UV Ray Exposure to Roof Membrane: Protecting Your Investment

Our roofs are the very first line of defense against the natural elements, shielding us from rain, wind, hail, and snow. However, many people may not realize that even the sun, and the UV radiation it emits, can wreak havoc on their roofs. UV radiation can cause significant damage to various roofing materials, leading to costly repairs or premature replacements. In this article, we will explore the impact of UV rays on different roofing materials and how to prevent and fix issues caused by sun exposure.


UV radiation can harm asphalt shingles by getting right down to the chemical compounds and altering them. The oxygen mixes with the hydrocarbons, which causes the coating of the shingles to break down. As the material breaks down, the oily substance covering the shingles evaporates, which leaves the shingles unprotected. They then become dry and start cracking. Heat can also play a part, as it encourages expansion, followed by contraction when it cools at night, which causes even more cracking. This is called thermal shock, and as it continues throughout the years, the very structure of the roof can degrade.


Granule loss in a roof membrane can occur due to various factors, and it can lead to significant issues if left unaddressed. Most commonly seen in asphalt shingle roofs, granules are the small, coarse, and colored particles that provide protection and weather resistance to the roofing material. Over time, exposure to the elements, weathering, foot traffic, and natural aging can cause these granules to become dislodged and accumulate in gutters and downspouts, or simply wear away.


Granule loss is a concern because these granules play a vital role in protecting the underlying roofing material from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and extreme weather conditions. Without the granules, the roof’s surface becomes vulnerable to rapid deterioration, increased UV exposure, and accelerated aging, leading to potential leaks, cracks, and reduced overall lifespan of the roof.

When granule loss is noticed on a roof, it is crucial to act promptly. Roof renewal or restoration is a viable solution to address this issue. This process involves hiring a qualified roofing professional to apply a protective coating and new granule layer to the affected roof surface.


UV ray exposure can also cause blistering. Blisters form when there are pockets of air or moisture trapped between layers of the roof’s membrane or between the membrane and the roof deck. As the sun heats the roof, those pockets expand and stretch the membrane. In severe cases, the membrane will crack when the pressure becomes too great. Even if the roof membrane doesn’t crack, blisters are usually a cyclical problem. That is, once they form, the membrane stretches permanently, which allows for even more air or moisture to infiltrate the membrane layers. This causes even more expansion. Each time the sun heats your roof, there is the potential for the blisters to grow a little larger.


Blistering can still occur on a well-installed roof system. If blisters do not indicate severe damage, it is generally advised to leave them undisturbed. However, it is crucial to routinely inspect observed blisters, as there are situations where repairing them becomes necessary to prevent potential complications like bursting.


To repair a blister, technicians cut away the membrane until they reach an area where the membrane still adheres to the roof tightly. They then apply new compatible membrane materials over the blistered area, making sure the new membrane extends at least six inches around the edges of the blister to ensure that your patch remains leak-proof despite the expansion and contraction caused by temperature shifts. Alternatively, on a bitumen roof, the technician may be able to cut an “X” into the blister and then peel back the loose membrane layers, fill the void underneath the membrane with bitumen and pressing the membrane back into place.


Regardless of the repair method chosen, it is crucial to have a qualified roofing technician handle the blister repair work. The repair process involves cutting into the roof membrane, which can be invasive. If this is not done correctly, it may compromise the integrity of the roof system at those areas, leading to potential openings for water to seep in and causing even more problems than it solves. Even though a blister on the roof might cause concern, it’s crucial to wait for a qualified professional following industry and manufacture standards to handle the repair, ensuring the problem is addressed properly and effectively.


Alligatoring is a sign that your roof is aging. The sun’s UV rays dry and damage the roof’s surface, and after three to five years, the coating may develop small cracks. If left untended, the problem will get worse. Ice, sunlight, and the heating and cooling shifts between day and night will all cause new cracks to appear while widening the existing cracks. Repairs for alligatoring on the roof membrane can vary depending on the severity of damages.


Roof sealants are essential to the overall lifespan of a roof. These coatings provide extra protection against damaging elements such as snow, ice, or rain. However, powerful UV radiation can compromise the integrity of your roof sealants over time. Whether it be caulking or sealant at penetrations, heat energy from the sun breaks down the chemicals in seam sealants and prevents them from doing their job effectively. Annual renewal or review of these sealants is important to ensure that no openings have formed allowing for potential water ingress.


Darker rooftops are vulnerable to a type of bleaching. This bleaching effect can affect the color of the material, either fading it out or turning it completely white. While bleaching is a cosmetic problem and not a structural problem, it can leave your roof looking unsightly. Wood shake roofing and architectural shingles are the most vulnerable to bleaching however, this occurs at varying levels on all roof systems.


Metal roofing suffers in extreme heat. Concentrated UV rays create a drastic change in the metal’s temperature – an effect known as thermal shock. This type of sun damage causes the metal to destabilize, thinning out the metal and resulting in cracks. These cracks create the perfect entryway for moisture, which can lead to moss growth, a roof leak, or the support underneath the metal roof to rot.


