Southwest style tile roof home and garden with new tile roof and roof fixtures

In Las Vegas or anywhere in the Southwest, the combined effects of the desert summer heat, dust, and monsoon rains and winds can take a toll on our roads, buildings and vehicles. Over time, harsh summer weather may crack asphalt, damage paint, tear away window screens and damage other vulnerable parts of our homes. Even our cars experience the effects of direct sun and prolonged dry heat on rubber tires, trim and other components. At home, our roofs can also feel the effects of our summer weather. Roofs need a little extra attention to help them cope with the scorching heat and monsoon storms to make sure they continue to protect our homes, year after year.

The Effects of Summer Sun on Your Roof

Daytime temperatures in Las Vegas consistency average in the low 100s during the summer months, usually with clear skies that allow the white hot sunlight to beat down on everything below. Older roofs that haven’t been maintained can experience damage after years of absorbing the effects of the hot desert sun. Persistent exposure to the Las Vegas sun’s intense UV rays weakens the roof and strips it of flexibility. That can cause it to go through thermal shock, meaning the roof starts expanding and contracting depending on the weather. If this continues, the roof can split, causing extensive damage and requiring costly repairs.

Roof Materials Make a Difference

Roofing damage to asphalt shingles that needs repair showing shingles lifted by wind or heat damage

Asphalt shingle roofs can be vulnerable to sun damage. In general, shingles reflect only around 30% of the sun’s rays. The tiles absorb much of the sun’s heat, some of which enters your home, raising energy costs. The solar rays, in the form of UV radiation, react with the asphalt roofing, causing what used to be gleaming, strong shingles to become brittle and dry. That means the roof is losing its waterproofing abilities as the oils are dissolved by the sun’s rays. This can lead to water seeping under the shingles and leaking into the structure, causing damage to the home.

Many newer types of asphalt tiles are more energy efficient and resilient to heat and the effects of solar radiation, so be sure to discuss the weather resistance and energy efficiency qualities of asphalt shingle roofing you are considering with your roofer before deciding.

Tile is the go-to material in many sunny, hot climates, including Las Vegas. A correctly-installed, quality concrete or clay tile roof will last many decades if it is properly maintained. The material is naturally insulating and energy efficient, keeping your home cooler in summer. It is highly resistant to solar rays and, if not weakened or damaged, holds up well to monsoon rains and winds.

Metal roofs also do very well in hot areas as they naturally reflect most of the sun’s heat so your home interior stays cooler. They are highly durable and damage-resistant.  When there is a problem with metal roofing, such as buckling in high winds or water leaks, it is due to improper installation. Always choose a roofer who is qualified and experienced in installing metal roofing – or whatever type of roofing you have chosen – to avoid future costly repairs due to use of the wrong materials or techniques during installation.

Summer Sun and Roof Ventilation

tile roof ventilation fixture

Roof ventilation is an essential component of good roof design and construction. When it gets hot, heat needs some way to escape from the home. An improperly ventilated roof causes hot air to remain trapped in the attic and forces the air conditioner to work harder to cool the home.

In winter, poor ventilation allows moisture to build up in the roof material in the attic, where rot and mold may develop. When temperatures fall below freezing, warm inside air trapped in the attic may cause snow or ice along the edges of the roof to melt and run into the gutter and refreeze. That could eventually lead to a dangerous ice situation around the home.

Have your roofer make sure that your roof ventilation system is properly installed and working well. This will help keep your energy costs down and allow your roof to better handle weather extremes and avoid damage due to poor ventilation.

Las Vegas Monsoon Season and Your Roof

lightning over the roof of the house and dark clouds

The cumulative damage caused by the sun may leave your roof vulnerable when Las Vegas’ monsoon season arrives. The desert Southwest experiences heavy downpours and even hail during this time. Roofs are more exposed to water damage if the roof has lost its waterproofing abilities. In addition, any damaged or warped roof shingles may allow the roof to leak. And, damaged, loose shingles may not be able to stand up to a heavy round of wind or a severe hailstorm.

Dust and Wind Storms

A monsoon season dust storm at sunset near Las Vegas over some tract homes in the desert

The dust storms capable of inspiring beautiful desert photography can cause some much less attractive damage to your roof. These swirling storms bring with them heavy winds carrying dust and grime, coating everything and potentially destabilizing or ripping away parts of your roof structure already left vulnerable by the sun and rain.

Dust storms are a part of life in much of the Southwest. A well-maintained and well-insulated roof that does not leak will help avoid damage and keep flying dust from entering your attic and home.

The Importance Of Roof Inspections

Regular roof inspections give homeowners a chance to fix small problems before they become costly. A good inspector will go over the entire roof and recommend any roof repairs that are needed to make sure your roof is ready for the summer season. If you’re in the market for a new roof, your roofer can help you make the right roof material selection that holds up best in your local climate. Using the right roof materials will also help keep your home interior more comfortable and energy costs down by properly managing the transfer of heat and cold.

