It's reasonable to assume that high winds and heavy rains cause lots of damage to flat roofs. However, commercial roofing contractors can attest that sunlight is actually the biggest threat to these systems. The sun's rays contain ultraviolet radiation, which can wreak havoc on even the most durable materials over time. The following guide outlines some of the features that are affected by sunshine.

How Do Ultraviolet Sun Rays Affect Flat Roofing Systems?

1. Deteriorates Sealants

When installing a flat roof, a commercial roofing contractor applies sealants to all the seams to make them watertight. Over time, however, the sun's UV rays can break down the chemicals that give these formulas their adhesive properties. As the sealants degrade, the membrane can lift and curl at the edges, revealing underlying materials that are not designed to withstand the elements.

2. Cracks Membranes

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When UV rays are coupled with excessive heat, which happens during the summer months, it can actually prompt the waterproof membrane to change at the molecular level. As a result, the top roofing layer can crack, allowing water to seep in. 

Once the underlying wooden components of a roofing system are exposed to moisture, they are vulnerable to rot, which can jeopardize their structural integrity. The dampness can also cause mold and mildew growth, which is a health hazard if the problem is left unaddressed.

3. Speeds Up Overall Wear

Once a flat roof's sealants and membrane have been compromised, it's only a matter of time before the entire system needs replacing. If problems are left unchecked, they will lead to more extensive damage, and repairing the structure will no longer be cost-effective. Avoid needing to replace your building's roof prematurely by having a professional inspect it every spring and fall. This will give you the opportunity to address minor UV damage before it causes major structural problems.


If you're concerned about the state of your flat roof because of UV-related damage, turn to South Central Roofing & Sheet Metal in Lebanon, KY. This commercial roofing contractor has been serving businesses across Marion County since 1987. They boast an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau®, and their friendly team is committed to providing attentive service and exceptional craftsmanship. Visit the website to learn more about their services, and call (270) 692-6080 to discuss your repair or maintenance needs.