Amidst our focus on protecting our buildings from rain, wind, and snow, we often overlook the silent culprit that can wreak havoc on our roofs – the sun’s UV rays during hot weather. UV radiation causes substantial damage to various roofing materials, leading to issues such as granule loss, alligatoring, blistering, and bleaching. To prevent costly repairs and premature replacements, it is crucial to take proactive measures, such as applying new coatings, renewing sealants, and conducting regular roof maintenance. By safeguarding our roofs from the damaging effects of UV rays, we can ensure their longevity and optimal performance, ultimately protecting our homes and buildings from the elements and preserving their value for years to come.

Why Spring Roof Assessments Minimize Costs

There’s no doubt about it, cost savings are highest when roof assessments are done promptly in the Spring. Why? Because damage grows over time.

Winter weather causes more damage to roofs than any other season. The freezing and melting of ice, the strong winds and the weight of snow all add up to real stress on the roof, testing each part of the system.

Damage is usually not apparent at first. When Property Managers hear about a roof leak it’s the first sign of a problem. That leak could have started months prior. It also spreads to other areas of the building, creating more headaches.

If you want to prevent reactive spending and early roof replacements, roof maintenance in Spring really is your best option. In this post we will provide the five most common roof problems that we find in Spring, all due to the stress of winter weather.

The Five Most Common Roof Issues Uncovered in Spring

1. Weaknesses at Penetrations

A penetration is anything that is penetrating the roof membrane or the wall, like a vent or chimney. They are by far the most common place where we see leaks happen. If they’re not properly sealed or if there’s any weak points or damages around these penetrations, it is very likely to cause a leak.
We address this by applying a liquid membrane or we make a custom fabricated pitch pocket or gum pan.

2. Blockages at the drains

Drains, technically roof penetration, serve an obviously essential purpose in the roof system.
When drains are blocked, and the free flow of water is not happening as intended, something is bound to go wrong. So much pressure from the weight of the water stresses all weaknesses until that water finds somewhere to go. Ponding water causes granule loss which weakens the membrane and leaves it unprotected from UV rays.

3. Fallen branches and heavy debris

The hazard from heavy debris in a roof is made worse if drains are blocked because the debris soaks up the extra water. It becomes heavier and over time it becomes a breeding ground for all kinds of vegetation and a nice spot for a nest.

Vegetation threatens the roof membrane because the roots puncture it. Pests are also a big risk and will cause damage for sure.

Debris also poses liability risk because it could blow off the roof in heavy winds and if heavy enough, could cause damage.

4. Splits and Cracks in the Roof Membrane

Temperature fluctuates in winter causing water to freeze and thaw repeatedly. As it freezes it expands and pushes on eavestroughs, shingles, flashing, etc. It also causes the roof membrane to become rigid and splits or cracks can form, leading to roof leaks.
Membrane breaks also happen as a result of fallen branches and heavy debris on the roof as mentioned above. Having those membranes patched up before too much time goes by will save the rest of the building from water damage.

5. Ice damming

Ice damming, the icicles that form at the edge of the roof, happens when snow melts and refreezes. it’s actually a result of heat loss and can form in many ways. The presence of ice damming can actually indicate much larger issues that are happening inside a structure including attic mold growth.

Ice damming is a huge liability. When temperatures go above zero, icicles break off and fall. Falling icicles are obviously very dangerous and can be lethal.

Ice dams also cause exterior damage. They wreck eavestroughs by pulling and warping or even bringing them down entirely. They freeze and expand causing them to split and break. They damage shingles and soffits.


Roofs Need Care

The roof protects the whole building so it’s important that it be maintained.  Regular repairs prevent long-term damage that gets worse over time and damages the building’s interior.  The best time to have roofs assessed is in Spring after the harsh effects of winter weather.


Make That Appointment

Is it Spring yet?  If it is, call us and set up a time for an assessment.  Not Spring yet?  Book ahead.  We’ll get you on the schedule for the perfect time.  And anyway, Condo Corps appreciate ample notice. You can also fill out this form and we will get back to you with a time.

What Will You Say When the Critters Move In?



Critters, like raccoons, squirrels, and birds, become unwanted tenants in the Spring.  They look for a place to nest and then they build a home for their families.  This can happen on the roof of any building – unless it’s protected. This is where Spring Roof Maintenance comes in.  Not only does maintenance protect buildings from pests, it prevents clogged drains and gutters, vegetation on the roof, general roof degradation and as a result: roof leaks.


Deterring Pests on the Roof

Birds are a major nuisance to roofs. Their nests cause damage and their droppings even more damage.  Check this article about birds.


Last year on a routine Spring maintenance job we cleaned up bird droppings.  But that wasn’t the end of that job.  We noticed some rust and an opening in the soffit above.



Guess what was hiding behind the soffit?  A bird nest.  Luckily there weren’t any eggs in the nest and we were able to remove it. This could have been prevented.



The good news is there are ethical bird deterrents that can be set up to prevent all of this.


