Demand for community solar is growing

Roofs need protection from heat and humidity

July 31, 2015

Excess heat and humidity can speed the aging of roofing materials, but this can be offset with the installation of a power vent in the attic. The use of aluminized roof coatings can help reflect the sun while renewing oils and sealing cracks. It can also be a good idea to replace asphalt rolled roofing with membrane roofing, which is more weather resistant. Most of the time, we focus on the damage that cold and wet weather can do to the systems of a house — but it’s important to remember that summer can also be destructive. By understanding that this can result from excess heat and humidity, you can take preventive measures to protect your home.

In recent years, we have become more aware of damage done to asphalt roofing shingles by excess heat that moves through the roof from the attic below. This heat can drastically shorten the life of a shingled roof. The remedy is adequate venting. Most roofers now recommend installing roof vents when you re-roof; there are numerous systems available, so you can choose the one that best suits your house. However, you can extend the life of your exiting roof by adding a power vent to your attic. If you don’t have central air, you can turn your furnace fan to the on position instead of on automatic and install ceiling fans. This can really help keep your home as cool as possible during hot days.

Over time, asphalt rolled roofing on flat roofs over garages, porches and homes can be damaged by the sun. You can use roof coating once to renew the oils in the roofing material and seal hairline cracks. You might consider using aluminized roof coating to reflect the heat of the sun, especially on roofs over living areas where heat builds up such as enclosed porches or sun rooms. When replacing the rolled roofing, most roofers prefer membrane roofing. It has proven to hold up better to weather conditions.

Wood, both untreated and treated, is also susceptible to sun damage. All finishes on decks, fences, and varnished porch floors should be U-V resistant, and you will see this right on the can of the material you use. Although the sun will inevitably take a toll on exterior paint, good quality paint will give you the longest life. However, paint can fail earlier on certain areas of the house- usually outside kitchens, bathrooms or other rooms where excess humidity develops, when water vapor passes through the exterior wall.

Miniature vents can be inserted at the top and bottom of each stud cavity outside problems areas, so air can circulate. Basement walls and cold water pipes are susceptible to condensation during the summer, as humid air comes in contact with theses cool surfaces. You might consider using a dehumidifier to control excess humidity in your basement. Cold water pipes can be covered with insulation tubes; and, if your toilet sweats excessively, you can insert a Styrofoam liner into the tank. If you are replacing your toilet you can buy a toilet with the Styrofoam already installed in the tank.

Here’s a little tip about your central air unit. An inspector has no way of evaluating a central air unit other than turning it on and feeling the cold air coming out of the register. But you can go outside and if you grab on the copper pipe on the back of the unit that feeds into the house, that pipe should be cold and usually it is operating properly. Damage from heat and humidity can be prevented, or at least reduced, by these relatively inexpensive measures; in the end, you can extend the life of your house systems.


Study: Roofing demand to rise 3.9% annually through 2019