Wear & Tear

Environmental Stresses on Roofing Systems

Roofs can last from 5 years to 50 years depending on how well built and maintained  it is over that course of time.  Roofing material manufacturers provide warranties on their products that usually cover the lifespan of roofs and beyond.  However, those warranties are only covered when the materials are assembled and installed in very specific ways.

If your College Station roofer does not follow the manufacturer’s guidelines with enough detail, premature failure of your roof will occur and the warranty will not be covered.  That is because roofing materials wear in predictive ways, based on their exposure to environmental elements like sun, wind, rain, snow, and air pollution.  A study by Paul Berdahl, Hashem Akbari, and Ronnen Levinson in 2006, identified key environmental stressors.

How the Sun Stresses Roofing Components

The sun stresses roofing components by fluctuating temperature and breaking down chemical bonds used to create the roofing materials.  Direct sunlight has carries roughly 1 kilowatt per square meter.  As sunlight travels through the atmosphere it loses about 60 W per square meter to do a radiative cooling effect.  Finally, the energy is transferred to roofing materials through convection, leaving the roofer warmer than the surrounding air.

Sunlight is also comprised of photons with their own voltage.  Approximately 5% of the sunlight carries ultraviolet protons that contain more than 3eV (electron volts).  This energy disrupts chemical bonds.  This disruption is particularly evident in materials comprised of plastics, wood, and asphalt.  Ultraviolet radiation is also the cause of a lot of oxidation seen in roofing materials.

Magnitudes of Wind Forces

Winds from hurricanes and tornadoes are particularly damaging to roofing.  Typically, the taller the structure or more exposed the structure (no physical obstacles) the more effect wind force will have on the roofing system.  The kinetic energy in wind is also squared (2) by the velocity of the wind; KE= v2(wind).  Long term exposure to high winds can cause materials to wear prematurely, developing wear marks and cracks.

Rain, Hail, Snow, and Standing Moisture

Different moisture types require different installation approaches to roofing systems.  In areas prone to large size hail, physical damage will be seen (cracked shingles).  Snowfall can bring a cumbersome amount of added weight to the roofing system.  Standing moisture can also freeze, expand, thaw, and contract existing materials.  Materials like wood can only absorb a limited amount of moisture before they are structurally compromised.

Air Pollution Damage

Pollution in the surrounding environment is not commonly thought of as a issue particular to roofing.  However, the oxygen and water vapor content of the air cause formation of hydroxides and oxides which is how oxidation (white fuzzy look) occurs on College Station roofs.  Other gases like FeO, Fe2O3, and Fe3O4, mix with water, forming acids which damage the chemical composition of roofing materials.

Schulte Roofing is “Home of the Bulletproof Roof™ Guarantee” which means that your roof is built for the strong environmental conditions that it will face over the course of its lifetime.  In areas like College Station, TX it is important to use a local roofing contractor that understands the local environment of the Brazos Valley and how to make a roof that will last the occasional hail storm, hurricane, and downpours.

Reference: Berdahl, Paul; Akbari, Hashem; Levinson, Ronnen; & Miller, William A.(2008). Weathering of Roofing Materials-An Overview. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.