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What Does the Las Vegas Heat Do to Commercial Roofs?

[fa icon="calendar"] May 29, 2020 9:15:00 AM / by Krystal Coddington

Krystal Coddington


How well can your commercial building’s roof stand up to the heat, harsh light, and “blow dryer” winds of the Las Vegas summer? Over time, it’s easy for the elements to take their toll on your roof, and if you’re not inspecting and maintaining the roof efficiently, the first big summer storm could cause your roof to leak. If you’re a commercial property landlord, business owner, or a building's maintenance director or facilities director, spring is the perfect time to replace or repair a building’s roof. Find out why it’s a good idea to do this sooner rather than later.

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How Heat Affects Commercial Roofs

The intense sunlight of a Las Vegas summer is tough on commercial roofs, as they have to contend with simmering heat, powerful ultraviolet rays, and thermal shock. These forces can dry out roofing materials and cause them to expand, contract, blister, and crack, allowing water to seep in during storms later on. With routine maintenance, a roofing professional can detect problems with your roof and repair them before they turn into major ones that can impact your business. Depending on their materials and if they receive proper maintenance, commercial roofs have a lifespan of 10-40 years.

Materials Expand and Contract

The summer heat can make your roofing materials expand and contract, which can eventually deform and crack them. If your roof is like most and has seams or fasteners joining its different segments, these can be damaged by the constant thermal expansion. The seams can rip and the fasteners can be moved out of place, opening gaps that allow water to enter the roof. This can cause leaks that exacerbate the damage to your roof, which can impact functions in the rest of the building.

Reduction in Waterproofing

Your roof can lose its waterproof coating over time as the sun and heat begin to slowly change the coating’s chemical composition. The oils that form the basis of most waterproof systems can break down and evaporate during long-term exposure to UV rays and oxygen. A general breakdown of your roof’s waterproof coating can allow water to seep in through multiple areas, which can critically weaken your roof.

Moisture Build Up

Moisture build-up is a common problem for flat and low-slope roofs or those with poor drainage. Standing water, either from rain, condensation, or high HVAC use during the summer months can degrade your roof coating over time and cause leaks. If your roofing material has blisters, this may indicate air or moisture that was trapped within your roof during installation. These pockets may eventually rupture the membrane, opening the way for moisture to enter your roof.

Protect Your Commercial Building's Roof from the Las Vegas Heat

Your roof is your building’s first line of defense against the elements, so it’s important to do whatever you can to protect it. If you notice any problems, don’t wait - repair them immediately or they will grow into larger, more expensive issues. Make sure any roof protrusions, such as vents or HVAC units are properly sealed. These are some of the most common weak points of commercial roofs.

If routine roof inspections and maintenance isn’t already a part of your maintenance schedule, it needs to be. An inspection will help detect issues with your roof, allowing you to repair them before they cause even more damage to your building and business. With summer coming, this is the perfect time for property owners, maintenance directors, and facilities directors to repair or replace a roof. The Original Roofing Company has been helping businesses protect their rooftops across the Las Vegas Valley for over 50 years and is ready to help you protect yours.

download the preventative roof maintenance checklist

Krystal Coddington

Written by Krystal Coddington