Rain or Shine: How Roofs Withstand the Test of Time – Part I: Weather and Weathering – How Climate Affects Your Roof

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the weather, providing you with protection 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Extreme weather conditions can wreak havoc on your roof but even everyday exposure can also take its toll, putting your property at risk. So how does the climate affect your roof? Damage over time can be observed due to:


Even on a cloudless, sunny day, your roof is taking damage, with sunlight contributing to the aging and decay of roofing materials, albeit at a slower rate. Compare shingles, for instance, that are in the shade and those that receive more sunlight and you’ll see the latter as showing more wear. The south-facing portion of your roof will receive more sunlight so shingles in that area will age faster than those in other places on your roof.


As with sunlight, your roof is constantly exposed to the wind. While roofs are engineered to withstand normal windy conditions, the wind can eventually rip away shingles that are already loosened or were installed incorrectly in the first place. And when strong enough, winds can strip a roof away from a home, resulting in areas that leave your home exposed.


Water’s effect is subtle and slow, but over time can be dramatic. Think the Grand Canyon. While water damage to your roof will not reach that scale, rainfall will still wear away at your roof, most especially if you’re using a roofing material not particularly suited to constant exposure to water. Aside from wearing away roofing material, water can also seep into weakened parts of a roof, causing moisture damage inside the home.

Because of these, roofs have to be carefully engineered to withstand whatever the element will bring. In Part II, we’ll be discussing exactly how a roof is able to fight off the weather.