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Syracuse Roofing: Article About Thermal Shock

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Homeowners who live in areas that experience extreme temperatures may notice problems with their roofing materials. Even the slight fluctuations between daytime and nighttime temperatures can damage your roof, and that's why it's important to inspect your roof regularly and stay up-to-date with all routine maintenance tasks. During the warmer daylight hours, your roof expands as the kinetic energy of its individual molecules increases. At night, as temperatures cool, your roof contracts. This thermal shock effect is one of the primary sources of roof deterioration over time. A Syracuse roofing contractor can help protect a roof against the effects of thermal shock.

Thermal shock can cause a number of visible changes to your roofing materials. The asphalt used to manufacture roof shingles is permeable to water. To combat this permeability, manufactures add various chemicals. Over time, however, as rain collects and then evaporates from your roof, these chemicals disperse, leaving the asphalt much stiffer and more brittle than it was when the shingles were new. This is why older shingles are more prone to cracking under steady sunlight. As the sun causes them to expand, they won't be as flexible as newer shingles.

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When lines of older asphalt shingles expand at the same time, some of them can get pushed out of place during a phenomenon known as buckling. Buckling can also be caused by the presence of undetected leaks. When moisture gets into the wood planking, the wood swells as a result.

The metal flashing that's used to seal the spaces between roofing materials themselves and structures like the chimney and venting pipes also expands and contracts as the temperatures change. Similarly, metal nails and other types of hardware that's used to secure roofing materials in place are subject to the destructive force of thermal shock. Over time, gaps around flashing and fasteners widen and become a source for leaks.

One of the most effective ways of avoiding the destructive effects of thermal shock is to make sure the roof doesn't overheat when exposed to hotter temperatures. Reflective coatings can be applied to roofs to help them stay cooler. Light colored shingles don't absorb as much heat as dark shingles, which may make light colored shingles a better choice in climates where high temperatures prevail. Some roof edging products are specially designed to allow for some degree of expansion and contraction related to temperature.

Most importantly, though, roofs should be inspected on a regular basis. Cracked and buckling shingles should be replaced immediately, and any small gaps around flashing, fasteners or roof edging should be immediately repaired.

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