Exploring the Effects of UV Rays on Your Asphalt Shingles 

House Roof and Attic Windows Closeup. Sunny Day. Housing and Construction Concept Photo.Biologists still argue about precisely when, where, and as what life began. Was it a formless bacteria deep on the bottom of the ocean or was it some kind of vegetation that sprouted up, or was it an amoeba-like lifeform that bubbled up after the right mix of proteins and minerals? While this question remains to be answered, one thing that all scientists agree on is the majesty and necessity of our solar system’s most indispensable marvelous hot-surfaced burning star which provides the nourishment and light all living beings require. Contained in sunlight are two different kinds of electromagnetic energy and these include UVA and UVB light rays or most commonly known together as UV rays. The sun is the most necessary source of UV radiation which travels through space and hits the earth in the form of sun rays. If you live in El Paso or throughout the Southwest, you know that we have no shortage of sunlight around here. These rays wreak havoc on people’s skin, car finishes, the chocolate bar you left in your dashboard, and, of course, your roof.  We thought we’d talk a little bit about the fascinating aspects of this radiation that comes from 93.198 million miles away. 

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

The sun is not the only source of UV radiation. People can also get UV rays from tanning beds, black lights, lasers, and more. The sun is the greatest and most significant source of UV light, however. The two types of UV radiation include UVA and UVB rays. The difference between these two is the wavelength. UVA has the longest wavelength and UVB has a medium wavelength and the least discussed UVC has the shortest. 

UVA: UVA has the longest wavelength and passes through glass easily. These rays are responsible for some skin damage but penetrate the skin at its deeper levels and are thus a cause of pre-aging signs. 

UVB: UVB rays will also cause damage to your skin and eyes. These are the rays that are mostly responsible for the tanning effect of your skin, which is actually the outermost layer of your skin (epidermis) actually suffering cell damage. The most damage to the skin that causes cancers is a result of this type of UV radiation. 

Ok, now that we have gone over the differences of the sun’s UV radiation, what does this have to do with your roof? 

Since we protect our skin with sunscreen and are repeatedly reminded of the importance of slathering on this lotion throughout our bodies, you might be thinking to yourself whether there is a sunscreen for your roof. Well, not exactly. The cold hard truth is that there is not a whole lot we can do about the sun shining on our rooftops, but we can keep an eye on the damage it’s doing and even consider—when applicable—some protective measures like synthetic coatings. 

UV Rays and Your Roof Shingles

Your roof is the first line of defense against the elements and one of these elements it’s defending against is the sun’s UV rays.  When it comes to asphalt shingles, UV rays  can harm them by getting right down to the chemical compounds and altering them. The oxygen will mix with hydrocarbons in the asphalt material that causes the coating on the asphalt to break down. Most asphalt shingles have a protective coating and this begins to break down over time with strong exposure to UV rays. It dries them out and they begin to crack and warp. The heat will also contribute to the breakdown of the material and increase the rate of the breakdown process. Today’s shingles are engineered to withstand the ultraviolet light of the sun, but it is impossible to completely protect the damage; high-altitude areas with strong sunlight can be far more susceptible. 

Ways to Protect Your Roof from Too Much Damage 

While we cannot do a whole lot to stop the rays of the sun from hitting our roofs directly, there are one or two protective measures that you can take to keep this damage from going unnoticed or to slow down the progress a little bit. The main thing is simply to watch for damage so that the protective layer in the shingles doesn’t deteriorate too quickly. If you have hail damage, for example, this can blow away some of this protection and leave your roof far more exposed. There are special coats that can help further protect your roof, especially commercial flat roofs can use a silicone roof coating as an extra layer of protection. 

Metal roofing has an innate antidote to UV rays and naturally reflects them. Having a metal roof is perhaps the best way to ensure a long-lasting roof that is not as susceptible to the elements. 

Your roof does a good job of protecting your home. Giving it the maintenance and attention it needs is a good way to ensure that it lives a full life and happy life. Whether you are looking for a new roof or some roof repair or maintenance, call trusted roofing professionals. Call El Paso Roofing today. 


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