Sun and Storms: Understanding the Summer Hazards for Commercial Roofs

Managing a commercial property is a year-round responsibility, with each season bringing its unique challenges. As we approach the summer months, there's often a sense of relief. After all, winter storms and spring rains are behind us. But summer is not without its threats to the integrity of your commercial roof.

You might be wondering: what dangers could the season of sunshine possibly pose? Isn't this the time for roofs to dry out and recover? While it's true that summer brings much-needed respite from the harsh conditions of winter and spring, it introduces a new set of hazards that commercial property owners and managers need to be aware of.

The Underestimated Threats of Summer to Commercial Roofs

Despite the inviting warmth and abundant sunshine, summer can be surprisingly harsh on commercial roofs. Here are some of the key hazards that the season brings:

  1. Heat and UV Radiation: Summers are synonymous with heat, and your commercial roof takes the brunt of it. Extended exposure to high temperatures and UV radiation can cause your roofing materials to age and deteriorate rapidly. For instance, the heat can cause roof membranes to expand and then contract once the temperature drops at night. This constant expansion and contraction, known as thermal cycling, can lead to cracks, splits, or tears in the roofing material over time.
  2. Thermal Shock: This phenomenon occurs when there's a drastic temperature drop after a hot day, often due to a summer storm. This sudden change can shock your roof, causing materials to contract rapidly and potentially leading to warping, buckling, or other structural damage.
  3. Summer Storms: While not as frequent as in spring, summer storms can be intense, bringing heavy rain, high winds, and even hail. These conditions can cause physical damage to the roof, such as punctures and tears, as well as water damage if your roof's drainage system becomes overwhelmed.
  4. Humidity and Condensation: High humidity levels common in summer can lead to condensation buildup under the roof system. This trapped moisture can cause water damage, mold growth, and structural issues if left unaddressed.

Navigating Summer's Hazards: Protective Measures and Timely Repairs

Understanding these threats is the first step toward protecting your commercial roof. Here are a few measures that can help mitigate the summer hazards:

  1. Regular Inspections: Routine inspections, especially before and after the summer, can help identify any damage or areas of concern early, allowing for timely repairs.
  2. Proactive Repairs: Any detected damage, such as cracks, blisters, or damaged flashing, should be repaired promptly to prevent further deterioration due to summer weather conditions.
  3. Proper Ventilation: Ensuring your roof and building are well-ventilated can help minimize heat buildup and prevent condensation issues.
  4. Cool Roof Coating: Applying a reflective roof coating can help repel the sun's UV rays, reduce thermal cycling, and ultimately prolong the lifespan of your roof.

The cost of these proactive measures and potential repairs are significantly lower than the cost of a full roof replacement, which can range from $3 to $9 per square foot. Plus, they're fully tax-deductible in the first year under the U.S. IRS Tax Code.

Is Your Commercial Roof Summer-Ready?

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While summer might seem like a time for your roof to catch its breath, it's essential not to let your guard down. By understanding the unique challenges this time of the year can bring, you can be better prepared and ensure a longer lifespan of your commercial roof.

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