The roofing system is among the most important components of any building as it protects the structure from harsh weather elements. Considering what it is subjected to on a daily basis, it’s not surprising that it is also one of the most commonly repaired and replaced parts of the home. 

Now when we think of damage to the roof, we immediately think of strong winds, storms, and snow as the cause. Rarely do people think about the sun and how the constant exposure to it can damage roofs, too. 

In this post, Pioneer Roofing Company sheds light on how sun exposure can be damaging to the roof:

Types of Roof Damage Caused By Sun Exposure

Damages to roofs can be divided into two main categories:

  • Those caused by heat
  • Those Caused by Radiation

Of course, the solution that your contractor will recommend largely depends on the damage type. It is one of the reasons roofing repairs are best left to professionals. 

Heat-Generated Damages

Thermal Shock That Comes from Expansions and Contractions

Roofing materials can expand when heated and contract when they are chilled. This is what happens whenever sunlight hits your roofing. IT heats the roofing material up and the expanded shingles may push each other or even warp. Then the sudden shift from hot to cold induces thermal shock in the material. As you can expect, this can compromise the structural qualities of the roof. 

Metal roofing can become thinner in some parts and even become brittle. When this happens, your roofing won’t be able to offer sufficient protection against strong rain and hail as anything that hits the roof’s surface hard enough could cause cracks. 

Roof Damage from Radiation

As you probably know, sunlight is actually made up of many different types of radiation, and UV radiation can seriously damage human skin when exposed to it excessively. That means the roof is also prone to damage as it is exposed to UV radiation all the time. Here are some of the damages that could possibly happen: 

Damaged Coating

All roofs are coated with a protective coating that serves as a barrier against harsh elements. These sealants are also applied in the spaces between shingles. However, UV radiation can affect these and dry the material out. 

Paint Bleaching

Just like with coating and sealant, paint can also be broken down by UV radiation. While this in itself won’t affect the structural integrity of the roof itself, it can give your roof that old and decaying look. When the paint starts bleaching, you might want to paint your roofing again.

Signs of Damage You Should Watch Out For

Buckling Shingles

As discussed, regular exposure to direct sunlight can make shingles expand. When this happens, they could lead to some buckling or overlapping of shingles; the bumps can then lead to structural malfunctions.

Water Leaking from the Roof

This is one of the most obvious signs of damage that are caused by regular exposure to direct sunlight. When the damaging effects of UV radiation get to the sealants and starters, expect water to start seeping through the roof.

How to Prevent Extensive Damage Due to Sun Exposure

The good news is that there are things you can do to help protect your roof against damage.

Choose the Right Roofing Material

As you already know, the most important factor in determining the material type is durability. Considering the fact that the sun can damage roofing materials, you might want to consider getting roofing that won’t be damaged by UV radiation. That means you should go for materials like slate and clay.

Protecting the roof is not just limited to the material you choose to get. Other factors like manufacturer warranty, maintenance, and durability are also important to consider.

Keep the Roof Clean

While regular cleaning isn’t enough to keep your roof protected from the sun, it can slow down the rate at which UV radiation damages the coating or sealant.

Make sure to ask your contractor if specific cleaning supplies are suitable for cleaning the type of roofing material you have.

Apply Coating

You have to make sure you apply the coating in the right places. In other words, you have to be careful not to apply a coating on a section of your roof that is prone to direct sunlight. If there are parts of your roofing that are exposed to direct sunlight often, it’s best to forego the coating.

If you really have to, you can add reflective coating in affected areas.


The sun’s UV radiation never stops despite the seasons. Now that you know what damage it can cause to the roof and how to prevent it, you are better prepared for that situation. If you have reason to believe that your roofing has been damaged either by the constant exposure to the sun or any other reason, it’s best to contact the best roofers in San Diego, CA, who can help you. 

Pioneer Roofing Company is an expert in commercial and residential roofing in San Diego. Whether you are in need of roof maintenance, repair, or replacement, our trained pro roofers can provide you with reliable services. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our roofing services!