How to Protect Your Roof from Heat in the Summer

If you’re like most homeowners, summer means you’ll spend more time lounging in the backyard, grilling with friends, or cooling down in the water with your kids. You’re probably doing more yard work and projects around the house, too.

As the temperatures rise, remember that roof protection is also an important part of preparing your house for summer. By protecting your roof from heat, you’ll extend the life of your roof and keep your home safe from water damage, structural problems, and more.

Why Do You Need Roof Protection in the Summer?

So why do you need to protect your roof from heat in the first place? There are two main reasons.

1. UV Rays

Your roof is exposed to UV rays all year round. Even on a cloudy, cold day, this is something to consider, but UV rays are harsher in the summer, when the days last much longer and the intensity of those rays is stronger. Over time, UV rays dry out the natural oils of asphalt shingles. UV rays can also bleach, crack, and weaken the structural integrity of the wood on your roof.

2. Heat

Since the roof gets the most direct exposure to the sun, it absorbs most of the heat during the summer months. The hotter your roof gets, the more vulnerable it is to the sun’s UV rays. It only speeds up the damage that can be done to your roof and can also lead to condensation issues if your attic is not well ventilated.

How Can UV Rays and Heat Damage Your Roof?

We’ve explained why roof protection is so essential in the summer, but you may still be wondering what kind of damage UV rays and heat can do to your roof. The type of damage depends on the roofing materials, how old the roof is, and the climate of your area. But here are some of the most common roof problems that can occur because of heat and sun exposure.

1. Decay

While new shingles can withstand high temperatures quite well, older shingles will eventually start to decay when exposed to the intense sun. Your roof shows signs of decay if you see granules falling off the asphalt shingles, notice missing chunks, or notice the shingles look deformed in any way.

2. Warping

Frequent high temperatures and prolonged sunshine can cause asphalt shingles to curl and warp over time. Once you notice warping of your shingles, it’s important to call an expert for an inspection, since the warping will continue to get worse over the coming months and years.

3. Cracks

Warped shingles usually lead to cracked shingles, since the warping creates a tension that puts a great deal of strain on the shingles. Cracked shingles are another urgent problem that should be taken care of as soon as possible since they can lead to further roof damage if ignored.

4. Coating Damage

If your roofing has a protective coating, direct sun exposure could cause the coating to become brittle and dry as time goes by. Your roof won’t be able to expand and contract as easily, and eventually the coating might break off completely and leave your roof vulnerable to wind, rain, and other extreme weather.

5. Bleaching

Most asphalt shingles are dark brown or gray when they’re installed, but the sun can bleach them out and cause them to fade over the years. Bleaching usually doesn’t compromise the structure of the roof, but it is a cosmetic issue that doesn’t look as polished as a uniformly colored, dark asphalt roof.

6. Thermal Shock

Your roof reaches very high temperatures in the daytime, and then quickly cools off at night. When this happens, your roof materials expand and contract rapidly and the materials can lose their structural integrity or warp over time.

Keeping Your Roof and Home Cool in The Heat

Even though your home might have good insulation, that doesn’t mean the roof won’t get hot with the sun beating down in the warmer months. You can tell if your roof is causing your home to be warmer than it should by placing your hand high up on the wall, towards the ceiling. If you feel heat coming from the ceiling, it’s likely due to a hot roof.

If you discover you have a hot roof, there are ways to protect your roof from heat, cool it down, and keep the inside of your home the temperature you like. Since thermal insulation doesn’t protect your roof from the sun’s rays, additional work needs to be done. You can redo your roof entirely with a different material like metal or install reflective aluminum sheets underneath the shingles of your roof. This forces the sunlight to bounce off your roof to offer roof protection while keeping your home cool.

Reflective roofs—which can be made out of metal, tile, or other materials—don’t just help keep your roof and your home cool. They can lower your energy costs, too. These roofs radiate heat back into the air rather than absorbing it into the home. This means your AC doesn’t have to work as hard, reducing your energy bills. 

Best Roofing Materials to Keep Your Home Cool

Not all roofs were created equally, especially when it comes to reflecting heat and keeping the inside of your home cool in the summer months. Certain materials, like asphalt, don’t do you any favors in extreme sunlight. The dark color and material absorbs the sunlight, heating up your room and your home.

How to keep your roof cool in summer depends partially on personal preference for materials that fare well in the heat. Since there are several options, you can choose the one that fits the style of your home.

Some of the best summer roof materials include: 

  • Ceramic roofs
  • Terracotta tile roofs
  • Metal roofs
  • Concrete or slab roofs

Summer Roof Protection Tips

Clearly, there are many reasons to invest in summer roof protection. Roof replacement can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and by caring for your roof now, you’ll save money and avoid costly repairs in the long run.

