Your asphalt roof is subjected to quite a few environmental elements that affect its longevity, and manufacturers try to account for them when making their products. However, one damaging element that gets overlooked is the sun's UV rays. Here's how sunlight destroys your roof and what you can do to prevent it.
UV Rays vs. Asphalt Roofs
Asphalt does a good job of resisting heat damage, but the electromagnetic radiation in ultraviolet light—the invisible light responsible for tans and skin cancer—can do a number on the material. Specifically, this radiation can cause asphalt shingles to break down at the molecular level, resulting in the evaporation of oil and moisture that keeps the material from falling apart.
The shingles eventually become brittle and prone to cracking, which is worsened by the cycles of heat and coldness (e.g. from day to night, winter to summer) that causes the shingles to constantly expand and contract. Gradually, the shingles begin lifting and pulling away from flashing and other roofing components, increasing the risk or water damage from rain and snow to the rest of your home.
Fixing the Problem
There are a couple of things you can do to prevent this problem. If you live in an area where you get a lot of sunlight, you may want to opt for a type of roofing material other than asphalt. Although asphalt tiles are cheap, the best material for your home in this situation may be metal or rubber, both of which can withstand the negative effects of the sun's UV rays. However, these materials have their own benefits and disadvantages, so you'll want to consult with a roofing expert to determine which one is best for your home and budget.
Your roof can still be affected even if you live in areas that don't get a lot of sunlight, though, since up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays can still penetrate through clouds. If it's not time to replace your roof or you like the asphalt tiles, your other option is to have your roof sprayed with a protectant that reflects ultraviolet light and slows the damage caused by any remaining radiation that makes it through. These coatings must be reapplied on a regular basis, so be sure to incorporate the cost into your home maintenance budget.
To learn more about this issue or help with repairing a roof damaged by UV rays, contact a roofing contractor.