the most common roofing issues that homeowners will encounter in hot desert climates such as those found in many parts of the Western USA.

It is advisable to have a professional roof inspection at least on an annual basis, both to locate problems early on and stop them developing into a more complex and expensive repair. This simple inspection could prolong the life of your roof by many years and avoid a complete replacement which can run into many thousands of dollars.

Roofing Problems in Hot Climates

While the Arizona desert climate is dry and hot for many months of the year, the monsoon season can bring severe rain storms and even some localized flooding within a few hours and can expose any weakness in the integrity of a roof.

The effects of intense UV light can have very damaging effects on a roof especially to asphalt shingles as sunlight contributes heavily to the chemical breakdown of the material, evaporating the moisture within and eventually leading to cracking. It occurs even in cloudy environments although this process takes place at a slower rate. The most common roofing material in Arizona is clay or concrete tile which provides a long term solution to the intense heat of the summer. However even these tiles will eventually degrade over a number of years.

The constant heating, expansion, cooling and contraction cycles of all the roof structures contributes to the wear and tear and eventual failure of certain areas of the roof. This often makes rapid repairs necessary to avoid water damage.

This is the cause of most common roofing problem in climates where there is a great variation in temperature from day and night and season to season. This may include cracked tiles, missing or degraded seals or flashings. These are made worse by poor standards of installation and natural wear and tear caused by the extreme heating and rapid cooling that occurs in the hot desert climate.

Faulty and Poorly Installed Flashing

A thin, continuous sheet of metal is normally installed to prevent the ingress of water around joints, skylights, vents, chimneys and HVAC units and this can be a weak point on many roofs. Regular checks and maintenance is important to avoid more serious repairs.

Cost cutting during the installation of the roof can significantly increase the chances of leaks and other problems which may mean an earlier than needed replacement or expensive repair.

Punctures and Tears

High temperatures on certain types of roofing combined with wind and storm damage can cause punctures and tears in the roofing surface. Flashing is particularly vulnerable around custom build vents for appliances or air conditioning units which are often prone to leaks. These should be checked regularly.

Collection of Standing Water 

This is an important sign that should be investigated and the problem rectified as it may end in an expensive leak repair both internally and externally. Water can collect for many reasons including faulty drainage due to collected roof debris or even poorly draining air conditioning units.

If you would like to see our top tips on finding the best roofing contractor for your repair please view our advice page by clicking the link.