Roof Protection From Sun Heat - A Guide to Roof Maintenance

September 8, 2021

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Roof protection from sun heat is not only possible, but proper protection can prolong a roof’s lifespan and reduce utility costs during summertime. Various roof materials also help deflect light and heat, avoiding premature damage while keeping a structure cool.

Sealing a roof or adding specialty coatings help deflect heat while vapor barriers decrease moisture and built-up humidity. Lighter-colored shingles and tiles also deflect heat and keep a roof cool, while materials like metal or clay tiles might be more durable against heat damage than asphalt shingles.

While every property owner should consider how to protect a roof from sun heat and other damage, this is especially important for structures in tropical or desert areas, or those at an elevation. These areas increase the risk of damage due to sun heat and inclement weather, which then shortens a roof’s lifespan.

To ensure you’re providing your house or commercial building with maximum roof protection from sun heat, note a few tips for roof coverings and other treatments. You might also note some differences between roofing materials, so you can choose the most durable option for your property. You can then discuss this information with a roofer near you, and know that your property is protected!

How Do You Prevent Heat From the Sun on a Roof?

There are various ways to prevent sun heat on a roof, including coatings and paints as well as investing in different roofing materials designed to stay cool. Note a few options that you might consider for your residential or commercial property:

  • Adding a cool coating can help reflect sunlight and heat. These coatings might contain concrete or ceramic particles, or polymers that don’t separate easily. These coatings will keep the roof lighter and cooler, reflecting heat rather than absorbing it.
  • Cool asphalt shingles are a bit different than standard asphalt shingles. Cool shingles contain a mixture of reflective granules that help keep the roof cool.
  • Some metal roofs are already coated with heat and light resistant coating, to keep the metal from overheating during summertime! Choose a cool color tone and coated metal roof for maximum roof protection from sun heat.
  • Clay tiles also reflect heat and light naturally, which is one reason they’re preferred for the Mediterranean and tropical areas. If you don’t like a classic Mediterranean look, ask your contractor about interlocking clay tiles, which lie flat like shingles.
  • A roof misting system sprays a small amount of water on the roof as needed, to keep it cool.

What Is a Green Roof?

If you’ve been researching options for a cool roof, you might see suggestions for a green roof and wonder if these are a good option for your property. Green roofs have a layer of vegetation installed on top of the roof itself.

Green roofs offer added shade and insulation for interior spaces, improve outdoor air quality, and keep interior spaces cool and comfortable. They can also provide lots of visual interest which is especially appreciated in cities where parks and yards might be scarce!

Green roof installation requires added roof layers including a drainage layer and growing membrane. Most are installed with an automatic irrigation system so that they don’t require manual watering and other maintenance. Vegetation on green roofs also absorbs rainwater and moisture from the air, reducing the risk of water damage to a roof!

What Are Ballasted Roofing Systems?

Ballasted roofing systems use gravel, river rocks, sand, or other natural materials to hold a roof membrane in place. This membrane offers added insulation for the roof, blocking heat and moisture. River rocks, gravel, and sand also provide a cooler surface, reflecting rather than absorbing heat and light.

A ballasted roof is typically best for flat roofs on commercial structures. As with green roofs, they need protective layers underneath that sand or gravel and help prevent standing water which also means less risk of water damage.  

Making A House More Heat Resistant

Making a roof more heat resistant is an excellent choice for reducing utility costs throughout the summer months. However, you can also take some simple steps to make your entire house more heat resistant overall, which can also lower your energy and cooling costs.

  • Ensure roof vents are always unblocked and in good condition. These vents let out trapped humidity and heat, ensuring a cooler interior space.
  • Check on the condition of the home’s insulation regularly. Old, worn-out, or damaged insulation lets in outside heat while letting out your cooling, spiking your utility costs.
  • Invest in window film, black-out shades, or heat-resistant curtains for windows. Remember that you can always remove these or swap them out for something lighter once autumn arrives!
  • Houseplants help improve indoor air quality, removing carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen levels. In turn, they can create a cooler, more comfortable space around your home.
  • Dark rooms hold heat, while light and bright spaces create a cooler environment. If your home is filled with dark paneling or the walls are covered in dark paint, it’s time for a change! If white is too dull and drab, consider shades of tan, sage, or seafoam green, or robin’s egg blue.
  • Swap out all the lightbulbs and fixtures in your home for energy-efficient lights. LED and cool white bulbs create little to no heat, keeping interior rooms cool.
  • Remember that electronics generate heat as they operate. Turn off TVs, stereos, computers, and gaming consoles when not in use.
  • Invest in small kitchen appliances you can use throughout summertime rather than the home’s oven. Cook outdoors as often as possible, to keep interior rooms cool!
  • Many power companies will perform an energy audit for your home, finding gaps that let in outside heating and issues with insulation, vents, and the like. A few simple fixes can then mean a cooler interior and lower utility costs.

What Color Roof Is the Coolest?

