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  • Writer's pictureNutt Roofing & Siding

Roof Repair: How Does Heat Affect a Commercial Roof?

Roof repair may not seem to involve heat as a significant risk factor, but in the case of commercial buildings with lightweight roofing materials, it should be given due consideration.

The blazing summer heat can take a toll on the structural stability of the roof, even if there are no visible signs of damage. It is crucial to be aware of how heat impacts a commercial roof and to take preventive measures to avoid future complications, particularly if the building is intended to be sold or leased out. This article provides useful guidance on the effects of heat on commercial roofs and ways to minimize the risk.

If you have questions about your commercial roof, call Nutt Roofing & Siding, your most trusted Carrollton roofing company.

How Does Heat Affect a Commercial Roof?

Building materials expand and contract with temperature changes. When the temperature drops below freezing, the materials contract and may shrink, damaging if the materials are brittle. At higher temperatures, the materials expand, putting stress on any attached objects and putting the materials at risk of buckling or collapsing. Though it sounds simple, the way that heat affects a commercial roof is complicated. Asphalt Roofs - When it comes to roof repair, a common material is asphalt.

The asphalt is laid down in layers, and the thickness of each layer determines how well the roof can withstand heat. If you notice that your roof is covered in a thin layer of asphalt, it may be more susceptible to damage from the heat. Steel Roofs - Steel is another common material when thinking about roof repair. Steel expands when it is heated and contracts when cooled back down. This thermal expansion and contraction can put pressure on the attached materials and can loosen or damage the roof.

What is the Thermal-Shock Test for Roof Repair?

You can use this test to see how heat affects a commercial roof. When you set up the test, you will place a sample of the roof under a glass bell jar filled with water. The water will then be heated to a specific temperature. You can then observe the roof sample’s reaction. If the sample material is brittle, it will crack and break apart. If it is flexible, it should not break. The thermal-shock test can help you determine whether your roof will be able to withstand the heat.

The Impact of Heat on a Lightweight Roof

A lightweight roof is made of lightweight materials. While this is a common material for commercial roofs, it is not always up to the task. The materials are thin, and they are less likely to be able to withstand the high temperatures of summer. Heat exposure can cause the roof to bend and sag, leading to problems such as ice damming, leaks, and even building collapse. The materials of the lightweight roof are also more likely to be damaged in cyclical loading. This occurs when the roof is heated, expands, and cools, which can put undue stress on the roof.

Damage Caused by Hot Temperatures

If your roof is exposed to excessive heat, it can become brittle and crack. If a crack appears, there are likely many more cracks that are just not visible from the ground. These hidden cracks may cause leaking, ice damming, and other issues. If the damage is significant enough, it could even pose a risk to the people inside the building. If the roof warps, it can become misshapen and no longer be able to do its job. This can lead to water leaks, ice dams, and other problems that can end up costing the owner of the building a lot of money.


When you’re doing commercial roof repair, you need to consider the temperature of the roof. A lightweight roof may be able to withstand cold temperatures, but it may not be able to withstand high temperatures. You can use the thermal-shock test to see how heat affects a commercial roof and take steps to mitigate risk.

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