Environmental Stresses Affecting Roofing Systems
Depending on how well built and maintained a roof is, it can last anywhere from 5 years to 50 years. And it is with this in mind that product warranties offered by roofing material manufacturers usually cover the lifespan of the roof and beyond. However, such coverage is only valid when the assembly and installation processes are done in very specific ways.
Therefore, if your designated roofer fails to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to the letter, you are likely to experience premature roof failure which will in turn void any existing warranty. This is because roofing materials often wear in predictive ways which is determined by their exposure to environmental elements. In 2006, a study by Hashem Akbari, Paul Berdahl, and Ronnen Levinson identified the key environmental stresses to roofs as air pollution, sun, rain, wind, and snow. Below, therefore, we take a look at how these elements affect roofing systems as follows:
The sun causes stress to roofing components owing to fluctuating temperatures which eventually lead to the breakdown of chemical bonds that are essential in the creation of roofing materials. Direct sunlight is known to carry roughly 1 Kilowatt per square meter, but as it travels through the air, it loses roughly 60 Watts per square meter in order to achieve a radiative cooling effect. Once in contact with the roof, the rest of this energy is transferred to the roofing materials through convection thus leaving the roof warmer than the surrounding air.
Another way in which sunlight affects roofs is that it is comprised of photons that have their own voltage. Studies have shown that approximately 5% of the sun’s radiation carries ultraviolet protons containing more than 3 electron volts (eV). And it is this energy that is responsible for the disruption of chemical bonds in roofing materials especially in wood, plastics, and asphalt. Moreover, ultraviolet radiation is the main reason behind the oxidation prevalent in many roofing materials.
Needless to say, winds from tornadoes and hurricanes can be particularly damaging to roofs. Normally, the taller the structure or fewer obstacles surrounding it, the greater the impact of the wind force on the roofing system as kinetic energy (KE) = Velocity of the wind squared (v²). Consequently, long term exposure to strong winds will ultimately result in your roof wearing prematurely, and developing wear cracks and marks.
3. Hail, rain, standing moisture, and snow
The precipitation experienced in your area will determine the type of installation procedure required for your roof as different moisture types require different approaches. For instance, materials such as wood can only absorb so much water before they are structurally compromised, or areas that experience heavy snowfall can result in a cumbersome amount of weight being added to the roof. Alternatively, areas that are prone to standing water may mean the moisture expanding, freezing, contracting, and thawing roofing materials or where hail is prevalent, physical damage can result in the form of cracked shingles.
4. Air pollution
Admittedly, air pollution is not commonly thought of as a problem affecting roofing. However, the water vapor and oxygen content in the air can result in the formation of oxides and hydroxides thus leaving roofs with a white fuzzy look (oxidation). Additionally, other gases like iron oxide can also mix with water thereby damaging the chemical composition in the roofing materials.
At Schulte Roofing, we provide a Bulletproof Roof Guarantee which means that any roof from us is designed to outlast the tough environmental conditions that it is likely to face during its lifetime. In particular, areas like College Station, TX, demand the use of a local roofing contractor who is better placed to understand the local environment of the Brazos Valley and, therefore, install a roof that will last the occasional hurricane, hail storm, and heavy downpours.