Lighter colors reflect light and heat while dark colors absorb heat. In turn, you might invest in light roofing materials or roof paint to keep your structure cooler. White is the coolest shade for roofs but if white might seem too stark, ask a roofing contractor about gray or tan shingles, tan clay tiles, or metal roofing in a light shade that would complement your home.

roof with protection from sun because of color

While lighter roof colors help deflect light and heat, note that solar panels also provide roof protection from sun heat damage and hot sunlight! Solar panels provide a barrier between the sun and your structure’s roofing materials, reducing the risk of sun damage while also keeping a roof shaded. If your structure’s roof is consistently suffering from sun damage, consider taking advantage of that harsh sunlight by scheduling solar panel installation.

What Roof Is Best for a Hot Climate?

Lighter-colored metal roofing and clay or terracotta tiles both help deflect light and heat, keeping a structure cool while resisting heat damage. Slate roofing tile also helps deflect heat while providing excellent insulation for a structures’ interior, so you lose less cooling during the summer months.

Concrete also helps deflect light and heat and the lighter color of concrete keeps it cooler naturally. Concrete is also easy to shape and fabricate, so a concrete roof can resemble more costly metal, clay, or slate. Rubber roof membranes and plastic roofing can also keep interior spaces insulated and cool while deflecting light and heat.

Roof Coatings Reduce Heat

Specialty cool roof coatings are designed to reduce heat and protect a roof from damage. These coatings can mean fewer blisters and less cracking and splitting for shingles as well as fewer water leaks for all roof materials.

Not only will roof coatings protect a structure’s roof from damage but they also mean a cooler interior, which reduces energy costs. Reducing energy consumption by cycling on your property’s air conditioner less often also reduces pollution levels!

Most roof coatings erode or otherwise wear down after so many years, so you’ll need to have them reinstalled or reapplied. Talk to your roofing contractor about the best coating option for your structure and he or she can alert you to when the coating needs reapplication.

What Is the Best Roof Insulation to Resist Heat?

roof being protected from sun with roof insulation

The roof insulation type you choose for your structure will greatly affect interior temperatures and utility costs. While a roofer is the best source of information when it comes to the most energy-efficient insulation for your home or business, check out some options from which to choose:

Spray foam insulation

Spray foam insulation, as the name implies, is a low-density foam sprayed into a place where it then expands and hardens. Spray foam fills in small cracks and gaps, helping to keep out water, moisture, and outside temperatures.

This foam also never loses its shape and lasts far longer than other insulation foams, making it an excellent long-term choice. However, foam insulation requires a contractor for installation and is one of the most expensive insulation options.

Rigid board insulation

Rigid board insulation, as the name implies, are rigid boards that are cut to size and then glued into place. Rigid boards need professional cutting and installation, to reduce gaps and ensure they stay adhered. These boards will deteriorate over time and need replacing.

Fiberglass batt insulation

Fiberglass insulation is probably the most common choice for property owners due to its affordability. A property owner can also typically install fiberglass insulation themselves, with a heavy-duty cutter and proper skin and eye protection.

The downside to fiberglass insulation is that it is probably the least effective insulator for your property. Insects and rodents can also burrow inside fiberglass! The material can also degrade over time and will then need replacing.

Loose-fill insulation

Loose-fill insulation uses either foam or fiberglass, which is then blown into place. Blowing this insulation into place allows it to reach cracks and crevices along a home’s framing, providing more efficient insulation.

The downside to loose-fill insulation is that it is difficult and messy to install and dangerous if inhaled. It can also degrade over time and need reinstallation, and might not provide the energy efficiency of other insulation options.

Sun Exposure and How it Affect Roofs

roof replaced after damage from the sun

Excessive sun exposure is damaging to roofs, drying out roofing materials and making them brittle. In turn, roof shingles and tiles will then crack and crumble as they expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes.

In some cases, excessive sun exposure will cause roof coatings to break away completely. This also increases the risk of cracked and damaged roof tiles and shingles, or of sections falling away completely. When this happens, your structure’s roofing layers are then exposed to the elements.

Sun exposure can also break down the adhesives used for roofing layers and that keep shingles and tiles adhered to the roof. All of this can mean premature damage and otherwise unavoidable roof repairs, and early roof replacement.

Note that trapped heat underneath a home’s roof can also affect shingles and roofing layers, which is why you need to ensure roof vents are always unobstructed and in good condition! If you notice trapped heat and humidity along a home’s upper floors or in the attic, have a roofing contractor check the home’s insulation and vents for needed repairs or replacing.

Shade Trees Help Protect a Roof From Sun Heat

Shade trees can help with roof protection from sun heat; however, this doesn’t mean you should simply invest in more mature trees for your property. One caution to consider is that branches rubbing against a roof can scrape away granules from shingles and otherwise damage clay, slate, and other roofing materials.

Trees also drop lots of debris onto a roof, and these residues can then end up in gutters, creating clogs. When rainwater washes over gutters, this can risk foundation and exterior wall damage!

That debris can also work its way under and around shingles, loosening them and risk premature damage. Ensure you’re prepared to keep tree branches trimmed and gutters cleaned if you do invest in shade trees for your yard.

The Topeka Roofers is proud to offer this information to our readers and hope you found it helpful. If you have additional questions about roof protection from sun heat or need roof repairs for your home or business, trust our Topeka roof repair contractors. We provide quality services and convenient appointments, and guarantee all our work to last!

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