There are many factors that can cause flat roof leaks in your building. One of the most significant factors is harsh weather. There are some very obvious weather culprits that can damage your roof. Hail and lightning, for instance, can be detrimental to the performance of your roof. The sun beating down can also have a damaging effect. However, there are two harsh weather factors that you may not consider that can be damaging to your roof.

The most damaging weather factors to your roof

Temperature Extremes or Thermal Shock

thermal shock temperature extremes damaging roof 
This roof has been exposed to many temperature swings and is showing signs of wear.

Thermal shock describes what happens when air temperature varies greatly from day to night within a single day. Rapid, extreme temperature changes are very hard on a roof and can do significant damage. As the temperature gets warmer, the building’s structure, including the roof, begins to expand. Then, when the temperature gets colder, everything begins to contract. The more extreme the temperature  fluctuation is, the more extreme the expansion and contraction will be. The weather channel wrote about some of the most extreme temperature fluctuations in US history. These are very extreme and will likely never happen again, but think about the damage caused to these buildings in one day from Thermal Shock!

For the entire life of your building, the temperature changes from day to night wear on the roof. Every time the temperature changes from day to night, your roof expands in the day and then contracts at night. This takes a toll on the life of your roof every time it happens. You will begin to see joints cracking and separating, seams tearing loose, flashings becoming separated, and the roof as a whole deteriorating. This is a problem that is difficult to fix without a reflective roof. You can only combat this by decreasing the roof surface temperature, which is best done with a reflective roof coating.

Ice Save & Exit

Ice is a problem for your roof in a similar fashion to Thermal Shock. In the winter, when it rains on your roof or snows and then melts, that water is now going to seek out cracks in the roof surface as it moves towards the lowest point. The next night when the temperature drops, the water in the cracks expands, stretching out and widening the cracks in the roof. Any defects in the roof surface are now worsened. Then, the next time the air warms up again, the ice melts and the process is started all over next time temperatures get below freezing.

The damage caused by ice is a great reason for you to inspect your roof before and after each winter. If you inspect before, you can make any repairs to the roofing surface before they are further damaged by the winter ice. If you inspect after, you can repair any damages that you didn’t see and repair before winter.

There are many factors that can damage your roof and cause it to leak, just one of these many factors is harsh weather and these are just two types of harsh weather that can damage your building. Always ensure you are inspecting your roof regularly to ensure it is in proper condition and always make the necessary changes after inspection. Don’t skimp on repairs now and end up needing an entire roof replacement down the road. If your roof has reached a point where it is beyond repair due to temperature extremes or other wear and tear items, you may want to read about the replacement options available to you.