Clogged Drains and Gutters


Debris has built up over the Fall and Winter.  As water heads to drains and gutters it carries  that debris with it.  What happens next is obvious, the debris begins to clog the drainage and the water backs up.  This clump of mud never dries and it becomes a great place for weeds to grow.  If left unchecked, the weeds grow and their roots puncture the roof membrane.


Schedule Roof Maintenance

Now is the time to have roofs maintenance done.  Roofs are checked for weaknesses and damage as well as maintenance that should be done like renewing caulking, removing debris, covering rust, replacing damaged shingles and more.


Roof Maintenance

Rusted Hatch Before


Painted Hatch

Hatch After


Design Roofing Maintenance

Lifted Vent Before


Vent on Roof

Vent After


Roof Maintenance Moss

Moss on Shingles Before


Shingles with moss

Moss Removed

Roof Drains that Look Like Potted Plants

No one would argue that roof drains are important.  No one would argue that potted plants are pretty.  But that doesn’t mean roof drains that look like potted plants are a good thing.

weeds in roof drains
It’s been a very rainy Spring and no one would argue that either. Now those weeds are getting a full dose of hot sun. It’s the reason we’re seeing so many roof drains that look like potted plants this year and it’s real problem.

plant growing out of roof drain
Any vegetation growing in a roof drain will make it harder for water to drain, or totally block water from draining.  We all know roof drainage is key in preventing leaks.


But vegetation causes another more serious problem and that’s because of it’s roots.  If you know how fast weeds grow and spread their roots, you know this is something you’d have to act fast on.

roots causing roof damage

We never know how much damage the roots have done until we remove them.

Roots are tough and determined. They will do whatever they have to for water. Even if it means piercing a roof membrane.

Add that pierced membrane and the water build-up caused by the caused drain and you’ve got yourself a leak.

Here are a few more roof drains that look like potted plants.

roof drain vegetain
The Roof Fern

vegetation in roof drain
“Small but Hearty”

clogged roof drain
“The Hanging Basket”

plant clogging roof drain
“Young and Tough”

3 Roof Tips for Winter Weather

We have freezing cold temperatures and more snow in the forecast. It’s a good time for some winter weather tips from Design Roofing.

#1 Drainage is Critical

clogged gutter

Snow and ice don’t move until they melt. When that happens they must drain so it is imperative that drains and gutters are clear. If you’ve noticed water overflowing from gutters in the past couple of rainy months, that’s a sure sign of a drain issue.  Contact us if you need your drains checked.

#2 Don’t Go on the Roof

Unless you’re a trained Roofer, don’t go on your roof.  It’s simply too dangerous, especially in icy conditions.

#3 Contact Us Early

Encourage tenants to notify you as soon as they can if there’s a leak.  It’s best to arrive before the temperature gets too low on these short days.

Storm Season Starts

It’s here…storm season.  It usually spans from September until May or June.  The dark rainy days, wind storms and rain storms, falling trees and flying debris.  This is why it’s important to make sure that your buildings are protected by a solid, cared-for roof.  Book an assessment now.

We know maintenance is important.  We know it saves money.  Part of maintenance is getting the assessments done and now is the most important time of year to do so.

In 2015, nature knocked on our door, (or…roofs) earlier than usual.  Remember the big storm on August 29? People lost power for days.  Trees flew. Roofs were torn apart.  Floods resulted.  Our emergency line lit up and our roofers worked around the clock. Read more about last year’s storm.

The condition of the roof membrane is important.  Here are some common issues we find and fix and in doing so, save our customers money.

Roof debris

Heavy debris, including tree branches on the roof surface. This should be removed to prevent build up and damage.

december 2, 2015 30224 pm pst-resized-640

Moss retains water which leads to granule loss and deterioration of the roof system. The debris, including tree branches and the loose heavy moss It should be removed and a zinc sulphate solution should be applied to help inhibit future moss growth.

leaves in eavestrough

Clogged drain causes water build up

Debris clogging drains  and gutters prevents proper drainage and may cause leaks at these locations. The debris should be removed and the gutter drains checked to ensure that they are clear and free flowing.

Rust on roof hatch

Rust leads to holes.  Holes let in water.  Water damages.

rust on roof vent can lead to leaks

Rust forming on roof hatches and vents require re-sealing and waterproofing with RC2000 coating. This re-seals the rusted areas.

missing caulking on roof

Deteriorated caulking can be in a number of places and requires replacement to help prevent rusting and leaks. The deteriorated caulking should be removed and replaced with new caulking.

exposed fasteners will rust

Exposed nails or  fasteners require caulking to seal them to prevent rusting and leaks. Granules should be applied over the caulking to exposed fasteners on shingled roofs surfaces.

roof shingle is damaged

Damaged shingles need to be replaced in order to prevent leaks.

december 3, 2015 112445 am pst-resized-640

Dryer lint on the roof surface and vents is a fire hazard and is considered unsafe. The dryer lint needs to be removed to help mitigate the fire hazard.

These are the common things we find.  There are many other situations that can lead to roof damage and we find them when we assess the roof.