Common Roof Inspection Techniques

New gray slate roof in Las Vegas view from atop roof installed by Prestige Roofing

A good roofer will look over your entire roof and inspect for things such as:

  • Identify patches of brittle, broken or cupped (buckling) shingles
  • Locate holes in and underneath your roof
  • Check for spaces in flashing located along your walls and chimney
  • Spot nearby trees and branches putting your roof at risk
  • Inspect ventilation
  • Look for pooling, stains or other signs of leaks
  • Check inside your attic for signs of problems

Make sure you give your roof a once-over after a period of intense heat or after a lot of rain. Call in a professional if you think there’s a bigger issue going on. Prestige Roofing has over 25 years of experience with all kinds of roofing, keeping Southern Nevada homes cozy, dry and comfortable year round. Give us a call for more information.

Residential home with copper roof that is showing patina shade of green and brown Las Vegas home

A beautiful copper roof will last many decades and should need only minimal care. Strong and durable, copper has a natural lifecycle that takes it from a shiny copper glow to a rich, distinctive patina, one that is recognizable worldwide as seen in many historic buildings, some hundreds of years old. To achieve that distinguished maturity, most homeowners look forward to or even accelerate the maturation of their copper roof to its ultimate patina. But no matter what stage your copper roof is in, there are still things you should know to help your roof look and perform its very best for a very long time to come.

Copper Roof Patina Formation

The patina color on a copper roof is a sign that the copper is maturing and actually strengthening as it ages. When a copper roof is exposed to moisture and air contaminants, the oxidation process begins. A thin layer begins to form, which is the patina, sometimes called verdigris. As the years go by, the patina will grow thicker and it will change color.  The color may vary, depending on the location of the roof. For example, urban copper roofs may have a bluish patina, due to the copper sulfate that forms from deposits from urban pollution. A copper roof on a building near the coast may have a greenish tint as the salt air forms copper chloride in the patina. It’s important to remember that this is a long, natural process. You can expect it to take even longer if you live in a dry climate that doesn’t get much rain or humidity. Plus, the patina will probably mature unevenly. Different parts of the roof may receive more or less sunlight, and other factors can also give it an uneven appearance. This is normal and eventually the entire roof will take on the same brilliant color. The process itself can be fascinating to follow over the years and can usually be allowed to progress naturally. That does not mean that the roof, like any other roof, should not be monitored for any problems, damage or debris.

Things to Avoid When You Have a Copper Roof

New copper roof and copper covered gazebo in Las Vegas with new copper shine

Normally, simple debris removal is all that’s needed to keep your roof in good condition. Some homeowners, however, may be tempted to manage the coloration of the roof and want to preserve the “shiny” phase of the copper. This is probably not the best route, as the thin layer of patina actually helps protect the copper beneath it and adds to the life of the copper roof. And, removing the patina can scar or damage the copper. It’s important to avoid harsh chemical cleaners as their use to remove the protective patina opens the possibility the roof will become pitted. Cleaning the roof with any type of soap is not recommended.

Another thing to avoid is using a chemical sealant on the roof. Use of a sealant creates a need for regular monitoring and maintenance and it has to be done meticulously to avoid damage. Missing a spot, uneven application or other mistakes can cause drastic unevenness in the patina and ruin the look of the roof for years until the sealant wears away. Remember, the patina itself is the only sealant that is required to have a beautiful, natural, long-lived copper roof.

If you live in Las Vegas, or any dry environment, you may wish to speed up the patina formation. This is usually best left to professionals as many of the chemicals and products marketed for this purpose can damage your roof. At Prestige we can treat the copper after installation with a safe and effective coating to help begin the aging process so your roof will more quickly form a natural, even patina pattern for the look you want. See below for a gentle, natural way to help the patina formation.

Proper Care for a Copper Roof

selection of roofer nails for installation or repair including copper and steel nails

If properly installed by professionals trained as copper roofing specialists, your copper roof will basically be maintenance free. It’s still important to remove debris that may accumulate over the winter or after a rainstorm, so at least an annual inspection or post-storm inspection is in order. Removing debris will assure there is no damage under the debris from falling branches or other objects and it also allows the patina formation process to proceed evenly across the roof.

Occasionally, if debris has been present for some time, or if the roofer did a poor job of installing your roof (such as using steel nails that may rust instead of copper nails), you may see streaks or stains on the roof and want to remove them. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, here is a simple method you can use to lightly clean your roof. This wash will also help speed up the oxidation process in our dry climate. Be sure to do this when there is no rain in the forecast:

  • Sweep any debris, dust, branches or leaves off the roof with a broom.
  • Create a mixture using equal parts salt and white vinegar. Stir it until the salt is completely dissolved.
  • Apply the mixture evenly over the roof, using a soft-bristled brush.
  • Rinse the salt and vinegar off with a garden hose. Never use a pressure washer on a copper roof, because it can damage the patina.

Remember, a well-designed and properly installed copper roof will not normally have problems. However, if you notice anything that worries you, have your roofer take a look. To preserve the beauty and value of your unique copper roof and avoid unintentional damage, be sure to consult with your roofer before applying any cleaning or other roof treatments.

Prestige Roofing for All Your Roof Maintenance Needs

luxury home with copper fixture over entryway with patina custom designed

A thing of uncommon beauty, a copper roof can last a century or longer. You will enjoy years of beauty and find that your roof requires little maintenance compared to other types of roofs. At Prestige Roofing we are copper roofing experts, so in addition to crafting and installing your roof, we’re ready to take care of any cleaning or maintenance issues that come up. We hope you will get in touch with us for all your roofing needs.