The Effects of UV Radiation on Flat Roofing Systems

The Effects of UV Radiation on Flat Roofing Systems

As Spring approaches, commercial property managers may begin to breathe a sigh of relief; the most common sources of roof damage, like ice buildup and heavy snow, are now in the past. However, you shouldn’t let your guard down just yet. The summer heat can create many other problems that impact facility managers, property management groups and construction project managers alike. To keep your commercial property in top condition, it’s crucial to keep a watchful eye out for the damaging impact of UV rays. Here are some of the most significant effects of sunlight on flat commercial roofing and what you can do to combat them.


One of the earliest signs of sun damage on flat commercial roofing is blistering. This typically occurs when cracks or holes have developed on the surface of the roof. Once water enters these openings, it expands as it is heated by the sun. Expanding water can eventually lift the tar paper or roofing felt from the surface of the roof, which creates bubbles or blisters on the roof’s surface.

If you encounter blistering on your commercial roof, be sure to address it as soon as possible. Bubbles or blisters can lead to more serious problems down the road. Depending on the severity of the blistering, you may need to schedule a repair or replacement to bring your roof back to life.


When UV rays target a commercial roof, they attack the composition of the roof’s surface. Your roofing system is primarily made up of chemicals whether you have a metal roof, a modified bitumen roof or a single-ply membrane roof. Direct exposure to sunlight can cause these chemicals to deteriorate over time.

To prevent this from happening, be sure to have a professional inspect your commercial roofing system. He or she can carefully examine your roof and identify any problems that are preventing your roof from resisting harmful UV rays. Oftentimes, experts can mitigate the damaging consequences of UV radiation by improving the reflectivity of your commercial roof. If your roof can reflect heat well, it will remain strong and durable despite the powerful effects of the sun.

Damaged Sealants

Your roof sealants are essential to the overall lifespan of your commercial roof. These special coatings provide extra protection against damaging elements such as snow, ice or rain. However, powerful UV radiation can compromise the integrity of your roof sealants over time. Heat energy from the sun breaks down the chemicals in seam sealants and prevents them from doing their job effectively.

If you’re worried about the quality of your roof sealants, you may need to have an extra layer of protection installed on the roof’s surface. Reflective single-ply membranes can direct UV rays away from your commercial roof and prevent them from causing harm to your roof sealants. Be sure to have these materials professionally installed to keep your roof safe from any further damage.

Damaged Shingles

The heat that persists for a long enough duration can cause severe damage to roofing materials. Powerful UV rays may cause the following to occur to your asphalt shingles:

  • Cracking
  • Buckling
  • Bleaching

These issues typically take place when the sun’s rays dry out the oils in your roofing materials. As a result, you may notice that the wood on your roof’s surface has become bleached and weakened. It’s crucial to maintain your commercial roof on a regular basis and have it inspected often to prevent these problems from growing over time.

Condensation Problems

If roof damage caused by UV rays isn’t addressed appropriately, it may also begin to affect the interior of your commercial building. Heat energy that warms up your roof can eventually create condensation problems inside the building, especially if the attic isn’t well ventilated. Make sure that you ventilate your attic properly to prevent this type of damage occurring in your commercial building.

Keep Your Commercial Roof Safe From UV Rays

There are many different forms of damage that can impact your flat commercial roofing system, especially during continuously hot weather. When the temperature begins to rise in your area, be sure to take action immediately and shield your roof from potential harm. Taking the necessary precautions can help to strengthen the structure of your building and keep you from needing to make costly repairs.

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