How To Avoid Roof Sun Damage On Commercial Buildings

In places such as Texas where the hottest days of the year can top out over one hundred degrees, roof sun damage is a valid concern for commercial building owners. This destruction can take place quietly over time and unbeknownst to a building owner. Cracking and loose flashing caused by the sun’s harmful rays may allow moisture in and lead to interior building leaks.

The best solution can be enlisting the help of a reputable roofing company to provide commercial buildings with a roof inspection, any repairs that are needed, and a regular, ongoing maintenance plan. Together they can protect a roof from sun damage and extend the life of the system.

What Types of Materials Can Be Most Susceptible to Roof Sun Damage?

While most commercial buildings will be susceptible to damage from the sun at some point during its lifetime, there are some types of roofing materials and procedures for applying them that may make them even more susceptible.

Some of the things that can make a roof vulnerable to sun damage are:

  • Dark colors. As a general rule, darker colored roofing materials are better at absorbing heat. Not only does this mean the materials themselves can get so hot that cracking could occur, but it may also enable the interior of the building it protects to become warmer in temperature. This can make energy bills during particularly hot seasons more expensive than they would probably be if the roof had a more reflective coating.


  • Lack of expertise. Barring any unusual circumstances such as a natural disaster, most roofing systems for commercial buildings are meant to last up to a couple of decades. However, if a system is not put in place by a professional who intimately understands the importance of a job well done, it could allow the negative impacts of sun damage to emerge more quickly.


  • Lack of maintenance. Even a perfectly installed system can be subject to roof sun damage without a proper maintenance plan in place. This type of plan enables professionals to find issues and needed repairs before they become more expensive problems that then have a domino effect on other needed repairs. It’s also important to note that without documented proof of regular roof maintenance, many warranties on roofing materials will not be honored.

The Negative Effects of Roof Sun Damage

The sun is a staggering 149,600,000 kilometers away from Earth, yet it can cause sunburns and heat exhaustion in humans and damage to the materials used on roofs. The two components of the sun that make it such a powerful force are the ultraviolet rays and heat it emits.

For commercial buildings that are located in intensely hot and sunny climates, roof sun damage can be significant. Years of consistently high temperatures typically break down roofing materials that if left unaddressed can lead to leaks.

For those geographical locations that experience intense heat during the day and cooler temperatures at night, it can further compound the issue. Temperature fluctuations that occur in a twenty-four-hour period can cause roofing materials to contract and expand. When this repeatedly takes place over the course of time, it often yields structural damage.

Two of the most common signs of sun damage on a commercial roof include:

1. A cracked surface. When the sun creates intensely hot temperatures that are followed by much cooler temperatures during the evening hours, it may cause cracks to form in a commercial building’s roofing system. Cracking can leave parts of the roof exposed where a leak may be able to form. This can cause damage to the roof as well as interior damage to the building itself that if not quickly repaired, could lead to mold and potential electrical issues.

2. Broken flashing. If the sun’s heat causes damage to the roof’s flashing, it may manifest itself in the flashing pulling away from the roof itself, which generally leaves it dangerously exposed and susceptible to leaks.

How to Delay Roof Sun Damage

A roof is one of the most expensive investments a commercial building owner will make, and to protect it, it is critical to look for key solutions that can delay damage from the sun. Some of the recommended methods of doing so include:

1. Using light colored roofing materials. While darker colors are better at absorbing heat, lighter colors are better at reflecting it. As an added bonus, not only will this help protect the roof, but it may also be helpful in maintaining lower temperatures within the interior of a building with less effort from the air conditioning unit.

2. Enlisting roof experts. Go with a professional roofing company with years of experience and successful installs of reflective systems. If you have questions, ask to see the finished product of similar roofing projects they have done and speak to previous clients.

3. Enrolling in a maintenance plan. Checking these first two items off the list is not enough to successfully delay roof sun damage in the long run. Regular inspections of a roof will help catch problem areas before they compromise the integrity of the roof. And be sure to work with a company that documents all work and maintenance on the roof to keep the warranty in effect.

The Reflective Roof Solution

The reflective roof is quickly gaining popularity, especially in hotter climates. This fluid applied system creates a more effective seal against intense weather, acting as a non-permeable membrane efficient in protecting against intense UV radiation, as well as monsoon rains and strong winds, and it can be applied in multiple layers for optimum solar reflectance.

As an added bonus, fluid-applied reflective roofs are often eligible for roof renovations versus a complete replacement. They are able to do so by replacing the membrane as often as every fifteen to twenty-five years to extend the life of the roof. This type of application can typically be applied to several different existing roofing systems such as single-ply, BUR, metal, and modified designs.

To help better protect your roof from sun damage, reach out to trustworthy and reputable professional roofers today. When you protect the roof, you are protecting the building and the people and things inside—and they are worth it.

Share Arcticle