But what is the best way to protect your roof from heat? Here are our top tips for preventing roof problems and extending the life of your roof:

1. Clean Gutters

Gutters can get clogged up with all kinds of debris, especially during the winter and spring season. So summer is an important time to clean gutters so the water can run freely and properly drain away from your home. Use a steady ladder to access the gutters and remove sticks, leaves, and other debris by hand.

2. Storm Preparation

Do you live in an area prone to summer storms? If so, make sure you’re ready by protecting your roof from heavy rain, wind, hail, and other elements that could cause damage to your shingles. Check for cracks and leaks and get them repaired as soon as possible so that a storm doesn’t cause even more problems for your roof.

3. Trim Trees

Overgrown trees may provide shade in the hot summer months, but keep in mind that they can do more harm than good. Trees that are dead or diseased, or have branches that reach over the roof could be very dangerous if they happen to fall in a summer storm. Avoid the issue by trimming back any branches that are hanging close to your house.

4. Catch Water Damage Early

Water damage is one of the most costly repairs for any homeowner. Even the smallest crack in a shingle can lead to leaks and cause serious damage to your home, so make sure you watch out for any signs of water damage and get it taken care of immediately. Replace missing or cracked shingles as soon as possible.

5. Annual Roof Inspections

Though there is a lot you as a homeowner can do to protect your roof from the heat of summer, it’s best to bring in an expert to inspect your home. An expert may be able to catch issues you didn’t notice and take care of any problems before they become a major expense.

6. Check Skylights

Skylights are one of the most common places for roofing damage, so if you have one, make sure you check it regularly for any issues. The skylight should have a strong, functioning seal the roof doesn’t leak during a storm and so the windows are secured in place during heavy winds.

7. Ventilate Your Roof

Every roof needs proper ventilation to avoid damage throughout the year, even in the summer. Exhaust and intake vents allow heat and moisture to escape and cool air to come in, so the attic stays at a stable temperature and doesn’t become too damp during the summer. Without adequate ventilation, the roof could grow mold and begin to rot from the inside.

8. Roof Coating

Just as you apply sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays, you can apply roof coating to protect your shingles from UV damage. Roof coating usually lasts about 10 years and will make your roof more water resistant, keep the roof from drying out, and lessen the breakdown that occurs from UV exposure.

9. Look Out for Mold

A tiny patch of mold on the roof may seem harmless, but it can lead to a major problem if it isn’t taken care of right away. A simple wipe down probably isn’t enough to take care of the issue. Instead, call in a professional to inspect the problem and prevent future issues.

10. Block Entry Points for Critters

Rodents and other critters can cause structural damage to your home, and many times they find a way in through the roof. Make sure you look out for any entry points around your home and block them as soon as you find them. (Keep in mind that rodents can get through tiny holes that are even as small as a quarter.)

11. Check Eaves

As you conduct your own roof inspection, don’t forget to take a good look at the eaves of your house. Do you notice water stains? If so, this could be a sign of a leaky roof. Make sure you take care of this problem during the summer so you don’t have cold air and water seeping into your home during the cold winter months.

12. Take Pictures

As you go around cleaning and maintaining your roof, make sure you take pictures to record what different areas of the roof look like at this point in time. Having photographic evidence will allow you to compare the condition of your roof over the years. You’ll have a better idea of what has changed and when it might be time for repairs.

Safety Tips

Cleaning and inspecting your roof is important, but it can also be hazardous if you don’t have the right equipment and follow proper safety precautions. Remember to play it safe whenever you’re handling roof maintenance and repairs on your own:

  • Use safety equipment. Wear pads, shoes with good traction, and comfortable clothing when working on the roof. Keep tools in an easy-to-carry bucket.
  • Bring a buddy. Never work on the roof alone. It’s important to have someone around to watch out for you, even if they don’t join you on the roof.
  • Choose a steady ladder. This is not the time for your creaky old wooden ladder—make sure you’re using a steady ladder that won’t put your safety at risk as you climb onto the roof.
  • Watch your step. Even the most coordinated person should watch their step while on the roof. Keep your eyes on the ground and stay focused on your task until you’re safe on the ground.
  • Protect yourself from falls. No matter how careful you are, it’s best to invest in a roof safety harness to protect yourself from accidents.

Does Your Roof Need To Be Replaced?

Roof maintenance is essential to keep your roof in good shape for as long as possible. But eventually every roof will need to be replaced. If you’re wondering if it’s time to replace your roof, call in an expert to get their opinion. Sometimes it’s better to invest in a structurally sound, higher quality roof rather than try to repair the existing damage.

Call DMG Exteriors Today

By following the tips in this guide, you’ll have a roof that’s ready to withstand the strong UV rays and intense heat of summer, no matter where you live. And if you need roof repairs or a roof replacement, the team at DMG Exteriors is ready to help. Contact us today to learn more about our roofing services or get more roof maintenance tips to protect your home. We also offer affordable roof financing, making it easy for any homeowner to get the roof services they need.